2017-11-08 / Editorials

Mike Reese

“I was just thinking”

I glanced at my phone. I was waiting for trick or treaters. A breaking news alert was blinking. I turned on my TV. Another terrorist attack had taken place in NYC. You know, rent a truck. Run down as many people as you can on sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, walking paths like in London, Nice, and Barcelona. We’ve joined their club now. He chose a bicycle and pedestrian only path. They were sitting ducks. Some eyewitnesses said he murdered for fifteen or twenty blocks, 50 or 60 mph some estimated. He killed eight, injured a dozen or more, and changed hundreds of lives.

There was already news video of twisted bikes, sheets covering lifeless bodies. Witnesses were beginning to be interviewed. Our kids look at news being this instantly available as ho hum. I’m still amazed. There were probably people in the Sahara watching the same news feed as me. Reading the morning news in a newspaper seems quaint today. We must have everything in instant mode now.

Trick or treaters began to waddle, amble, and run to my door looking for their sugar highs. They, nor their parents, probably knew that many lives had just been changed forever in NYC. The contrast outside my door versus a bike way nine hundred miles north couldn’t have been greater. Total joy at my door. Total horror there. All of this terror ended across the street from an elementary school. The school went into automatic lock down, not knowing how widespread the terror was. The students were eventually released after the terrorist was shot and arrested. While our kids were preparing for a fun night trick or treating, some of NYC’s kids were crouched in fear, real danger there, “make-believe danger” here under costumes and masks.

One man was interviewed who happened to be on the bike way walking his dog. He said he heard a commotion behind him, heading his way. But his dog became distracted by another dog to their left yanking them both in that direction, instead of to the right, directly into the path of the speeding death truck. The death toll, he said, could have been nine instead of eight, except for a distracting dog. So much of our lives are determined by the simple fact of, “Whether I turned right or left at the time.” We never know how fateful everyday simple decisions are in determining how our lives turn out over the long term, or in that immediate moment. The randomness of life is mind boggling. It’s best not to think about it. Just go ahead and live your life.

The following day I purposely never mentioned the NYC tragedy and no one mentioned it to me. Like you, I probably talk to dozens each work day. It never crossed anyone’s lips. Eight humans crumpled to death under a terrorist’s truck and not a word is spoken. It’s so normal now. We’re angry and upset for a while, but, “Hey, what about those Kardashians?” And OMG, who’s spilling the private details of their lives on Facebook? Did B…… actually post that her mother-in-law is a witch? We need to know. Don’t we?

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