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A different view

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Published on: Thursday, November 01, 2012

By Brian J. Karem

Monday afternoon I covered a fatality.

It is not the first time I’ve covered either an accident fatality or murder or victim of some other gruesome event.

I’ve covered hundreds of them. Some of them contained poignant events seared into my mind that constantly tell me of the complexities of life and its inherently fragile nature.

Each one has left me thanking the deity that it wasn’t me at the other end of the camera or that my name wasn’t being written down in some reporter’s notebook.

“Hack writer presumed dead,” always strikes me as the headline I wouldn’t get to see – with apologies to Garry Trudeau and Duke.

As for this particular fatality, a 66-year-old Montgomery County woman lost her life when a truck driven by a 19-year-old man struck her car nearly head-on near Brink Road on the Rockville Pike, or State Road 355 if you prefer, near Clarksburg.

With the amount of rain in the area due to Hurricane Sandy, it wasn’t hard to guess the rain had something to do with the accident.

I was left wondering what this woman’s last thoughts were. It was raining and it was windy. Did she worry about her family? Did she think that any moment she’d be home and make lunch for her husband? Was she angry, happy, sad or laughing about a joke she just heard.

I hope that was it.

Then Wednesday morning, a 15-year-old girl walking to school was struck down by a passing motorist near Seneca Valley High School.

This too left me wondering, but even more so. What did the world lose? What could this young lady have accomplished, had she been given the chance?  Did she care about science? Could she have made a valuable contribution to our knowledge of the Universe? Perhaps she’d work for NASA, land on Mars or maybe she liked music and would write a song the world could enjoy. 

Maybe she’d have been a good mother. 

Invariably this led me to thinking about the damage brought about by Hurricane Sandy.

While we in the Washington D.C. Metro area only suffered a glancing blow from this historic storm, others suffered greatly.

There was property damage, loss of life, loss of livelihood and some simply lost a place to sleep because of this big behemoth.

Meanwhile, some questioned whether or not this storm was “punishment from God.”

I’m not kidding.

One preacher down south even blamed the storm on “gays” and the lesbian-gay community.

On Facebook, where every moron in the world has an opinion and is readily disposed to preach it to you, people got angry with President Obama for being too quick to respond to the storm, got angry with Mitt Romney for helping out in the storm and some even said the storm was a conspiracy by the government to disrupt lives on the east coast.

I never thought I’d say this, but I long for the days of limited access to media so at least someone could exercise some caution, restraint and fact-finding before putting pen to paper or opening a mouth and inserting both feet.

For the record, God didn’t “punish” us because we have gay people in the United States. The HARP electric experiments didn’t create the storm and give Obama and Romney a break.

At the very least both of those men seem to be more level-headed than most of their followers.

It is frightening to me and ultimately very disturbing that people are so exceedingly ignorant – not you of course – you’re reading this column.

But it’s “those people” out there who believe that with the immense expanse of the Universe at his command, the deity would give a flying fig about the east coast of the United States on a backwater planet buried on one spiral arm of an average galaxy among all the millions of other galaxies in the cosmos. 

It’s “those people” who believe in conspiracies and believe everyone is as shallow and conspiratorial minded as they are who really unnerve me.

God must really be small minded if we are to believe “those people.”

Today there are two families in our community dealing with an unexpected and tragic loss.

What a different world it would be if we cared more about those things than the ultimately comic tragedy of our own prejudices.

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