New Posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- er generally

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It is random

by Rain Trueax

Something has been on my mind. We, in the United States and most of the developed nations, live in a safe period of history. If you look back at history, you see wars that swept across people's homelands, along with plagues and famines. Those could decimate whole populations. 

As mankind has learned more, diseases have been taken on, and in some cases conquered.  When I was a girl, my parents feared having us swim in some rivers because polio was a very real risk. Then came the Salk vaccine, and polio has been all but forgotten for what it once meant-- unless you have a family member who had been touched by it. Iron lungs, what do people today know of that horrid but lifesaving device?
Of course, there are still diseases that come upon us when we aren't expecting them. The end result though is that is random even when DNA or environment might be a factor. So is violence.

We live in a time when most of us have no reason to fear a conquering hoard appearing on the horizon, but we can be in a movie theater or at a political event where it all changes. We can hear glass breaking and know our home is being invaded. It is the reality we live with-- random violence.

As a writer, I might think about such things more than most, as random violence occurs in some of my books. There does not have to be a seemingly logical sequence leading up to it-- such as would be the case with a violent family member or workplace employee. Random violence happens, and it comes from out of nowhere.

Today, more than at any other time in my lifetime, is there anyone in the developed world who doesn't turn when they hear a loud noise to assess from where it came? How about going into a mall or theater and not looking for exits if there was a fire or an attack of some sort? We don't not go. We just go alert.

Even as a child, I was taught about bad people. I was in first grade and attended a country school with no buses. There was a mile and a half to walk, half of it often with neighbor kids. One day there weren't any with me, when I saw a vehicle approaching. I began to run. Then realized it was my father. My grandmother, his mother, was with him and later chastised him for making me feel that fear. Was he wrong?

A few years later, I was walking by myself in Salem when a van stopped. The man leaned out the window and said he'd give me $5 if I would help him find an address. I said no and kept walking. He drove off, and I wasn't far from my aunt's home. If I had not been prepared by the possibility of random violence, how might that day have ended?

My belief is we can't avoid everything. but we can and should be aware, alert to what's around us. We can listen to our instincts. Forewarned is forearmed. I put that philosophy into all my books as part of their theme-- along with some other issues I feel matter. Fiction is about events that didn't actually happen-- but that doesn't mean it can't teach something valuable for quality living.

6 comments:

joared said...

Interesting point, though I think we teeter on just how safe this period is with mutated bacterias now resistente to our strongest antibiotics, for example. I vividly recall in high school our young popular home economic instructor who didn't return in the fall. We were shocked to learn a virulent form of polio had taken her life during the summer. Then TB, which has a form in recent years that is now a threat -- but those who contracted TB years ago often didn't survive, or if they did their life path could be totally altered -- had portions of lungs removed -- were housed in sanitariums for a couple years as I know to be true for someone who entered my life years later. Weather changes are introducing all sorts of diseases previously known mostly in other parts of world, for example warmer climates moving up from south of U.S. border. We have the potential of being better able to address these current threats, I think, but I'm not sure the risks are being taken by some as seriously as they should be according to some scientists. I agree, we can be grateful we've conquered what we have as would have been so much worse now.

Rain Trueax said...

so true with viruses mutating, it could change in a heartbeat. There is talk of diseases appearing out of melting icecaps, for which mankind hasn't seen in millenniums. Change is all about evolution, though, which, of course is ongoing

Ranch Chimp said...

Just stopped by getting linked to you through other blogs ... you're in Oregon ... beautiful up there ... I'm in Texas. Yep, I remember all the polio stuff and much else. No, I was just browsing through some of your postings here ... I can learn something about writing from you, mine too long. Have a good one

Rain Trueax said...

Thanks for visiting RC. I have yet to visit Texas but it's on my someday list

Brig said...

Some old diseases are making a come back, in part due to third world immigrants, and parents here not getting their children vaccinated. I remember the time when polo was rampant. My daughter came back from service to our country in a third world countries with a form of TB.
Situational awareness is and has been an important part of taking care of oneself & our loved ones. It worries me that so many are stuck with their faces in their phones and are oblivious to what goes on around them.
When I went to a small one room country school, there was no bus service so I rode my bike the 3.5 miles to school, crossing a busy highway. Usually it was with other farm kids, but occasionally by myself. Even way back then we were taught to be aware.

Rain Trueax said...

I suspect farm and ranch living teaches a lot of that as big animals and equipment require awareness at an early age.

I hope your daughter was able to get over the TB-- a high price to pay and one paid by many who serve in such places