Neighbor kills neighbor. Don’t worry, though. They will pay for what they’ve done. Especially if they hate the inconvenience of annoying paperwork, attending a couple of hearings and paying a fine. That’s more than sufficient punishment for killing a fellow human being, right?
What is a society? My definition is a system where people make decisions that impact the safety of others. More and more it seems like that’s the only definition that matters.
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History is written by the victors.
–Winston S. Churchill
I have this personal pet theory. It goes a little something like this:
What do I mean by this? It’s time for a tale of hungry dogs, drowning by garden hose, buxom secretaries, altered birth certificates and who’s car is parked next door.
When one is an atheist in small town conservative America, one learns to play things close to the vest. Maybe later, after getting to know someone, the truth may be divulged. But it is known that premature sharing comes with a significant amount of risk. It’s a lovely place where the wrong bumper sticker will get your car keyed.
One company in that small town, named after a biblical location no less, asked about my religious beliefs during a job interview. That was my first clue that the game was afoot.
Later, when applying for another job in that same small town, my due diligence ended up freaking me out. I didn’t particularly get a good feeling from my research and, thanks to the internet, learned the owners of the company were flamboyantly religious. I was on a quest to get out of the frying pan and into the fire, so naturally I didn’t let this slow me down.
Despite shouting his religion for all to see, the man was one of the most unethical business people I’d ever met. And that’s saying a lot. He was no slouch. Yet there he was, up on the high ground, at least in his mind, looking down his nose at everyone else. Compensate much?
When office discourse finally turned to matters of politics and religion, I defiantly let fly with my disclosures. His reaction was one of thoughtfulness and class. “Atheist, eh? I have a question. Why don’t you kill people?”
Although flabbergasted by the audacity, I still think I handled it with style and aplomb, especially considering the source. “You don’t kill people because God forbids it,” I said. “I don’t kill people because I choose not to. It’s my decision.”
Right and wrong. Good and evil. Yin and yang. Night and day. Black and white. Betamax and VHS. DVD and Blue-ray.
But now, after assessing more empirical data, I now think, perhaps, I was a bit hasty. It’s time to bust out with yet another theory. I got a million of ’em.
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Then, finally, just before it was our turn, everything went sideways. Right on cue. The car to our right that was supposed to go next just sat there, not going and stuff.
All motion stopped. Suddenly we were engulfed in a dead calm. It was surreal. Somewhere a bald eagle screeched. I heard the shake of a rattlesnake’s tail. A chicken clucked. A fly buzzed. A tumbleweed drifted through the intersection.
All heads turned and everyone stared at the idiot. What the hell was going on we collectively wondered.
Then, with a start, the car leaped forward. Like my dad used to say, “Put it in ‘L’ for Lunge.” In a grand elegant arc the car made its left turn and aimed right at me. “Oh my God,” I whispered breathlessly into my crash helmet. “One bogey passing on the left.”
And then I saw it. There, behind the wheel, a woman was driving with one hand, had an abominable phone pressed against her face, and was gesturing wildly with the other.
She was talking on a phone!
My brain quickly calculated the meaning. Why, that’s supposed to be illegal now! This criminal had just ruined the four-way stop dream of perfection for all of us. Veins popped out on my forehead in a full relief map in the shape of Florida. My hands gestured, too, and with every force of my being, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “We’re trying to live in a society here!”
I think it was right around then that I had my epiphany. I’m willing to share it with you now. Obeying the law is for suckers.
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