By Trudy Wischemann
They say the best defense is a good offense. They say fences make for good neighbors. They say a lot of things.
This past weekend we saw the result of the “best defense” thinking in the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton: young men possibly on some kind of crusade to “protect” the world they know from “invasion” and/or control by people they don’t know and fear, going on a kamikaze mission with the most powerful tool at their disposal.
It’s not a good offense; it’s totally meaningless in the big-picture scheme of things. The world they know or wish they had known is subject to relentless change. The causes of this change are not individual people, at least not people within firing range. The uselessness and the waste of life, the creation of terror – more terror than we already live with – are some of the things that make us sad, not to mention the sense of helplessness that many of us feel about trying to stop it. It’s a bad offense, and it upends our sensibilities and our heart-felt beliefs about what it means to be human. Love is the only answer, but where to apply it is invisible at the moment.
I won’t go on to talk about fences and neighborliness.
We writers of this paper’s opinion page, at least a couple of us, have committed bad offenses recently, at least in some peoples’ minds. Back in April I used the word “Bad” (without quotation marks or correction) to refer to the Friday before Easter. I offended a woman of faith and provoked her to write a letter to the editor, which may actually have been a gift to her, providing an opportunity to put her faith into words. But the funny thing is, even though I’ve been referring to that day as Bad Friday for years, half-jokingly, half-seriously, meaning to chide some Christians who seem to want to sugar-coat everything – the funny thing is, as I typed that sentence I wondered if I might offend someone by doing so. Was I trying to defend something by going offensive like that? I wonder. Thanks, dear writer, for giving me something to think about.
Trudy Wischemann is a nearly-despairing advocate of open government in Lindsay. You can send her your thoughts on repair c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com and leave a comment there.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.