“But can you still recall
The time we cried.” — Jim Morrison
There were a couple of stories that were bouncing around in my head this morning. Obviously, the big story on a national scale is the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the 6-3 Conservative court. By the time you read this, there might have been a decision handed down, but there hasn’t been one yet as of this writing.
The whole Rittenhouse affair took a lot of out me. Commenting before something happens, during it happening, and after it has already happened will tend to do that to you. I usually don’t like doing that and I’m not going to do it now. It requires getting hot and bothered over something we know will likely happen anyway.
Instead I want to continue talking about fear. The funny thing about fear is that it is all a part of the same conversation. Women are afraid that their rights will be taken away after 48 years. Protesters from the summer and before were finally standing up to rogue law enforcement forcing people of color to live in fear of their lives when they encounter law enforcement.
We all now live in fear of the jackass that might be using his (notice it’s almost always his) constitutional right to carry a heavy firearm without training, a background check, or a lick of common sense. We live in constant fear now that these bad actors seem to be celebrated rather than actually prosecuted for the damage they do.
It’s sad when you see that fear first hand. It’s heartbreaking when you see it in your own children. Our daughter’s school had a couple of days of bomb threats this week. Social media doing what it does managed to spread all kinds of rumors about what might happen. So, more than half the school decided to stay home yesterday. The principal said those absences would be excused. She obviously understood the impulse.
My wife and I sat there as our daughter cried when we discussed her coming to school today. We left it up to her. Forcing her to go seemed somehow cruel. Yet, she talked a long time about the guilt of avoiding a possible event. It didn’t make sense and yet it made perfect sense. She decided to go and yet the fear she is feeling is unavoidable.
The source of this fear is the same. The abortion ban, Rittenhouse, our hometown domestic terrorist, rogue law enforcement, and isolated gun nuts all look the same. They are all virtually the same. None of them look like the people they want you to fear. They all look like the people pointing the finger. Funny how that all works out. No one knows the identity of the kid making threats at the school, but the good money says it’s a white male. It almost always is.
Animal behavior can teach us a lot. We have a 100 pound Rottweiler, 16 pound ginger cat, and a ten pound tabby cat at home. The tabby cat has an overactive sense of fear. She somehow channels that fear and turns it into rage as she lashes out at the other two. The dog doesn’t want to be within ten feet of her. Here is this huge and physically imposing animal cowering in fear of something one-tenth his size. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
Perhaps it’s personification instead. A relatively small group of people are so activated by fear that they induce real terror in the rest of us. One half expects them to look in the mirror and attack the reflection. The opportunists among them somehow manage to take a fear they created and turn around and offer protection from it. When you see it happening in general it makes you angry. When you see it happening to your own family it breaks your heart.