Monday, September 15, 2008

Ramblings for the Evening (9/14/08)

Two weeks in, and I'm not fully insane.... Progress.
So, without further ado: You can't leave...she won't let you.
Issues with Ike:

Maybe I'm becoming jaded in my old age, but I look at Houston and what happened with Ike as having two distinct sides.

If you had a bed-ridden relative or could not physically make the journey out of Houston, then I understand having to stay during the hurricane.

But...if a person stayed simply because he or she didn't trust the judgement of the evacuation announcement or because this person was going to, "tough it out," as many said, then I have no sympathy for that person.

Maybe it makes me a bad person, but if you had the ability to leave and could save your family...and you chose to stay, then you reap what you sow.

If a building were on fire and a fireman said to you, "You have to leave because your apartment will probably catch on fire," you would probably leave. You wouldn't sit there and say, "Ah, but there's a chance that it MIGHT not catch on fire." You would leave. The people who didn't but chose not to made a bad choice.

So I put it to the government of Texas to do the following:
1. Help the less fortunate souls who had no choice but to stay. The woman whose mother couldn't move because she could have died. The man who was a paraplegic and was saved at the last moment. Help those people first. Then,

2. Help those who left and tried to follow the advice of the law. Those who listened and did what they could to help. Then, and only then...

3. Help those who chose to stay.

There was a guy who told the NY Post that he was staying because he was worried about his car. The reporter asked, "Can't you take the car with you?"
The man replied, "Yeah...but it would add miles, and then where would its value be?"

The Post did a follow up on this guy. The car's gone. It got taken in the floodwaters, and he can't find it. I don't feel bad for him.

And finally...
Still Life of a Chipmunk:
(With apologies to Tom Robbins)

Death is a strange thing to see. I've seen people die, and it's not a fun thing to do. I can't imagine the family jumping in the car, and a dad saying, "Hey kids, we're going to see someone die today," and the kids give off a pithy, "Hooooray!"

I don't really talk much about the people, because...that's mine. That's not a burden for anyone else to bear, but I've been thinking alot about animals lately.

I've been a dog nazi, leading the canine to the chamber (recently I had to do this for a friend of my wife. It was too hard for her, so she asked me to do it. I guess I'm a nice guy).

I will one day have to put down my cats, who are all getting old.

Yesterday, a chipmunk, which had obviously been attacked by another animal crawled itself to death in my yard. Of course my two year old sees it and wants to play with it, and of course I have to rush in and stop him from picking it up.
The chipmunk still had some life in it, and it tried to keep crawling, but it looked right at me, and there was a moment. That moment you look into a creature, human or otherwise, and you can see it recognizing what is happening. This is instinctual, not cognitive, so it's easy to see.
If it could have talked, the chipmunk might have said, "Hey buddy...can you help me out. I can't be saved...because that's my lung hanging out, so can you finish me off?" I thought about it, but I made a deal years ago that I would not kill anymore unless truly and utterly necessary. The problem is...what is truly necessary killing? Hard to define.

So I didn't end its life, and it died on its own (though I still had to get the shovel to stop a local dog from eating it).

Now the last time I actually had to end an animal's life with my bare hands came when I was in college. I used to let my cats run around outside because I had an enclosed yard. One day a rabbit snuck into my yard to chew on vegetables I was growing, and the cats took notice. One of them waited, and then pounced. Unfortunately for the is rabbit, none of my cats ever learned the killing stroke, so when the cat attacked, he slit open the bunny from front to back...but left it alive.
I found the bunny, as well as my cat, and could not let the animal suffer. Again, just like the chipmunk, this animal looked at me with eyes that said, "I cannot survive. End my pain...please."
I found a brick, and I bashed that bunny's head in to help it along.

Sure, you can call me a wimp. You can talk to me about life and how it's necessary. You could be a farm kid that had to kill cows and sheep, but you aren't me. Yes, killing an animal is easier than a person. By far. Yet we still apply personification to animals. We think they are thinking what we would in the situation.

I hated killing that rabbit. It was victim, and I helped it along. Am I anti-death then? No. Death is necessary. Think of "On Borrowed Time". Without death, the world has no meaning. You can't have light without dark, and what is the point of life without death?

The point is that killing is not easy. Yes, you can easily shoot a deer. Fine, but there is still respect to be paid to it. You can kill a human being, but it isn't easy. I don't mean not easy in the "Most Dangerous Game" sense. I mean the reprecussions.

Too many people think that it's a simple thing. Point, shoot, walk away. Hell, most movies have the good guy swoop in, kill people, say a clever line, and walk off.
It doesn't work like that.
If you understand the power of killing and death, then you truly understand the power of choice in Romeo and Juliet for example.

It's not easy. Neither is torture.

Of course what do I know? I'm a teacher, so I inflict torture on a daily basis. I could be wrong.