What We’ve Become

On July 4th, I was watching the national news, as I so often do.  The news opened with reports of terrorist bombings that have occurred all over the Middle East.  Istanbul recently had 3 suicide bombers blow themselves up inside the international airport terminal.  A car bomb exploded in Baghdad, killing a couple of hundred people.  Some 20 people were killed a few days ago in Dhaka by armed terrorists, who took hostages at a café.  These reports were followed by reports about 4th of July celebrations around this country.  The focus of the July 4th reports were on how much security and how many armed police were on duty keeping everyone safe.

After watching these reports, I reflected on what the human race has become in the 21st century.  In the second decade of the 21st century, we now live in a society that we must be surrounded by armed security in order to live safely.  If you would have told me 40 years ago that this is what the world would look like now, I would have said that you had just seen a bad movie.  Yet, this is our reality, and it is not getting better, it’s getting worse.

Today’s news reports were no better.  In the past few days, there have been police officer-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, which have generated protests around the country.  This afternoon, toward the end of a protest in Dallas, TX, 11 police officers were shot, killing 4 of them.  A photograph was being circulated that showed a suspect, wearing a camouflage t-shirt with an AR-15 slung over his shoulder.

The violence just keeps escalating and I think much of it can be attributed to the terrorist violence that began around the turn of the century.  When 9/11 happened, it started a chain of events.  The terrorist attacks changed life in our society.  Everyone is on edge.  Greater security is needed at airports and sports stadiums. Incidents started happening where police are being video recorded shooting unarmed persons.  Today, we had multiple police officers shot and killed, presumably in retaliation for the most recent officer-involved shootings.

I am feeling less and less connected with the human race.  Killings are common place on the news nearly every night.  Between the 2 political candidates, running for the office of President of the United States, we have one candidate who is quite happy continuing to pull petroleum out of the ground for our energy needs and is fine with a financial system that is just waiting for the next meltdown.  The other candidate wants to build walls around this country, evict anyone who is Muslim, and make sure we can all carry the latest weapons of war to protect ourselves.  Clearly, these weapons are needed to protect ourselves from ourselves.

I have always been a believer in life on planets beyond our solar system.  I have wondered what it would be like if an alien civilization openly made contact with us. If there are other civilizations more advanced than our own, my advice to them would be to just pass us by.  Why would any civilization want contact with us?  We spend a major amount of time killing our own people and destroying our planet.

As much as I love this planet, if I were offered a chance to visit another planet, provided that planet was not prone to the kind of violence we are, I’m afraid I’d jump at the chance to go.  It’s really beginning to feel like it may be time to abandon ship.

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