Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Power of the Subconscious Mind
For the past several days I've been struggling with a sense of fear and sadness. Until yesterday I couldn't pin it down to anything specific. Then I read a newspaper article that brought it all back. It was five years ago this month that two snipers terrorized the Washington, D.C. area. They randomly killed 10 people; ten men and women they didn't know, who had done nothing to them and whose families and friends were left in shock and unimaginable anguish. The entire region suffered with them and feared for our own lives. Taking advice from law enforcement, we didn't linger outdoors, in parking lots or at gas stations, trying to keep a car between us and an unknown assailant's bullet. We walked a stooped, zig-zag path to get into grocery stores and avoided unnecessary trips away from home. There was a pall of tension that hung over the region until the snipers were finally caught in an almost serendipitous way. My mind tries to disengage from memories like this, but sometimes my subconscious mind thwarts that. As soon as the sniper memories flowed, the faces of several young adults from Sarajevo (in the former Yugoslavia) came to mind. Years ago, I'd arranged a debriefing for an American Red Cross committee I worked with to get first hand insights on the on-going tragedy in that historic, beautiful, old city. The savagery of shellings and sniper attacks on civilians trying to fulfill basic human needs for food and water was incomprehensible. Each one of these young men and one woman had witnessed friends and family killed. One man told of his best friend being hit by a mortar while both took cover in adjacent doorways. It's not a huge leap to imagine the same things happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can't help but wonder how humans have evolved the capacity to carry-out such atrocities against fellow humans. At one time the four Geneva Conventions were honored, thus saving lives, human dignity, history, infrastructures, and so much more. Waging war also is expensive, so putting limits on damages saves money. Is there simply too much money to be made by the industries that feed conflict and aid in the recovery? I don't want to believe it, but . . .