Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good News Story

"If it bleeds, it leads."

That is the mantra of news.

We humans love drama, and drama all too frequently equals blood, horror, and bad circumstances that cannot be fully absorbed by the average guy or gal. We "tsk" and cover our eyes (forgive those who peek expectantly through their fingers, please). We saddle up and rally around the down-trodden whilst gossiping about their victimization and distress. We do our civic duty and wait for things to fall apart. We are the light-seekers who peer into the darkness. We are the audience for the blood-thirsty 6:00 local news. And it is the body counts that make us so high.

Then that damned good news comes along, and we don't know what to do with ourselves.

Do we celebrate the happy outcome? Sure! Yea! Another one for the good guys! Or do we crouch under the weight of our baser instincts and move on, looking for the next disaster, grousing that the body count is low?

Well, allow me to pummel you with this smiley-faced balloon:

There's this dude in Florida named
James King. A girl who attended his former church went missing, and he decided to enter the alligator-infested swamps of Winter Springs, FL to find her, armed only with his bible, water, snacks, toilet paper, and a GPS-enabled phone. She was missing for FOUR DAYS. He found her, bug-bitten, dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed. He called the authorities, and brought her back to her grateful family.

Now in this disgusting social climate, we are a suspicious lot. So, James King was questioned by a dutiful police force to ensure that he was a hero, not a perpetrator. Do your recall a time when we took our heroes at face value? Well that time is not today. James King, however, is apparently a king among men, because he raised no red flags. He is a
bona fide hero. Good for him.

Now I don't care what his politics are, or what his religion is (James King reported that while he searched, he recited the Bible verse that reads: "Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and don't lean on your own understanding. And, he will direct your path.").

This man didn't have to do anything related to the girl from his church. He could have gone to breakfast, watched a game on TV, read a book, worked a crossword puzzle. Instead he went looking for a lost 11-year-old girl with Aspberger's, and found her. Alive.

"There she was, sitting on a log," he said, "looking expectantly, like, 'You're finally here.'"
How is it possible to have a better day than that?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Well, At Least We Did Not Shoot the Children.

Oh, wait ....

View Wikileaks video:

I get it.

I know with certainty that without the brave men and women who are willing to stand watch on the wall against all aggressors, to travel thousands of miles to keep the wolves from our shores, to protect our way of life, to protect our freedom and treasure, to sacrifice blood and limb and soul ...

Without the stout-hearted individuals who answered the call to war, we would be lost. Soft targets in a dark, ever-dangerous world.

But, when these fine, brave men and women travel overseas to pick up a gun, launch a helicopter, and police an area, they take on more than the risk of life and limb, more than training and duty. They take on the responsibility for not just their lives and culture, but that of the innocents who travel within the fogs of war.

I can not imagine the pressure. I cannot image the day-in-day out twitched-muscle fear of soldiers who must measure each mission, each step, each minute in units of survival-units, waiting of the next ditch or block or citizen to be the end of everything he or she has lived for.
But, see? That just makes it more important to do the right thing. We come over here/over there with messages of freedom and justice and unmitigated rightness. Well, if we are going to take on that glowing mantle, then we have to glow.

Being stressed out, or tired out, or bored, vengeful, scared, or rationalized, or preemptive, or in need of one damned moment of humorous respite -- none of that justifies brutality or carelessness or collateral anything.

Hell no, I haven't been to war (unless you count Thanksgiving dinner), and I do not know what it is like when every act or step could be my life. That does not excuse me, just as it does not excuse you from recognizing right from wrong.