Thursday, October 15, 2009

He is safe! Now what?

The balloon boy has been found safe hiding in a box in the garage attic. Obviously I am overjoyed as I am sure is every normal person. But this moves us to the next question. What should happen to the little creep who riveted several hundred million people here and around the world and caused the mobilization of half the state of Colorado to rescue him? Vote in the poll in the side bar or leave your more personal recommendations in the comments section below.

1 comment:

Reader Michael said...

I voted "No XBox for a week."

I think we need to lighten up on the boy. He's only 6 years old. What seems to have happened was that he was playing around in the yard, accidentally cut the balloon loose, then hid in the attic because he was afraid of getting in trouble. This is common 6-year-old behavior. If he had been in his teens, I would have a different view.

I don't think the stampede which followed can be laid at his doorstep, or even at his parents'. The cause for that must be sought elsewhere. I was born, and spent the first 43 years of my life, in the U.S. I moved overseas 10 years ago for a number of reasons. The most important was a disturbing trend, which I first noticed in the mid-1980's, of recurring "moral panics." With the McMartin "Little Rascals" case, all of a sudden any man who worked with small children was assumed to be a pedophile. I don't know if you are old enough to remember the Salem-witch-hunt hysteria of that period, but I felt like a branded man, simply because of my gender. I declined offers to help in my then-church's Sunday School, for that reason.

At first, I assumed that this sort of thing would blow over, like the McCarthy period in the 1950's. However, it never did. For the last quarter of a century, the American public has continuously stampeded from one "moral panic" to another, like so many head of spooked cattle. When the Clinton White House started demonizing political libertarians and Constitutionalists, I could see that the hysterical, stampeding herd was about to thunder in my direction. So, I got out of the way. Way, way out of the way!

Our sensationalist, "info-tainment" media only serves to exacerbate this trend. Now, people are screeching for Child Protective Services to investigate the family! All because a small kid accidentally set off a balloon!

As my fellow Serbian parishioners would say, "Sramota!" Fifty years ago, people did not routinely act this way. I remember the things my brother and I used to do when we were small. We were taught to use rifles and shotguns when we were 11 and 12 years old. Any parent who does this nowadays would probably go to jail.

We need to lay off this family, and start examining our own tendency to over-react and "lose it" at the drop of a hat. If we don't wish to be driven and exploited like cattle by our ruling classes, then we need to stop acting that way.

I do not have a TV set in my house, and I shun mainstream media websites, for this reason. I know what they are about, and I refuse to deliberately expose myself to media whose purpose is to emotionally manipulate me. Furthermore, when I do encounter any kind of emotionally over-laden input, I deliberately refuse to respond immediately. Obviously, these are only first steps. Prayer is the next step. The more we truly pray, the less easily shaken and blown about we are.

I remember author Thomas Cahill pointing out, that St. Patrick converted many Irish not so much by his preaching, as by his fearless serenity. The things which spooked the Irish did not rattle him at all. That was because Patrick was a true man of prayer. I, myself, have plenty of work to do in that regard.

Reader Michael Martin
Auckland, New Zealand