Saturday, April 27, 2013

The way it is

The last couple of weeks have been crazy in our country, but that should not be a total surprise because we live in crazy times. I know it is an old cliché, but the only aspect of our society that is predictable is its unpredictability.
Where do we begin? The obvious place is the terrorist attack in Boston on April 15. In only a matter of seconds, a simple sporting event was turned into the most significant terrorist attack in our country since 9/11. Even if some of our leaders refuse to say the words ‘War on Terror,’ this situation clearly demonstrates the war continues.
However, there were other events that took place during this time that were significant, but they got lost in the shuffle somewhat because of the Boston crimes.
For example, someone mailed letters laced with ricin to President Obama, a Republican senator from Mississippi, and a judge from Mississippi. Under the right circumstances, exposure to ricin can be extremely harmful, but the judge was the only one of the three to actually come in contact with one of the envelopes.
As this incident shows, terrorist attacks are not just limited to bombs. Tainted mail can cause a lot of trouble if handled in a certain way.
On the local level, a threat forced the closing of a high school in Nashville. Because of a threat on social media, Father Ryan High School decided to close its doors for a day and cancel extracurricular activities. Though officials there were tight-lipped about the exact nature of the threat, schools cannot be too careful when it comes to these situations.
Perhaps the proximity of the threat to the anniversary of the Columbine mass shootings factored into the closing of the school. The shooting at that school back in the late 1990s seems to have taken school threats to a whole new level, and it is another unfortunate sign of the times.
All this news is sad, but it is just the way it is. This is the world we live in, and it is fractured and bleeding. The unfortunate aspect of all this is that events like this will happen again.
If we are not too careful, we can get so afraid of these events that it will impact how we live our lives.
However, we cannot do that. We cannot live our lives hiding under our desks because events out of our control might happen. Though we do not always realize it, we live under these circumstances every day.
In fact, we are put in situations that are out of our control every day that could be very dangerous. I am sure everyone reading this is a careful driver, but what about the other people on the road? We cannot control whether that other person is paying attention or not. Despite this, most of us do not think twice about the peril we face simply by driving.
The same principle should apply as we consider the events in our country the last couple of weeks. A terrorist attack could happen anywhere including here. After all, an event as large as Bonnaroo could be a juicy target for some idiot looking to make a name for himself. The people in charge of Bonnaroo will use state-of-the-art techniques to make sure the event is safe, but if some nut wants to try something crazy, he will.
The bottom line is we have little control on whether mayhem will enter our lives. We can plan all we want, but the whirlwind sometimes comes our way. Proper planning is important, but we can only do so much.
My advice is to relax and enjoy life.

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