I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
March 25, 2016 - 1:12 p.m.
So yet another day that I've put off writing till it was much too late. Partially that's because I'm not happy with what I'm going to write about. I am pretty sure I had something yesterday, something I was sure I wouldn't forget … and I forgot. Ignorance is not bliss.
Yesterday I went up to my PO Box. The Post Office closes at 5:30. I started to get ready to leave here at 4:30, I don't know when I made it out the door. I had bad timing and a long wait at the and again when I switched to the . The upshot? I was one station away at 5:30. This has happened many times. I'm not sure if this counts as an idiot story. This is related to my mental health issues. I just can't get myself out of the house for something like this. You know that I'm meticulous about being punctual. If I'm going to meet someone I'm there early. But there are a few things I find myself doing this for. And of course I could have left any time earlier in the day. I just couldn't get myself moving. I didn't waste the trip; I went up to Trader Joe's. Of course I forgot to get bacon. I'll make it up there today. It fits in nicely with my other plans. I am meeting Dan for dinner at 8:30 in the Lower East Side. Then were are seeing Jo Kroger's CD release at Rockwood at 10 PM. You should join us. But that's not my point. What I realized was I can get to the post office at 5:15 then walk over to the American Museum of Falk Art for Free Music Friday at 5:30 and then walk down to the Lower East Side. That will get me exercise and an extra dose of music. I have no idea who is playing Free Music Friday, I'll just trust Lara's taste. It's not like I'd be wasting money, it's free. It says so right in the title.
When I got off the train at Columbus Circle, I saw this.
I posted that on Instagram and Facebook and said "what's going on?" I got back responses that it was about the attack in Belgium and that is part of the answer. Still don't know why they were at that station. They weren't at Atlantic Terminal right as an Islander game was letting out. The IS has targeted sporting events and there were a lot more people there than at Columbus Circle. Someone suggested that they move them around but you know very well that there are stations, busy stations, like the one near my house, that never get that treatment. And if terrorists came and saw cops why wouldn't they just go someplace else and kill people. They aren't looking for symbolic targets now, just people. It makes sense to defend the Statue of Liberty and the new World Trade Center and other places that are much more likely to be hit. I was wondering if it were because that station opens up right next to a Trump building, I was told that 14th Street had the cops with assault weapons too. After 911 the national guardsmen became a fixture at Penn Station, and I can get that, it's a classic target that would disrupt the City. I noticed there were degrees of readiness. Sometimes they didn't have assault weapons. Sometimes they were shoulders, and least often they had the guns in hand as the cop did in the picture.
My other line of thought was, "What does an attack in Brussels a few days before have to do with the it being more likely to have an attack in New York today? Waves of attack across the globe has never been the MO of terrorist groups. You can make an argument that things will be safer immediately following an attack. The IS has finite resources and they have been expended them on the first attack. I don't buy that reasoning but it's as least as valid as thinking an attack is more likely which is based nothing.
But of course that's not what getting the cops with M16s out there is about. It isn't about making the public safer it's about making them feel safer. And that's a valid government objective. It's irrational to think people will be rational. I might do the same thing but I might not. While it might reassure people it also validates their fears. The problem is how do you invalidate the fear? Obama pointed out that more Americans die falling in bathtubs than at the hands of terrorists. He was ridiculed for that. When you invalidate people's fears many respond by attacking the invalidator. It just hit me that's so much of what I write about. I tell people to not be afraid of GMOs and what it does is give assurance to those not afraid of GMOs that they are not alone but I seriously doubt it changes anyone's mind and yes I get attacked for saying it. And of course I'm doing that very thing right now telling you to not be afraid of terrorists. You're a thousand times more likely to be killed in a car accident. People who get terrified and won't go out after a terrorist attack will talk on the cell phones while driving. Now that's dangerous. But it doesn't feel dangerous so people do it.
Once again I'm lamenting that people aren't more like Vulcans. I wish I were more like a Vulcan. If I were I'd have gotten to my PO box on time. More importantly my anxiety wouldn't have screwed my life up. I'm Vulcan enough to know that wishing doesn't make it so.
I didn't finish talking about my day. When I got back from shopping a few blocks from my house I heard someone say, "Hello!" it was a Hassidic woman in the house two from mine. I said, "Hi" back and wondered why she said hi to me. I then did an "Oy, she was just talking on her Bluetooth to someone on the phone, I should be used to that now" and walked on. But that's not what happened. She followed me to my house. I apologized for walking buy her like that. She offered me food for Purim. You don't offer it to the poor you offer it to friends. We had a nice little conversation. I told that I can't believe I spent my entire life including Hebrew school and never learned that. I am an atheist and think that religion is not just wrong but harmful. The Hassidim believe strongly in group identity which I think is not just wrong but harmful. But that has nothing to do with them being good or bad people or fun or boring people. She's a nice woman and if I see her today I'll say hi. Saying hi and smiling at neighbors is not just right it's a good thing. I'm sure she thinks it's a bad thing that I am a Jewish apostate but took the time out to be nice and call me a friend. The world has a thousand, ten thousand, no a million people like that for every terrorist.
That was a good way to turn the mood of this entry around. Now to reward myself with leftover pancakes and bacon.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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