Threats and bad choices of words | SierraSun.com

Threats and bad choices of words

Bob Sweiger

This is not good. Since the gruesome tragedy at Virginia Tech, the flap over free speech generated by the Don Imus fiasco, and the rash of school closures, bomb threats and other shootings across the country, I sat at my computer for days and days writing about it all.

I would have rather been in Hawaii, or discovering a magic city of pure utopia where everybody gets along and there is nothing but sunshine, butterflies and happiness.

Laboring intensely, cutting and pasting from several documents, searching my soul for inspiration, I finished a masterpiece Grasshopper Soup. It was seamless. It flowed like a river cleansing the landscape. It was the kind of article that would have made me famous.

This morning I logged on to send it in, and it was gone. I was unable to open it. If there is a trick to recovering lost documents I am not aware of it. I am absolutely devastated.

I expected to sit down for a few minutes to send it in. Now it could be an hour or more. I tried recreating it from memory but it was just too stressful. So here I sit.

Human beings were not designed to sit for long periods of time. We were made to walk upright, to pick fruit and catch wild turkeys, to explore distant lands, climb mountains, dance, stroll around all day and ski and ski and ski.

I mean no offense to those who, through no fault of their own, cannot get up, but if you are in a position, i.e., standing, to pick fruit and catch wild turkeys and refuse to do so, then you can’t have any fruit and you can’t make a wish on the wish bone. You don’t even get to hold it.

In a free society, one should expect to be offended. Differentiating between a real threat and a bad choice of words is really not that difficult. It was obvious to many people that Cho Sueng Hui, the killer at V-Tech, was a danger to himself and others. On the other hand, there are several possible, and simple explanations for the Don Imus incident. His firing was all about money anyway, not right or wrong, truth or righteous stone throwing.

It is obvious in today’s society that a lot of people are obsessed with their petty prejudices and find it easy to blame and censor others. On their own spiteful, trivial level they are really no different than Cho Sueng Hui, the deranged socio-path who is the only one to blame for what happened in Blacksburg, Va.

Maybe society does share in the blame. Millions of people feel the need to be entertained by violence, excess and a chance at instant money or love. Others, even here in our own community, feel the need to maintain a social, economic, political and legal advantage over others, even to the financial ruin of their neighbor. Maybe a peaceful, just and equitable world full of sunshine, happiness and butterflies is simply a natural impossibility.

There are dangers to life in any kind of a society. It is too bad we have to add to them our political bickering, name calling and fighting among ourselves. It is one thing to change a government or a law, but more important is the need to change ourselves.

Maybe we do take life for granted. Maybe we are too self-indulgent. A permissive society does not cultivate self control. What we need is self awareness. Contemplative people did not need the V-Tech tragedy to realize it. Maybe the carnage was enough to shock the more ignorant and self-absorbed among us into a higher consciousness. Maybe not.

Because of the Grasshopper Soup that got away, and the time constraints looming over me, this column may not end very smoothly. Life ends abruptly enough. The loss of a document is nothing compared to the lives lost on April 16, 2007. If all we are left with is high-ranking high school test scores and a green-earth consciousness then we don’t have diddley squat, and those students at Virginia Tech all died in vain.