FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Wreckage

by MISSY BEATTIE

I was running the path parallel to the main road when I heard brakes wail and then a BOOM. Unable to see anything through the dense tree leaves that partition the Kingdom of Intersections from the larger world, I looked up at billowing, grayish white smoke.

I ran down the hill and turned left, wondering if I could help. It was morning rush hour. Plenty of people were out of their cars, moving towards the mangled metal. A man limped away from a smashed maroon sedan. Rushing towards him, a take-charge woman talking on a cellphone motioned that he sit on the grass. Vehicles crept along a passable portion of lane until the police arrived and closed traffic in both directions.

A young man told me he saw the driver of the white car exceeding the 30-mile-an-hour speed limit. “He was going at least 60,” he said.

Years ago, when I wrote scripts for a NPR show called The Heart of the Matter, I interviewed a trauma doctor who treated gunshot victims. “There are no accidents,” he’d said. I thought of those words, knowing this wreck would be reported and referred to as one. Except a driver made a decision to push an accelerator past 30 to 40, 45, 50, up, up, beyond 60.

I didn’t finish my run that morning. I walked. I walked and talked with neighbors, and then considered that BOOM and the smoke. I thought of Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Gazans, the residents of war-ravaged lands—and how often they hear these explosions. No accident, since someone, some two, three, the Fourth Estate, Congress, and a complicit electorate not only endorse aggression but also seem to worship it as they demonize entire populations. There’s no acknowledgement of humanity, that those whose lives we rupture are perceptive and sentient beings.

Limits are exceeded, over and over, until we become inured to sounds, images. Buttons are pushed. Joysticks operated. Missions accomplished. If others are maimed or killed during a targeted strike, an apology may follow, and then it’s on to the next crime against our species.

We walk outside and hear a BOOM. Wreckage at home. Crashing cars and so much more.

Boston, school massacres, mall and movie shootings. A Mother’s Day mow down. And there’s the mom in my home state of Kentucky who went out to the garden, heard a BOOM, and rushed back inside the house to find that her five-year-old child had picked up his kiddie Cricket rifle and killed his little sister. A state policeman called it a quick thing that happens when you turn your back. The coroner said, “It’s just one of these crazy accidents.”

But this was not an accident.

“There are no accidents.”

We inflict great damage, yet we have the capacity to be compassionate, virtuous. If we’re fortunate, we experience love and tolerate loss by looking at the immensity of the universe and the brief time we have to live meaningful lives. But we must condemn injustice, violence, state sanctioned terror—the murder of hundreds of thousands of human beings the fear dealers want us to believe we’re fighting there, so we don’t have to fight them here.

We intersect, accelerate, advance shock and awe, and collide. Our government refuses to apply the brakes. The Empire is crashing, a mangled, immoral wreck. “There are no accidents.”

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com

 

 

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail