Monday, December 28, 2009

* Bullets and Booze

The Asymmetrical Law of Consequences:

With Malice Toward None;With Charity for All

It seems unfair that a tiny piece of metal smaller than half an index finger, stuffed with powder, is able to remove from civilization forever persons of great social benefit: Lincoln,Gandhi,Kennedy, King.

Just from the standpoint of physics (the relation of energy to mass, and vice versa), it seems too unbalanced: a tiny piece of metal propelled through the air can wipe out often in an instant a consciousness with volition, molded by decades of experiences, able to lead nations.

The scales are tilted to extreme--if not inverted--on this matter presented to Blind Lady Justice.

There is not even a semblance of symmetry: One bullet at Ford's Theater wipes out "with malice toward none, with charity for all" and ensures Jim Crowe and segregation for the next hundred years?

It's an Absurdist's world.

And so too do we have New Year's Eve, 2009/10 in which an entire nation jokes about a liquid which, when poured into a driver, turns a car into a lethal weapon.

Before I was born, my father's mother was killed by a drunk driver as she stepped off a trolley in West Haven, Connecticut at the age of 49.

My cousin's 16-year-old son was killed in 1979 by a drunk driver in Gaithersburg, Maryland while he walked by the side of the road.

And my housemate, Irene O'Malley, the 38-year-old mother of two boys and two girls, was killed in 1986 when a drunk driver
(the 19-year old son of one of my co-workers) crossed lanes and plowed her station-wagon off the road, over a hillside in Bethel, Vermont as she travelled to her third-shift job as an obstetrical nurse at a local hospital. The 19-year-old boy was killed too. (see

Upper, right:
My grandfather (front fender), LeRoy Ward

My grandmother, killed by a drunk driver at age 49, Hulda Bonhau Keane, 1878-1927

Unfair odds: that a bottle of liquid can remove a mother from the world; and a son too.

The physics of it is similarly unfair: A grotesque symmetry of life.

But in this case, the logistics seem unfairer still, since that liquid can be sold legally in stores on most streets in every state in the union.


At least nowadays you have to drive a few miles to buy them.



Flowers are

than bullets:

better than
than funerals.

"A live dog is better than a dead lion."

New Year,

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