They Walk Among Us

The Scream by Edvard Munch
(Source: Wikipedia)

They walk among us.

They are our friends and neighbors, and even members of our family. They look just like the rest of us. They smile and laugh with us, and chat with us about inconsequential things. And they can be delightfully charming. Unless you knew, you might never know, not from just from looking at them, anyway. Most of them hide it very well.

You all know some of them. You may even be one of them. They are the bigots, the haters. They hate those who are unlike themselves. Whether the difference be that of color, race, religion, nationality, sexual preference, political party, or economic status, anyone who wear that difference so that it shows will be at risk of suffering their bigotry.

They breed and they raise their children to see the world as they do, to hate as they do.

They vote for people who share their hatred.

It terrifies me.

When people I once respected open their mouths and vitriol spews forth, I feel loss.

When my country's elected officials legislate based on hate, I feel shame.

When I see the result of all this hate every day in the newspaper, on the television, and on the streets, I feel fear.

As Goethe said, “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.



The Other Shoe

(Photo by Nick Wiebe
Source: WikiMediaCommons)

You know that old saw that goes "bad things come in threes"? Yeah.

I am generally not a superstitious person. I've broken more mirrors than I can count with no ill effect. I might avoid walking beneath a ladder, but it'd be because I know how hard it is to get paint out of your hair. Not only do I not fear that black cat walking across my path, I'm likely to call him over so I can pet him.  I'm smart enough to know that the fourteenth floor on the hotel is really the thirteenth, but it doesn't bother me. And Friday the Thirteenth? Not only is it not a bad thing; evidence shows that it's my lucky day. I was promoted three times during my working career on Friday the Thirteenth. So, no, I'm not superstitious.


I admit it. The whole "bad-things-come-in-threes" thing creeps me out. Think about it. It seems that too often, when you hear about a disaster, within hours, you hear about two more. Plane crashes, celebrity deaths, your friends' divorces. The list goes on. I'm sure you have your own list of threes in your life. It happens often enough that when Bad Thing Number One occurs, I find myself waiting for Bad Thing Numbers Two and Three to follow. It's kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the shoe after that.

Example: Since 1996 when an airline safety website started paying attention, there have been three (and sometimes more) plane crashes occurring within a few days of each other every year but one. Given the infrequency of plane crashes, this seems notable.

Example:  Within the last month, The Sopranos bad guy James Gandolfini, Glee singer Corey Montieth, and just this morning, long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas all died. Yes, people die all the time, but the only one of these three whose death might be expected was 92-year-old Thomas.

I tell myself that this phenomenon is coincidence. I see disasters in threes because I look for them. OK, that makes sense, right?


A couple of days ago, another of those "bad-things-come-in-threes" hit, and I definitely wasn't looking for it. If you are a Facebook junkie like me, you know the sorts of things you see on your wall are as varied as your Facebook friends who post them. You see everything from cartoons, photos, rants (political and otherwise), and cute kitten videos to "I burned my toast this morning."  So, when in less than 24 hours, I read heartbreaking posts from three of my good Facebook friends (and folks, I don't have all that many Facebook friends) that his or her beloved dog was horribly ill, was dying, or had already died, I took notice.

I'm not superstitious, but some people believe these things.

At least all three shoes have dropped.


Native Americans believe the number is four, and the Chinese five.

Hug your pup.