KingMidget's Ramblings

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Changing My Mind


About 8-9 years ago, I came up with an idea for a novel.  It was a fictionalized version of an idea I had about how the terrorists could really terrorize this country if they wanted to.  The way I look at it, as long as they targeted the big things, like the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, the rest of America might not really react to it.  No, there was a different way they could go about this if they really, really wanted to terrorist America.

I was excited about the idea and within a matter of a few weeks — okay maybe a couple of months — I churned out about 25,000 words of the thing.  I told the story in present tense and thought it really worked because that tense gave the story a stronger sense of immediacy and urgency.  I really liked what I was doing with it.

And then I got bogged down in the story and its details as seems to happen with many of my ideas these days.  I put it aside with the expectation that I would come back to it.  It’s lingered ever since.  The original version of the story had the terrorists as Muslims.  At some point I decided the terrorists really should be homegrown, right-wing, anti-government whackos.  That made getting back to the story all the more difficult because it would require a significant rewrite of what I had already completed.  And I’m not a huge fan of re-writes.

So, the story has lingered all these years.  In the recesses of my mind, tempting me and luring me.

And I’ll never write another word on the story.

Events have outpaced my idea and, more accurately, made my idea all too real.  The tragedies that continue whether they are the work of disenchanted Muslim-Americans, fringe right-wingers opposed to abortion, whackos who shoot up churches or theaters, crazed loners killing children in an elementary school, or … well, there seem to be more and more every few weeks … have grown too numerous and too real to keep my story appealing to me.  One of the biggest problems is that there is no one group that poses a threat to us now.  The threats are many and varied and it feels like they are everywhere.  Colorado (multiple times), Charleston, Orlando, Boston, San Bernardino, Dallas.

The reality is that I don’t want to put my idea out there in a fictional work for fear it would give somebody an idea.  So I won’t.  That story is dead now.

Which leads me to another thing about all of this.  We live in a most fractured country.  We grow more and more divided with every day and every unfortunate event.  On the left, it seems that far too many view every cop as corrupt and racist.  They seem unwilling to acknowledge that the vast majority of law enforcement officers are not, in fact, corrupt or racist.  They seem unwilling to acknowledge that police officers in America have just about the most difficult job that exists in our country.  They deal with the worst of the worst — the crazy, the violent.  The worst of the worst.  Daily.  Hourly.  Officers need more support, more training, more resources and we, as a society, have to be willing to address a whole host of issues to alleviate some of the pressure that cops take on to protect the rest of us.

And on the right, it seems that far too many are unwilling to acknowledge that there still remains a racist strain in this country.  That there are bad cops.  That there are untrained cops.  And that use of deadly force should not be the first or the second tactic when confronting a disrespectful or threatening suspect.  Far too many of these videos show police officers who pull their gun before they have to.  Far too many officers who aggravate the situation rather than ratchet it down.  And yes, on the right, it seems far too many are unwilling to acknowledge that this can look to others like a massive example of the racism that still exists in some corners of the country.

And that’s why there is no solution to this problem.  Unless and until people on all sides of this issue (and many others) begin to recognize that those on the other side have legitimate gripes.  I read liberal blogs and conservative blogs and wallow in the comments on posts on both sides.  It is amazing to me how utterly incapable both sides are in recognizing the views and perspectives of the other.  We have become a country made up of islands without bridges between them.

It’s time to start building bridges.  Otherwise this is only going to get worse.  Much, much worse.

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10 responses to “Changing My Mind

  1. hirundine608 July 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    It may be just another conspiracy theory? One should read about “Operation Gladio”. Then consider how much of the “terrorist” problem is in actual fact, perpetrated by those who seek to take over power through fear. There is plenty out there which makes it seem plausible. USS Liberty and other acts; that seem, to me, to be treasonable? Yet they wear teflon pants and none of it sticks …

  2. S.K. Nicholls July 8, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    It’s time to look at others with empathy and concern (whatever their “party” or “side”) and to embrace our common humanity. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get us there.

    • kingmidget July 8, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      I don’t know either. I’m in the middle of a comment “war” on the right-wing blog I read the most. The attacks on the entire left and Obama’s “half of the country” as being responsible for this. Statements that our “half” are now out shooting cops. It’s just outrageous and divisive and ridiculous. It needs to stop. One guy says there is “one truth.” I agreed and said that it typically lies somewhere between left and right.

      • S.K. Nicholls July 8, 2016 at 8:37 pm

        Now every Black Lives Matters member is a terrorist. You know they put those guys up to shooting those cops. All lives will matter when black lives matter. The rest of this murder going on the the USA is the direct result of violent cartoons being censored in the seventies and being replaced by edu-toons like Fat Albert, where everyone learns a lesson and moves on.

      • kingmidget July 8, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        As I mentioned to my mom tonight, 99% of the participants at the protests are peaceful and respectful. It helps the other side, though, to focus on the 1% who ruin it for everybody else.

      • S.K. Nicholls July 8, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        Protests are occurring in cities all over the USA right now. This is not like the Orlando shooting, Charleston, or any other of the myriad of mass killings in this country in recent years. These people want you to know that this has been going on far too long to even be remotely acceptable. I marched with my mother in civil rights protests as a mere child. It was genuinely peaceful enough for her to trust that I would be okay. This is not the same world. The young man who lives with us didn’t come home today after work. We haven’t heard from him. He usually calls my husband five times a day. We know he’s not in jail and he’s not in the local ER, but he’s a hot head with a big mouth and I’m worried about him.

      • kingmidget July 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm

        I agree. There are a lot more issues, a lot more problems, a much more complicated stew that is simmering. Please let me know when you hear from the guy who lives with you.

      • S.K. Nicholls July 8, 2016 at 10:37 pm

        Last saw him at 2 pm. He stopped in to grab a couple of sodas and said he was working right down the street (landscaping) and would be home in a little bit. he’s 1:30 am and he’s not here. Yes, he’s a grown man, but it concerns us as he calls my husband five times a day for every little thing and he hasn’t heard from him all day.

  3. Rose August 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    In relation to societal violence, etc, I think a lot about how structures and culture affect what people do within a society. Humans are humans but can be trained to behave within norms – I think the ‘norm’ in the US is becoming dysfunctional though not living there this is a big statement. The whole winners and losers thing, for instance – we don’t really emphasise the concept here, so we are a somewhat less dog eat dog society. We need to develop culture and norms that restrain people’s worse impulses.

    • kingmidget August 15, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      I completely agree. I have grown so monumentally tired of this idea that we have to “win” at everything, that we have to be “great.” Every time I hear about how we are great or need to be great, I now ask, “why? to what end?” It’s just really getting sickening how we have created a society where winning is what matters above all else.

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