Last night I was informed that a friend of mine, a fellow bowler, died in a fatal head-on collision this past Friday. His name was Mark and, amongst his many traits, he was known for being impatient. As I understand it, he tried to pass in a non-passing stretch of a local road. Sadly, I was told that if he had waited ten more seconds he would have reached the part of that highway where it turns to four lanes. Ten seconds between life and death.
Mark was 35 and had four children, the youngest is only six years old. I got to meet this little boy two weeks ago when Mark brought him to the bowling center. Mark was an avid bowler, passionate about every frame, always seeking to be a better player. He was a great conversationalist and it was always a pleasure to talk with him; he would usually challenge you to think in different ways. Mark was tall and strong and had a quick, warm smile. He will be dearly missed.
This has reminded me that we need to slow down, to spend a few extra seconds on the road so that we can spend many more years with family and friends. And it also highlighted the fact that we need to be aware of everything and everyone around us as we drive -- we cannot be too cautious on the roads we travel.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
The county where I live is now engaged in a Think Tank effort to encourage "open communications" as an initiative to improve conditions in the area. One of the main issues mentioned is honesty in communications between people of different races. There has been a huge level of fear in communicating problems because of the risk of offending others that are different from us. Our county is predominantly black (or African-American if you prefer the political correct term). White folks have been under the impression that they cannot speak openly because they may be perceived as racist if they disagree with someone that is not white. This whole discussion is a subject that Tracey and I have reviewed many times, especially since she and I grew in a multi-cultural environment (she in Toronto, me in Mexico City) that did not include discrimination based on one's skin color. Of all the talks we had as a result of this Think Tank, one concept became clear: our society needs to work towards a state of "oneness" where everyone can work together for the good of the community while at the same time retaining our heritage and values. Oneness differs from "sameness", which is an effort to make everyone the same (and in which minorities are forced to abandon their roots). Sameness causes resentment amongst minorities and fear amongst the majority; oneness promotes progress culturally, economically, and socially. Here's to being one with all of you!
I often think of Benjamin Franklin's wise words, "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." In the last week there were several news concerning evidence of our country's trading of freedom for security. Don't pay off your credit card -- Homeland Security will be checking on you (see article below); your kids can be suspended from school for visiting websites while using your home computer in your home -- see the story below. Why do Nazi SS keeps coming up in my mind over and over again? Will future generations have enough courage and strength to reverse the damage caused by the post-9/11 laws? I certainly hope so. We are currently too scared, too comfortable, too detached to fight a government determined to dominate our society much like the SS ruled Germany and the occupied countries -- Congress just reinstated the Patriot Act provisions that began our dangerous loss of liberty. The "Lady" in New York is crying.