The Shortest Distance, and The Longest

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May 5, 2019-

“Civilization is precisely the human capacity to say no…….”- Rob Riemen, To Fight Against This Age

Viewing the film “Room”, this evening, I prepared myself for a variety of possible outcomes, none of them good.  Having worked for so long in child protection and recovery from abuse, I know the permutations that such cases can take.  I know that attorneys for the abuser will sometimes do their job all too well, and the cycle will repeat itself, ad nauseam.  I know that sometimes, the good guys win, and people like Erica Pratt, Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart go on to achieve at least a fair amount of normalcy and success, on their own terms.  I’ve seen a mix of the two outcomes, with identity mix-up and role confusion, only resolvable with the maximum amount of patience and sensitivity.

In a complex world, where everyone gets to jump in and have a say, many times with an agenda that has nothing to do with the recovering child, the cases can take  a long sideways route, often twisting like a corkscrew, until nothing is left.  In these cases, money is made, but no one wins.  Fame is achieved, sometimes for people who had nothing to do with the original case-and sometimes for those who did, but who have moved on, past the reality of the victim.

It’s been long enough, since the film was in theaters, that I can applaud how the story panned out.  “Jack” used native intelligence and common sense to save his mother twice- first from their captor, then from herself.  “Joy”, the mother, did well to keep both of them alive, and to recover, from both abandonment by her father and a misguided barrage of criticism from a sensation-seeking journalist.  The film is thus a cautionary tale, for several sectors of society.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  “Jack” was young enough to use that logic, in describing his former place of captivity to the police, and in avoiding the long, twisting, jagged-edged road to recovery faced by his mother.

I like to think that I prefer taking the short route, in my own life, but time has proven that sometimes, the long route has ended up being chosen.

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XL: Breathe, and Be

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June 4, 2017, Prescott-

I made it a point to watch several of the You Tube videos coming out of today’s One Love Manchester concert, organized as a response to last month’s bombing, and, by extension, to yesterday’s attacks in London.

The performances, in my view, were heartfelt, as was the outpouring of support from responsible adults, worldwide.  Any one critiquing the “quality” of the singing, or the motives of the people involved, is missing the point.  Many young people, both male and female, were injured-and 22 lost their lives, needlessly.  Entertainment is part of a full and healthy life.  The kids had every right to go to an entertainment venue of their choice, so long as no one else was harmed by that choice.  No one should have to answer to conservative religious zealots, macho men who hate girl singers, or anyone else, for that matter.

Enough of that, though.  The focus was, and will remain, on the healing of those communities which have experienced deadly attacks.  It takes most people a long time, and some never fully recover.  Survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack and of the World War II concentration camps, have been forever scarred by their experiences.  People who were in New York and Arlington, VA, during the September 11, 2001 horrors, are hard put to set those events aside.  They ought not have to answer to conspiracy theorists, or naysayers of any stripe.

The same is true of those recovering from these latest terror episodes.  The focus needs to be on just breathing, on being.  I have a lot of love for kids, and for people in general.  Victims have a special place in my heart, as they do in the hearts of a good many.  Terrorists and haters, so long as they persist, will never count for much in my book.