The Great Plotnik

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So Little for So Much

Plotnik is reading "The Long Walk" by Slavomir Rawicz, which has been made into a movie that may already have been released. It's the story of a Pole who fights against the Nazis and is then imprisoned by the Russians. He is an intellectual (i.e., went to college) so he is automatically assumed to be a spy. He is tortured, packed into a cattle car and sent to the gulags in Siberia, from whence (Plotnik isn't up to that part in the story yet) he escapes and walks across Siberia and China and the Himalayas and eventually ends up in India.

But Plottie isn't thinking about the long walk so much, but about how this man was a Pole. His country was invaded by Germans so he fought against them, and then his country was invaded by Russians so he fought against them too. It's what we would all do.

It's human nature -- or at least man nature. It is imprinted in the DNA of men. We carve out our area, where we will raise our families, and we protect it against any and all comers. No one will fight more fiercely than a man protecting his family or a woman protecting her brood.

And we never feel better either.

When you think about this against the backdrop of our nation of wealth and favor, who no foreign power has invaded since 1814, who has every natural advantage and is surrounded by long-time allies and friends on all sides -- friends who count on us for their own economic and military protection and therefore will defend us in turn -- you at first find it impossible to understand the Jared Loughners and other armed-to-the-teeth lunatics, whose desire to kill seems to have no purpose, no reason. It doesn't make sense.

But they're almost always men, aren't they? It's as if they can't find an enemy so they have to create one. They must defend their turf, their family, their brood, even if they are so psychotic there is probably no chance they could ever aquire one.

They see themselves as hemmed in on all sides, and they see everyone else as, if not an enemy, at least a potential enemy. We call it mental illness but they see it as self defense.

They want to feel good too.

A man this morning blew himself up in an airport in Russia, killing many people like you and me, hanging around the international terminal waiting to pick up friends and family and drive them home. How many suicide bombers activated their deadly bombs yesterday in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Tunisia? Forget the politics or religion here.

Allah, Jesus and Moses don't kill people. People kill people. Plotnik sounds like the NRA here.

These are people making what are, to themselves, rational decisions. To them, they have already been riding on the cattle car for too long and finally have a chance to take some of the hated enemy with them.

From our vantage point they are idiots. This is lunacy. And it is. It accomplishes so very little, in exchange for so very much.


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