Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crime changes things

My friend Jason wrote a great post commemorating the tenth anniversary of being mugged in Washington, DC. On the surface, that might sound like something best forgotten. I disagree.

The post recounts the details, which in itself I find fascinating, since I’ve never experienced anything like it. But what I found most moving was his take on the effects of the crime:

From time to time I still get nervous around groups of [young] African-American men. I try not to let it bother me but it still does. And it bothers me that this still bothers me. I’ve always tried to judge people on who they are not what they are.

I’ve known Jason since we were nine or ten years old, and I can attest that he’s about the least racist person I know. “It bothers me that this still bothers me.” I know it does.

But the other thing that fascinates me is the larger things the crime set in motion. It forced him to move, as it would many people. This eventually led him to buy his first house. He concludes…

So it is strange how one very, very bad event changed my life. And not all of those changes were bad.

That struck me because it’s so often true: Even bad things can cause good results. That doesn’t make the bad things better, but maybe it means there really are good things that come out of every bad things, like we’ve so often been told.And to extrapolate (in a way that even Jason may appreciate) maybe that means America will emerge better after the nightmare of the Bush/Cheney years. The ability to hope, I think, may be the greatest talent humans have.

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