29 June 2013

Ruminating After News of a Young Man's Death

"However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light." - Stanley Kubrick

I've written here about the death of an acquaintance a friend and a brother. Now a former student. Dante died yesterday of cancer at the age of 22.

Come on seriously? 22 years old is next to nothing. My younger daughter is that age. In fact she was a classmate of his in elementary school so I knew Dante as a little kid well before he was a teen in my middle school classroom. Oldest daughter and Dante's big sister are good friends. Dante was a kind of a dorky kid who during high school suddenly became -- according to older daughter -- cool. I saw him at his high school graduation. He was tall and handsome and athletic. He had beaten cancer. The first time.

I've known several people who've beaten it once. But part two can be a different matter.

When I found out a few months ago that the cancer had not only returned but that Dante's condition was terminal I wrote a former colleague who'd also had Dante in the classroom. This bloke is a christian. He said that he'd pray for god to comfort the family. If god were really interested in comforting the family why the fuck did he give him inoperable cancer in the first place? And what kind of god need to prayed to before he comforts the bereaved? Shouldn't this just be automatic for an all powerful deity? And how the hell do you comfort parents when they lose a son? What comforts them? Christians really piss me off sometimes. The god they have created out of whole cloth is a capricious bastard and why anyone would worship him is beyond me. And praying to him? Admit it. That's just a way for people in a powerless situation to feel like they're doing something.

Okay I'll cop to the fact that I'm dealing with some anger here. I have a pretty good life right now. But I've seen some real nasty unfairness done to others like Dante. You can't follow the news without seeing all manner of injustice being perpetrated on people either by other people or the forces of nature or by killer diseases. And my goodness a cursory look through history...wars torture slavery famine oppression and don't get me started on the holocaust.

It is a crazy angry cruel world and people are constantly getting their hearts ripped out and fed to them. If people want to pretend there's some higher power at work in all of this they are certainly entitled. I'm not going to debate with them and I respect their rights. I'm just damned sick of hearing about it. I'm especially fed up with those zero intellects who want to impose their old testament values on the laws of the land. Using Leviticus to make laws is a slippery slope at best. If you're going to use it to argue against gay marriage (we're talking people in congress) you ought to be ready to employ the rest of that biblical book and ban planting two crops in the same field garments made of two different kinds of thread males cutting the hair around their temples the touching of dead pig kin and eating shellfish. Why just pick out homosexuality? Because you find it icky? (You do realize many of the loonies who tout the bible are some of the same assholes who tout the NRA. The scriptures and guns are strange bedfellows but then war and violence have been freely employed by bible thumpers for centuries.)

Yeah so I'm pissed off that Dante was snatched from friends and family at such a tender age. Just as I was when a favorite student -- Gabe -- died of cancer. He hadn't even finished high school. Hug your children. Hug your parents. Hug your friends. Hug your pets. Life is fragile. Savor the good times. Cherish them and those around you. If you really feel prayer will help others or yourself -- go for it. I just don't want to hear about it.

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