Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Thinking of Illinois....

So. The thing that's been all over the news. For whatever reason, a cop - from everything that's been said, a good family man, someone involved in his community, a veteran - was ambushed and gunned down and the guys who did it are now on the run.

I had to look the place up on a map to find out if it was near any of the places that had been field sites for me. (It wasn't, but I think I've been to Volo Bog.) Some of the open areas they were showing looked a lot like some of the remnant prairies I researched. And I think about, what would I have done if I had been out collecting data and it turned out something like that was going on - would the cops tell you to leave? Would you find out? What would you do if you saw some guy run by?

I dunno. I think this is yet another object lesson in "ripples" - everything everyone does has unintended consequences. Right now, several families are in mourning - the cop's family, his parents (if they are still living), his work partner's....this has spread out to affect many other people. Many children, I am sure, were sad and scared when their schools were put on "lockdown" because of the manhunt. Some people will miss a day of work because they're being told not to leave their houses.

This is not unlike what happened in Pennsylvania last year, and in upstate New York.

I think mostly what I think about is the families affected. Every family with a member in law enforcement is aware there's a chance their loved one won't come home some day, but still - what a horrible way to lose your husband. Or your dad. Or your brother.

And I understand that criminals generally don't think about "ripples" or about the ones they're hurting - otherwise they wouldn't do what they do, in most cases.

Perhaps I'm more twitchy about this after having gone through the training this summer on dealing with "active shooter" situations and also, all departments are working on "disaster plans" right now. The world's an unsafe place and lots of people choose to do ugly things. And stuff that happens makes people angry and prone to act impulsively. Or people see stuff on the news, someone who doesn't have much going on in their lives and they're either deeply disturbed and/or very susceptible to the temptation of evil, and they decide, "This is how I'll go out, I'll make a name for myself" and in doing so, they destroy several other families - those of their victims, maybe their own (I can't imagine having a sibling or a grown child who would do something like that guy who shot the television reporters). And it's just such a waste, and it just adds more and more and more brokenness to the world.

And sometimes I wonder, are we going to reach a point where the brokenness just breaks everything?

One of my problems, actually, is I'm TOO GOOD at seeing consequences for things - I have not some of the possibly-slightly-foolish things that could have had a pay off  (even little things, like asking a "long shot" guy out on a date) because I was too good at predicting what could go wrong, what bad things could happen. 

The only person whose behavior I control is my own and I try - I try very hard - to behave in loving or, at a very minimum, civil ways toward those around me.

And I also recognize that it may be the 24-hour news cycle that lets us know of all of this; maybe the world always was this bad and we just didn't realize it. Or maybe in some sick ways, the 24-hour news cycle ENCOURAGES this, the person who thinks it's "going out in a blaze of glory" to destroy several families and tear up a community in the process of ending their own life.

But I just don't know. I suppose there is a majority of people do as I do, and don't hurt others (at least not intentionally) but it seems like the things that rip society's fabric is becoming increasingly frequent. It's like, for some reason, more and more people are choosing the wrong thing.

No comments: