Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Days That Will Live In Infamy

I don't know why the beginning of December is fiendish. Perhaps an astrologist has an explanation or maybe a numerologist. All I know is it's getting awfully crowded in these, the days of infamy.

On December 6th, twenty-one years ago, a young man, named Marc Lépine, walked into Montreal's École Polytechnique, an engineering school, and killed fourteen women, all of whom were the best and brightest of students, because he decided he hated women. He hated feminists. He hated that he had not succeeded in love.
He killed himself when he was done. The incident remains the largest case of mass murder in Canada.

On December 7th, 1941 Japanese forces bombed the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor -- reasons too numerous to mention, except to note that the Japanese were already engaged in conquering China and Korea and wanted more in the Pacific rim. Crippling the US would have been a way to buy more time to carry out their plans, or so they thought. It doesn't matter now because the long reach of history explains over decades the whys and wherefores of what led up to Japan's political aspirations and what befell the entire world through the war years ending in 1945 and post war. Suffice it to say the Pearl Harbor attack, unexpected and shocking on a Sunday morning, spelled death for 2,402 military personnel and wounded 1,282.
Within hours, Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States, as well.

On December 8th, 1980, a disenfranchised man, Mark David Chapman, shot and killed former Beatle, John Lennon. He was forty years old.
Chapman killed Lennon because he wanted to be a somebody everyone would remember.
On Wednesday, it'll be thirty years since Lennon's last breath. The world will take notice and pay tribute. Did Chapman win?

All in all, a very busy week.

This year, it is different for me. I am marking the events with a blog entry. When I have finished, I will have finished. News blackouts unless a new disaster strikes.

 I have lived through the following:

Assassination of John F. Kennedy, 
Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X.
The Manson murders
The Jonestown massacre -Jim Jones
The morning the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up
Waco Siege - death of David Koresh and Branch Davidians
Death of John Kennedy Jr.
Death of Diana Princess of Wales
Oklahoma City Bombing - Timothy McVeigh
September 11, 2001
Space Shuttle Colombia destroyed on re-entry

and that's certainly not all, but it is enough.

Why am I relating this?

I've given thought over the years to my days of weeping and breast beating, the abject grief and shock, the rage, the total physical displacement of what seemed like my orbit, my axis -- falling, shifting horribly in the pit of my stomach. Grief will always knock me flat.

But I have learned something. It's what actor Sidney Poitier once said -- when he was young he thought he could and would change the world. When he grew older, he realized the only thing he could change was himself.
"Be the change you want to see," said Gandhi.

Not easy. But, one thing I know for sure -- if you are sane and you want to stay that way, you have to choose sanity every waking moment. God knows there are plenty of crazy people on this planet, and plenty of events we cannot control. So, I say a silent prayer, keep a small place of remembrance in my heart and move onward. Ever onward.

Banting and Best, the Gutenberg press, the moonwalk, Louis Pasteur, Victor Borge -- a world bursting with miracles and mirth. They, and a million other wonders deserve my attention.
As Lennon put it, "In my life, I've loved them all."


  1. "Choose sanity" I can't think of a better motto. Thanks, Carol.

  2. My birthday's december 9. But around this season I feel as if I'm in a space capsule which will re-enter late January.

  3. Dear Zan Marie,

    Glad you liked it! Sorry for the late reply. Life in December -- EGADS!!

  4. Dear Birthday Boy,

    Your birthday falls in with a group of interesting and talented folk, like, like, well...Frank Sinatra, for one. I think his was the 12th.
    All I know for sure, having had a mother-in-law with a December 15th birthday, is I never met a Saggitarian who wasn't generous to a fault.

    Hope you had a lovely day, Jack -- at least your birthday isn't so close to December 25th...heh. I have two friends who have always gotten the short end of the gift stick when it comes to celebrations.

  5. Because my parents were "lazy" but generous, I often got a cash gift, which helped in this chilly, usually work-free period.