Friday, March 07, 2008

Being Alive Is Risky

Being alive is risky and it is ultimately fatal. Get used to the idea. There may be no point in rushing the ultimate consequence of living, but it is equally ridiculous to pretend that we are at any time safe. We aren't. We fall down stairs, we slip in the tub, we have all sorts of misfortunes befall us. You over reach on the step stool and go over with your head making contact with the countertop corner and it's all over. ooops. You might be a victim of a stranger crime or a personal crime or you might get it in the armed forces. A foreign or domestic terrorist might get you or just plain old age body failure. Something at some point is going to take you out of it and pretending to yourself it won't is nonsense and wishful thinking.

We aren't running the country that way any more. We've allowed the government to take unprecedented steps in the search for security. We've allowed the militarization of our police forces. We've funded a pharma empire in search of...a little more. We hook loved ones to machines and persecute anyone whose lifestyle isn't "healthy." We are virtually pharonic with our dead but hunting an animal is disgusting, our dead animals aren't food, that comes in plastic and styrofoam container. Somehow we have become that strangest of all possible creatures, fascinated by faux violence and scared spitless of our own risks.

We claim to love our American form of government and cherish our rights, then we spit on them in search of security. We elect those who spit on us as a people because they say they'll keep us safe. We allow elected people to offices defined by the Constitution to pervert that document. We allow the media to manipulate us and and ignore it at any time it tells hard truths, in fact when the media bothers to tell the truth we penalize it. Roads designed to be used at speeds well in excess of 70mph in cars designed to function well at higher speeds have reduced speed limits to keep us safe, as though 15mph wouldn't be much safer. We watch shoot em up movies full of fakery but fear the actual firearm. We willingly swallow almost any kind of nonsense if it is called a threat and feel reassured when the government deals with it. This includes the most pathetic individuals who are led into stupidity by government informers.

In the midst of all this fear we forget how to actually live. That's right, that wonderful tasting marbled steak may not be as good for you as tofu, but exactly how long do you propose to eat tofu? An extra year or two? Speaking your mind openly and enthusiastically may draw attention to you, do you propose to cower somewhere instead? How many hours of extra life do you waste in airline security checks that are primarily designed for feelings rather than effect? When you check my 81 year old 4-10, overweight mother as a security risk I know you aren't serious, you're doing it to look like you're doing something. My Crest is not going to explode and anything you could mix up that would will stink to high heaven. You buy it. You stand sheep like in an endless line to prevent the most unlikely event. You condone the torture of fellow humans because there is an off chance that you might get some kind of information, you are more likely to get hit by lightning than have that work out...shouldn't have mentioned lightning, now you are scared. The bloodshed and economic toll on our highways in a couple years exceed the total death and economic wreckage of 9/11, minus the fear induced losses. You let the President walk us into a war in Iraq because somebody said "smoking gun...mushroom cloud." Hillary Clinton can run a Republican ad and gain votes, from Democrats for god's sake.

Now I'm not trying to persuade you into my lifestyle, I use heavy power tools, walk on walls and climb trusses; I hunt and fish in bad terrain; I drag race (on a track); I live a decidedly edgy life. That doesn't mean I'm full of it or reckless, I measure risk; but I'm not paralysed or driven to nonsense by risk. Freedom of speech is a risky proposition, things you may not like are liable to reach your ears, things you don't like are liable to reach your eyes and finally people are liable to say dangerous things. Somebody might tell you to quit cringing. Somebody might call one of your Congressmen a cowardly traitor...

Ah, get back in bed and pull the covers over your head, it still isn't safe here.

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