Just about every weekend, my wife and I pile into our restored 1966 Simca 1600 and drive up to a beach in Westchester where Whiskey, our four-year-old golden retriever can swim in the Long Island Sound.
If you want to do this, you have to hit the beach around 7:30, because around 9, the cops start showing up and throwing their weight around. There’s no ostensible reason for them doing this weight throwing, it’s just what cops do.
On the way home we dodge the mayhem of i95, switch onto the Bruckner Expressway and cross the Bronx, either heading over the Triboro Bridge into Manhattan, or saving the $5.44 and taking the free Willis Avenue Bridge.
I’ve done this drive maybe a thousand times in my life, and if you want to know the truth, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I know exactly what lane to be in when and I know where every pothole and storm drain is and know how to avoid them.
At one section, just as you’re crossing over an old drawbridge on the Bronx River, the road precipitously narrows from three lanes to two and you need to make a sharp left turn under the Sheridan Expressway. The road is rotten now but was worse when I was a kid when this was the entry point into the South Bronx and the road was pock-marked like something you’d expect to have seen in Beirut. Back then, in the1970s, a Puerto Rican separatist group dominated the area and had scrawled everywhere under the culverts F.A.L.N: Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional.
According to Wikipedia they were responsible for the following bombings and deaths:
Maybe I am looking too hard for solace in a world that seems with every passing day to be falling further and further into horror.
But, according to "The New York Times," from January 1969 to April 1970, the United States sustained 4,330 bombings—3,355 incendiary and 975 explosive, resulting in 43 deaths and almost $22 million in property damage.
You could say that “The Summer of Love,” was in reality “The Summer of Bombing,” since we averaged over eight blasts a day.
Clearly, this does not excuse, or mitigate, or even temper the horror and terror we are living through now when it seems like your best bet for survival is not to leave your apartment or even raise your head above window level.
Today, it seems everyone has a gun and is ready to use it. And every day it seems that more people are senselessly cut down.
But I write this for a reason.
I suspect as the Republican convention begins today in Cleveland, we will hear how the world has absolutely and perhaps irrevocably fallen apart. We will, I suspect, hear the need for law and order--whatever that means--and the affirmation to do everything possible to stem the time of dynamite-laden trucks into crowds of people. (We will hear nothing about curbing arms that can fire 700 rounds per minute.)
Let's try as viewers, to remember, it was ever thus.
That there are always forces of darkness and entropy looking to tear down civilization. That calls for law and order are usually merely well-coded calls for repression, oppression or some violation of constitutionality.
This is not binary.
The world wasn't at one time "safe," and has now somehow and suddenly slunk into mayhem.
No, it's going on as it always has: cruelly, violently, sadly.
Try not to, when hearing over-heated rhetoric and demagoguery, over-react.
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