I learn from the paper about the ever-increasing use of guns to bring death and mayhem to children at schools, employees at work, families at home, and individuals everywhere. I’m disgusted at the prevailing attitude of our Republican supermajority who argues with logic that defies fact that the easier we make access to guns, the safer we will be. I am grateful that gun violence so far has not been a major part of my life. And then I get on with that life.
I learn from the paper about the attacks our governor and legislators are making on our right to vote, our educational system, our ability to control our own health, and so many other areas. I am grateful that I am no longer teaching and that I seem to be unaffected in any direct way by all these other actions. I detest them, but somehow, I’m able to put them aside and get on with my life.
I learn about the deaths of former colleagues and friends and am sorry and upset. I’m grateful that I’m still around, and after a while I am able to move past these deaths and get on with my life.
Sometimes I feel there must be something wrong with me, that I’m too insensitive to the ills of the world. That may be true, but I think that’s common and perhaps that is how we survive the tragedies bordering our lives.
The other morning I was walking my dog, Hugo, on a path adjoining a fairway on a nearby golf course. I looked up and saw a large black dog loping across the fairway from one side to the other. I scanned for its owner and saw no one.
I worried about moving forward in my walk, fearing for the safety of Hugo.
And the thought crossed my mind that the large dog looked a little like and moved a little like a bear.
Nonsense, I thought, and moved ahead.
A day or so later I was receiving personal training and my trainer asked if I’d heard about the bear in the neighborhood, in fact, on the golf course. Shocked I said, “I think I’ve seen it.” She showed me a video that had been circulating and it could have been taken by me. There must have been someone on the course at the same time I was and near where I was who captured exactly what I had seen.
We discussed how neat this was. She had heard that authorities had been contacted and were working on capturing the animal and returning it to a safer place.
The next morning we learned the bear had been killed. It had happened in the early dark hours. A car had hit it as it was playing on the road. A witness said the driver couldn’t have helped it. The bear was a juvenile, one or two years old.
For some reason, I couldn’t put its death out of my mind. I’d wake up at night and think about it.
This is arguably a much lesser tragedy than the ones detailed earlier. Is it worse because the others have become so common they are easier to set aside? If a bear was killed in this way every day, would I no longer be moved by it?
I don’t know.
I know I still think about it, but I couldn’t tell you when the latest mass shooting was. I thought, maybe it’s because the bear is so innocent, we humans have eaten away its habitat, and it paid the ultimate price for our selfishness.
But so have all those suffering from guns and tyrants and sick humans. And any rational argument would rate those much worse tragedies.
Whatever, the story of that poor bear still gets to me.