Sunday, October 09, 2005

"Clueless in Kentucky"

President John F. Kennedy once made a statement during a speech which went something like, "All Americans can remember what they were doing when they heard the news about President Franklin Roosevelt'd death". Ironically, this became true as well about President Kennedy's own death for those who are old enough to remember that faithful day in November of 1963.

And for those of us who are old enough as well, and were tremendous fans of The Beatles, we can say that regarding the death of John Lennon, who, today had he lived, would have been 65 years old.

I'm sure that I've related this story before, but bear with me a moment, please as I recall that day nearly 25 years ago when I heard of Lennon being shot.

It was a cold, December day here in Kentucky. It hadn't been long since I had gotten divorced from my wife at that time, and my emotional state of mind still hadn't settled back into what was once again a single existence.

I had been to a nearby town and was driving back home, playing the AM radio on my old Ford Maverick. The station was playing Beatles' music. In fact, they had played several in a row, finally to the point that I was wondering just why? Was it some sort of celebration of the group? Was it some sort of anniversary?

And just as I pulled up to a "stop" sign, awaiting passing cars so I could turn onto the main road, it came over the radio. John Lennon was dead. Some idiot had killed him as he was leaving his New York apartment.

My mind temporarily shut down. I sat there, stunned at the news, not wanting to believe it was true. Wanting to believe that maybe he'd just been wounded. Wanting to think that a mistake had been made. Not capable of believing that someone that I admired so very much could actually die.

It hadn't been long before that I had bought his "Double Fantasy" l.p. John was getting back into music. He'd set his home life in order. This just all had to be some sort of foul joke and a nasty mistake!

But it wasn't. And I was suddenly jolted back into reality by a car horn blaring behind me, urging me to drive on. So, I turned onto the road, and then pulled off again, and sat there for a few minutes, listening to the news again as they related the incident.

For the next week or so, I don't think I left out of my house for much of anything except work. I was depressed. The dream that The Beatles would ever again reunite was gone forever. We'd never hear any new music again from my personal favorite of the group. But the thing that haunted me the most was how a man of peace, but could struck down in violence.

And 25 years later, I still can't understand that. I watch the world news every day, and every day there's reports of people being violently killed in wars, and in robberies and all manner of crime. I wonder how mankind, which has progressed so quickly from a race that rode in horse-drawn vehicles went in a mere 60 years or so to riding space crafts to the moon, created machines (computers) with which they can communicate instantly all over this world, created micro-surgery, cures to some of the worst of diseases, have such high-tech instruments that they can see the time on a person's watch from an orbiting spy telescope, and all other things they've achieved that would only be attributed to the genius of our human race, can still not get along with one another on this planet? If anything at all, this planet has become increasingly more violent during those years, which proves to me that intelligence alone cannot eliminate that beastial instinct from the human mind.

Nor does it seem that in a world constantly aware that education leads to a better existence, eliminate this trait. I wonder if it ever can? The closest I can see the goodness actually in people is the outpouring of kindness to those who this year have suffered in so many natural catastrophies. This, at least, shows me that mankind is trying. They are searching for that key to unlock a peaceful future, but the years upon years they have been warriors has left such a deep indention upon their ids that it's very difficult to fill up that space with the true idea of peace.

We, as a country, want to be left alone to live our usual daily lives, but those we keep putting in charge of our laws in this land, want to constantly get involved. And it's not at all just their fault. The majority of this nation wasn't alive during the last great World War, but we've been reminded, time and again, of the monstrosities of petty dictators and what can happen if we choose not to get involved with the problems of our neighboring nations upon this planet. We want them, to be like us, and, well...this can never be.

And so, the ever conflict. Man keeps killing man for a piece of property, or the right to rule a nation under their specific religious specifications. Our government hears a plea from those in that country who say it "isn't right", and we step in as the World's Peacekeepers, only to find we aren't peacekeepers at all, but policemen involved in yet another war.

And, in general, the people here ignore that this is actually happening...that is, until a loved one serving this country in The Armed Forces is killed, or a neighbor loses a son or daughter, or a terrorist, tired of us trying to stop his way of governing his country, strikes back here on our own soil and we deem it an act of terrorism.

I have no answers for those terrorists.

I have no answers to our own government on how to stop world violence.

I have no ready answers to any of these problems.

Nobody does.


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