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Common sense can trump chaosPosted: July 20, 2012

e-KNOW editorial

Ours is a world that is linked by love.

It is the greatest, grandest, most powerful ruling essence of the universe, or so we mere mortals believe.

Human beings are capable of the most amazing gestures of love and faith – sacrificing themselves for loved ones or their communities, or helping those who need it.

We believe in Gods of varying shape, that all basically espouse the same guiding principles, and even those who do not believe in a God, tend to be good people who could be relied upon in a pinch.

We observe and honour those who pass before us, even if we didn’t really know a person.

I was reminded of this gilded fact this morning when I saw a friend’s Facebook post: “People, keep in mind that what we have today in this very moment is all that you can truly count on, so appreciate it while you have it. Fergie Hartman, a 25-year employee of College of the Rockies passed away suddenly in the past few days. Fergie was the tool crib attendant in COTR’s heavy duty mechanic shop. Every time I went in there he was smiling and joking with me and anyone he was talking to. Sadly, I never had a chance to sit down with Fergie and chat over a few beers, because that’s often how we really get to know one another, right?! Fergie, you’ll be missed. And maybe we can catch up on that beer when I get to where you’ve gone.”

The wise and salient words come from one Rusty Gahr, an enlightened soul, to be sure.

His take on Fergie’s passing says all one should like to know about human beings.

We hear of people passing, those we didn’t know, but we feel for their families and friends as they suffer beneath the weight of grief. That speaks volumes about our species. We are capable of such incredible compassion.

World history is knee-deep littered with tales of grand gestures and sacrifice, all pointing to homo sapien sapiens as enlightened, spiritual beings.

Despite all the world’s troubles – famine, disease, poverty, over-population, environmental collapses, geo-morphological calamity, intolerance, economic dead ends, crime and war, at the end of the day, we human beings would rather consider the good than the bad and we stand proudly when, time and time again, we overcome threats and challenges, often uniting as one to achieve such a goal.

Yet, there must be a counter-point to everything. Where there is light, there is also darkness.

Where there is order, there is also an undercurrent of chaos. Good and evil continues to do battle in our world.

This morning, in Aurora, Colorado, police officers are risking their lives to dismantle a heavily booby-trapped apartment belonging to James Holmes, the 24-year-old bringer of chaos who allegedly murdered 12 people and injured about 40 more in a midnight shooting spree at the Century 16 Movie Theaters. According to the Denver Post, “witnesses told police that a man entered the dark, packed theater and opened fire after throwing two smoke canisters.”

And all around the world the compassionate are shaking their head in disbelief and sorrow.

Our American cousins are once again 12 leagues below the seas of soul-searching, desperately trying to come to terms and understand why such acts happen in their too-oft troubled land.

And I am not trying to be a smug Canadian. We’ve got the same problems here. One of the victims (Jessica Ghawi) of last night’s shooting is a young woman who was in Toronto’s Eaton Centre June 2 when Christopher Husbands allegedly opened fire, killing two. Sadly, the hands of fate finally found lovely young Jessica just six weeks later in Colorado.

Chaos runs below our preferred order, but it doesn’t take much, it seems nowadays, for it to surface and rise above.

Michael Moore, who generally speaks more common sense than any other American social commentator, stated on his Facebook page, “Having spent much time in the Aurora/Denver/Littleton area over the years, I am too sad about this most recent tragedy to comment at the moment, other than to say this: I fear anthropologists and historians will look back on us and simply say we were a violent nation, at home and abroad, but in due time human decency won out and the violence ceased, but not before many, many more died and the world had had its fill of us.”
Sadly, Moore is considered a nut biscuit by about half the population of America. Those are truly the words of a nut biscuit, aren’t they?

It seems to me that our world’s order is tilted and chaos appears to be on the rise. Christians raped and beaten in Mexico; people of all kinds being methodically murdered every day in Syria; Jewish tourists killed in a bomb blast; everyday there is something else.

This morning, Aurora, Colo., is on our minds.

Yesterday, in Elkford, some crazed fool fired a shot through a motel wall, while in Cranbrook, accused child abductor Randall Hopley continued to be processed by the legal system.

