Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lessons to learn

A woman I never met in person died today. Yes, that happens all the time, but in this case I feel ... guilty.

She first sent me a "hello" on an obscure social media site the day my daughter died- just a couple of hours after I had found out. I did answer, but only to tell her the situation and that I'd have to get back to her later.

I did, and we chatted some here and there, and we even texted back and forth a little. She "friended" me on other social media sites and we kept in touch- not closely, but fairly regularly.

She was troubled, and I knew it.

Her son was in trouble with the "law" and in jail, and she would tell me about his hearings and how they went, and the pain it caused her. She told me about her past drug abuse. She had financial troubles worse than my own. She had some health problems, but she never really said much about it. She loved her dogs and talked about them a lot. Mostly, I just listened to whatever she wanted to talk about.

But it had been a couple of months since I had talked to her, because recently I've been a bit withdrawn and haven't really kept in touch with people like I should.

Then, today, her mother posted on her FB page that she had died. It was the first I had known that things were as bad as they had been. I went back and looked at things she had posted recently, and she had been begging for help, saying she was in so much pain she couldn't even get off the floor to go to the bathroom. Then her mother and others began posting that she was in the ICU. I saw nothing of all this until today's death announcement.

With as many "friends" as I have on FB, I rarely see any particular person's stuff on any regular basis. Not an excuse, just an explanation. Her death isn't really a personal loss for me, so I am certainly not looking for sympathy- save that for those who really knew her. It's just that things like this seem to affect me more now than they used to. I wish I had known how dire her situation had become. I might not have been able to do much, but... maybe. It still brings a pang of guilt that I didn't even know.

So, again, I am reminded to appreciate people while I can, and try to stay aware of their needs and situations. I wonder if I'll ever really learn the lesson.


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Stories told to scare children

When I was a kid, my parents told me several times about kids my age who met with tragedy- while doing whatever it was they didn't want me to do. What a coincidence!

One was outside while her dad was mowing and got a segment of wire through the heart when the mower hit some wire hidden in the lawn. So I wasn't allowed to be outdoors while the yard was being mowed. (Until I got to the age where I was encouraged to be the one mowing.)

Another story involved a girl who got her head run over by a car at a gas station while the family car was being fueled. This explained why I was told to stay in the car at gas stations.

Yet another tale told of a girl drowning in a small creek at one of my favorite outdoor destinations. This one didn't keep me out of the vicinity of the creek, though. Some things- such as playing around the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River- were more important to me than other things- such as wandering around gas stations.

Also, I was led to believe that the beautiful tiger salamanders I would occasionally encounter had venomous bites- deadly! This kept me from picking them up and bringing them into the house- I brought in "horny toads" instead.

Also, judging by the reaction of my parents, the garter snakes I found everywhere were the local equivalent of spitting cobras; their reaction led me to believe these reptiles were deadly to gaze upon and worse to touch- so I didn't start picking them up until I read for myself, and began to discover the nature of the tales I was being fed.

Did I say these stories were meant to scare children? I probably should have said they were intended to manipulate children. Me, in particular. And they worked for a time, but had unintended consequences.

When I discovered the gentle nature of tiger salamanders, and that the worst garter snakes could do was to slime you with foul-smelling goo, I began to question everything I had been told. Was it all just to manipulate my behavior; to make me more compliant?

Were the horror stories about the 3 tragically injured girls just as false? I'm still not sure about that- perhaps I should ask some day. But, if people would mislead me about some things, in order to get me to do what they wanted, would they lie about other things as well? You know the answer to that.

Well, statists tell tales meant to scare you and manipulate your behavior, too.

If there's no State forcing people to pay against their will, there would be no roads, libraries, parks, or education. You would be dead because warlords would have taken over and raped and murdered your whole family. Without the fear of punishment administered by government, it would be "kill or be killed" chaos. People are greedy, prone to theft and aggression, and only the superheroes in government "service" stand in their way. "Democracy [sic] is the worst form of government, except for all the rest." Anarchy is just like communism- it can't work in the real world... because, reasons.

Just like the stories told to scare children, the stories told to scare adults may have lessons embedded somewhere. Yes, people can be selfish and evil. The worst are drawn to government "jobs". Roads would have to be paid for- they aren't free. Sometimes, if a warlord sees an opportunity, and a docile population not inclined to defend themselves, they will take over. It's how government happens.

Yet, civilization is proof that people are better and smarter than the statists believe. Because, government is made up of the worst of the species, and it still usually manages to not immediately result in total global death. In fact, society and civilization manage to continue in spite of governments.

Don't let the fears and lies of pitiable cowards keep you from enjoying your liberated potential. You know how to live to reach it. Sure, listen to the scary tales of doom told by statists, then learn for yourself and prove their stories wrong. You have that power.


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