“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Two different approaches

One of those "topics I don't rant on" much lately has been the growing prevalence in society, particularly in the college student ranks, of "I must be protected from words and ideas that hurt or challenge me." Whether it is Internet censorship of conflicting views, the establishment of "safe spaces" where one needn't face differing ideas, or even the trend of hounding people out of jobs who are not in line with the appropriate group think, it all makes me fear the direction of our world. I know it isn't representative of everyone or everything - but when you see this much of academia and the media doing everything they can to avoid offense it can only lead to bad things down the road.

That's not what I want to see in our future though... and there are other things that give me hope.

One of the news stories I read this week involved young Yazidi women who had escaped or been rescued from their captors in the Islamic State. As opposed to facing words or ideas which they didn't like, these women have faced evils and horrors beyond description and which no one should ever have to deal with. Any sane and decent person could easily forgive them for hiding from society, for seeking a safe space and avoiding conflict and the threat of ever being harmed again.

Instead these women have gone to their fellow Iraqis and Kurds, have sought the opportunity to not only remain in their world, but to go forth and challenge their demons in battle, to serve alongside their countrymen in a fight for their nation against the greatest threat of our time. These women warriors are doing their best to ensure others don't suffer the same fate through actions, not words; and with the full knowledge many of them will die in the cause of freedom.

I'm not saying violence is the only answer by any means - and I have had the privilege and honor of meeting a number of people in life who are doing incredible things to change the world through peaceful means. But it is inspiring to know that where there are people afraid to even consider the idea of facing things which make them uncomfortable, there are still those souls who will stand at the gate when the enemy is near.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Things I hate re-learning

As some folks know, I have a severe case of arthritis which is (typically) well-managed by medication. Severe, as in without modern medication I wouldn't be able to work most likely. But, thanks to modern science I normally don't have to deal with more than moderate pain, some immune system issues, and remembering certain limits on my activities.

I say this, because as part of the surgery I had late last year, I've had to be off my arthritis medication for the recovery period. And, in the last week, it has definitely taken a toll on me... I'd forgotten exactly how debilitating this can be, in terms of the pain, the limits on my endurance and daily activities, and all the other things that come with it.

Not bringing this all up to gripe... more I think an appreciation of what science and medicine can do for us. Within my own lifetime my prognosis for this disease would have been pain management at best, and even that would have limitations. Yet nowadays I'm looking at dealing with six weeks of what is really an inconvenience in the big scheme of things, and then being back on track.

All in all I'm pretty lucky.