Chaos and more chaos, heightened to the nth degree by the hot weather.

Our region has been hammered by disasters this spring and summer, beginning with the Baker Street fire in Cranbrook, to the flooding in Kimberley, flooding in Wasa and landslides and flash floods in Johnson’s Landing and Fairmont Hot Springs. Forest fire season is likely next in line.

But such events of chaos are not usually human-caused.

It’s the random acts of senseless violence that leave us all questioning our world and wondering where it is heading.

There is a growing anger among many people, whether it is borne from extreme poverty and desperation or from environmental causes that we don’t yet understand, causing some people to flip their lids more readily than in the past.

Stemming from this latest Colorado shooting will be the inevitable debate, in America, of gun control and the right to bear arms. Half the population will demand that their right to bear arms supercedes general human safety, based on legislation derived from a time of extreme strife almost 250 years before.

Our world seems to be suffering from far less religious tolerance than in the past, despite the fact that more and more people are educated and far more of the world’s population is aware of what is happening elsewhere in the world thanks to the Internet.

Chaos is the thing that wins the day when avoidable shit happens, despite people knowing better.

Today chaos lives in Colorado.

Tomorrow it will move on somewhere else. It always does.

And chaos will continue down its shadowy course until human kind, en masse, recognizes that it is its own collective will that feeds chaos.

That will is channeled directly into chaos’ gut by the narrow channels of belief built high and strong by unbowed stubbornness.

The right wing will have its say about Colorado. The left wing will have its say and centrists will also chime in. Religions will have their views; all people will have their views and many will express compassionate words and advice.

But in the spin of a world gallivanting elliptically around a star, time moves on, and that relentless push tamps down desires to really change the way we as a species interact.

Rather than truly, once a for all try to find common ground as to why human beings continue to ignore the great teachings of our religions, such as showing compassion and tolerance for one another, we shrug it off as if it is someone else’s problem. It isn’t.

Tragic events, caused by out-of-control, mentally disturbed, angry people, are not evaluated on how chaos was brought about, in the larger environmental sense. The focus is on the wayward individual(s) who perform the terrible deeds, rather than the root causes that are infecting seemingly more people all the time, the world over.

I haven’t got a tinker’s clue as to those root causes could be, though I could, like many others, speculate on a wide range of them. A love affair with violent ‘entertainment’ is one. The irony of a shooting spree in a cinema showing a violent revenge fantasy-based story should not be lost on us.

Faith-mongers will spew their highly focused arrows of judgment, but that only causes more anger and despair because, let’s face it, most people just want to ‘belong.’

But there is a massive gap in the middle of our society that does not allow for belonging and alienation is the result, followed by further judgment when the disassociated act out.

America, for example, would rather keep spending stupid money on military and argue pathetically about health-care for all its allegedly ‘dear citizens.’ The haves would rather smugly shrug off the have-nots as lazy pukes or useless gits, than reach down with a helping hand (collectively, not individually, because there are many shining lights out there still, despite the rise of chaos).

We pass a troubled person on the street and we cross over to avoid them, hoping to not have any kind of confrontation. Feeling completely lost and alone, that person may go on to perform an ‘Aurora deed,’ whereas if they were touched for a few seconds by a mortal angel, they might head in a different direction.

One cannot point blame at chaos even when one knows chaos is to blame, because like the stealthy, umbrageous mien of devils and demons, who ride the current of chaos, pointing fingers of blame is just another symptom of the inherent problem.

Such are the times we are in; such is the pain felt when a paradigm collapses and another forms.

Today, again, our great cousin to the south is in mourning and is soul-searching. May they one day recognize the fact that the 300 plus million of them are intimately and closely bonded by geography and judicial desire.

In closing, please heed the words of Rusty Gahr, who is American: “People, keep in mind that what we have today in this very moment is all that you can truly count on, so appreciate it while you have it.”

If more people lived by that, the chaos stream would become so limited that it could be easily forded by all people. Add that and a steady dose of common sense, and we might find our way from this darkness.


Ian Cobb/e-KNOW


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