Yesterday, various news outlets reported an incident of road rage where a grandmother out to do some holiday shopping with her three-year old grandchild was accosted by another driver who said grandma was driving too slowly. The irate “speedy” driver whipped out a gun and shot the three-year old.
Was this an instance of insanity? Was the driver on drugs or alcohol? Had the driver with the gun been subjected to a background check before he obtained the gun? Was this a hate crime? Over the next few weeks we will discover the details, but at this point the incident makes about as much sense as the actions of “outraged” drivers around here, some armed with weapons, who are always in a hurry.
David and I both drive fairly slowly, me because I have always been a cautious driver, David because he has had a few issues with accidents or near accidents lately.
Why hurry anywhere? We are all headed toward the cemetery in the end.
Piedtype.com, a retired editor, (link above) posted a very well thought out diagram of the relative political positions of the various media. Check it out and let me know what you think.
This month, I finished reading Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance and Evicted by Matthew Desmond. Earlier this year, I read Listen Liberal by Frank Thomas and WhiteTrash by Nancy Isenberg. All these books describe the underclass in our country, whether Back or White, and several have been touted as “explaining” why some would “vote against their own self interst” by voting for Trump.
Although Vance refers to the white people in his story as Scots-Irish, he is making a gross generalization. Appalachian hill people are the descendants of immigrants from all over the UK and northern Europe. A large proportion tell census takers they are Scots and Irish, but they are an intermixed people who are also the descendents of the German settlers Thomas Jefferson admired, runaway slaves and servants of differing backgrounds, and indigenous people (many Cherokee) of the Appalachian area.
Listen Liberal, a political analysis of our times, and WhiteTrash, a history, focus on disaffected people from the lowest order of our society. Evicted covers the urban subset of this population.
Each of these books describes people Sociologists have studied for a long time. Their individual stories are sad, but I ask, how much of their misery is the result of extenuating circumstances like greedy landlords and overly zealous developers, and how much because of the majority of them don’t make an effort to help themselves?
Vance extracted himself from a horrendous situation and bettered his own life, partly because others took an interest in him and offered a hand up, but mostly because of his own efforts.
My conclusion: social programs like health care, housing vouchers and food stamps, as well as public education are necessary, but so are rules against exploitation in its various forms (exhorbitant rents and payday loans). Most important is personal responsibility.
Today, I am returning to reading mysteries, specifically, the Kurt Wallender series. Oh dear, Kurt is fretting about the collapse of society in Sweden.