Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Over on Joseph Massey's site yesterday he posted a simple line: "I'm glad I don't have cable, especially on a day like today." I concur... not in an escapist sense, but in a reality-check sense. I want to know the news and to stay informed, but I don't want to be overwhelmed by the sensationalism of it. I check the NY Times and Huffington Post (pinko-commie sites I know, but what the hell). I know about the shootings. I have seen a few pictures of people being hauled out of buildings. But really, that's all I need. If I want analysis-- the real why, etc. I'll wait a week or two or maybe 6 months for the first essays and books to hit the shelves. And certainly, it's time to re-visit gun control issues. On the other hand, I doubt that live broadcasts or YouTube clips of the killing in action are really going to do much other than make me feel unreasonably unsafe. A ticked-off maniac is always a possibility. Rifles and other guns will always be available in some configuration. Therefore, I need to think about quality of life issues and safety issues and balance and weigh things out. On the whole, when it's said and done, tomorrow will be tomorrow and I won't change much about the way I approach it.

So in this time of grief, I hope we don't loose sight of the real extinction. I mean the mass extinction. While we are thinking of the 32 people that died in Virginia, we should not forget the "30% of the world's species will disappear if temperatures rise 3.6 degrees." I hate to bring this back around so quickly, but we need focus, and we had better not waste months of our time drifting from one issue to another as sensational events occur. I feel like that kid in class who sheepishly raises his hand and says, "Um, it seems like we are drifting off topic." If 32 people are worth the nation's undivided attention, how much are 30% of the worlds species worth. This is a staggering number. These are staggering times. They call for focus and attention.

Lesson #1 from my wilderness trips: If you see a thunderstorm on the horizon, you put up a tent—fast.

NOTE: Listen HERE to Nikki Giovanni's reaction to the killings. Ron Silliman says,

In just 90 seconds, she provided a larger context for suffering and a sense of belonging to every person in that building. She got, and deserved, a standing ovation

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