I asked Donovan once what he thought was the most dangerous thing on earth after we were talking about a thunderstorm full of brilliant lightening flashes and thundering booms in which I cowered in an indoor hallway trying to look like I was readjusting picture frames for twenty minutes instead of trembling in my tennis shoes.
“Humans, he said, humans are the most dangerous things on earth because, well, they hurt each other.”
He was nine years old.
I’m not going to get political, trust me I don’t have the vocabulary to talk about it or the knowledge to understand even the smallest portions of the situation but I do know this. Someone treated Freddie Gray with violence and then people were violent in the week that followed.
Violence begat violence and and so on and so on and so on.
Facebook was awash with defensive comments, blatant accusations, all sorts of video clips and memes and quotations. We paid attention, we had opinions, we applauded, we apologized for applauding, we used the wrong vocabulary again and again and again.
It multiplied, and so on and so on and so on.
Meanwhile in other news there was a natural disaster that killed over 7,000 people and displaced over 450,000, but we were too tuned to watching our own human disaster unfold. We love human disaster; we are enthralled by all our bad behavior; we adore pointing the finger or admiring our own stand or beating our chest and saying, “ See I was right.”
But all around Baltimore as it seemed to go to pieces, residents were planting their own little apple trees.
Parents were bringing their kids out to help clean up the mess; citizens were standing in front of police to protect them; residents were protesting peacefully and getting the word out that this kind of violence will not be tolerated either from the police force or the citizens it protects; and police themselves were working overtime while afraid for their own lives to try to keep peace on the city streets.
Something needs to be done about it and because I don’t have the answer because really I don’t have any answers, I’ll start with myself and work from there.
It’s the hardest and easiest place to begin.
I’ll try to help to send out a next generation that does better; that feels more for others; that isn’t corrupted by fame greed or power; that doesn’t judge someone due to their gender, race, sexual orientation, or the job they do; that respects authority when it needs to be respected but stands up and says so when it doesn’t.
And maybe the world won’t go to pieces and we will have planted enough apple trees so that when Donovan’s kids get of an age to answer that question, human beings will be the last thing they think of.