Thursday, February 18, 2010

Enough For Now

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.
- Joseph Stack
(pilot who crashed his plane into the Austin IRS building this morning)

There are parts of me that wishes I could clone myself. I could clone myself and seek out the most hurt and anguished people and be a friend. Then I realize I am only one person, meant to be that one person, and even though I couldn't help that man this morning, I can help someone each day so that the "needle never breaks the camel's back" for that person.

I think it's safe to say that "life isn't fair" and that "times are tough" but when I think about the pilot who crashed into the Austin IRS building this morning, I think about what it means to "take matters into your own hands." The thing about taking matters into your own hands is that you have to realize that most of the time, the only things you're holding in your own hands are your own bitterness, rage, malice, pain, and bent towards vindication. Your own hands can only hold so much and usually, the things that get left out of your hand include: family, friends, the standard of society, innocent lives, and maybe even that one person that may have helped you out of your situation in a few days time.

After reading the note that Joseph Stack left behind after burning down his own home and crashing his plane into a building, I was left with wonder. So many questions, so many accusations, and so many thoughts about where this leaves our society. I distinctly remember various points in my life when grown-ups would say, "Violence doesn't solve anything," "We don't hit," "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I don't know if the blame for Joseph's behavior is going to be shifted to the sadness of the daily news, or to the recession, or to MTV, or if they will 'discover' that his parents were 'terrible' parents who never shared those life lessons with their son, and thus will be cast by low-budget actors in an upcoming Lifetime Channel Movie. I personally think it speaks to our ability as human beings to make choices every day—Joseph made or didn't make many choices along the way and ultimately, his choices led to MAJOR damage. And with today's events, I feel pain for that one person who doesn't see this as a tragedy, but as a beacon of hope that one day they can plan out something so that their voice can be heard . . . regardless of who else it affects. I hope that day never comes.

When I was growing up, I did a lot of stupid things. My parents, God bless them, definitely had some issues to work with when it came to me. But I have come leaps and bounds from who I was as a teenager. Through the years, I've learned how to grow past mistakes, how to respond when I am mistreated, how to take a few moments to think my choices through. I'd be lying if I said I made ALL the RIGHT choices ALL the time—but I make an effort. I have a lot of help along the way, of course. I just wish Joseph would have let someone in to help him along the way.

To say, "I wish this never would have happened," is a given. But it's definitely given me (sadly) yet another opportunity to think about how I'm responding to others around me and how I'm dealing with issues in my life, and who I need to let in, and who I need to help when they can't help themselves, and where those lines lay.

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