December 28th, 2004

Blaming the victims

I came across this story headlined: "Human activities contributed to tsunami's ravages: environmental expert."

Anyway, the human "contribution" to the disaster seems to be that they were in the path of the killer wave.   "Animals are smart enough to move," is his snide remark.

"Don't live in the path
Of Nature's wrath"
Warns the ecologist,
A self-appointed apologist
For the latest killing spree
Of his great green deity.

If an asteroid hits
And blows him to bits,
I'll be tempted to say
Well, he got in its way,
So its deadly assault,
Is really his fault.

Some readers wrote in to debunk some of the ecologist's particular claims.

Charles Tomlinson

My friend, Charles Tomlinson, has passed away.  I miss him already.

There's a scene in one of the early Star Wars movies, where one of the characters telepathically senses the destruction of a planet, and feels a loss in the Force.  It's not telepathy, and it's just one man, but that's what I feel right now.

My heart goes out to his wife, Susanna, and all the rest of his wonderful family.

A couple of years ago, he wrote a great piece about facing death.  Among many other things he wrote:

"I have long considered that we are all immortal in that our actions, our souls, affect those around us throughout our lives and after, in small but important ways. Like dropping pebbles in a pond, we leave ripples. Those ripples can and will spread in ways we can never predict and with results we could never expect. When mixed with the ripples from others, they may help create a raging tempest or act to calm the waters. We can never know the final results of our lives, but this view of immortality does provide motivation to try to build as fine a soul as we are capable of constructing. When life is almost over we can relax, which is all we have energy to do anyway, and hope that our soul construction will give solace to some, help to others, and maybe insight to a few. When life ceases, the construction is over, but the ripples continue."

Charles was a man of many ripples.  One of his more unusual ripples was his effect on the struggle for freedom in Belarus, by means of his impact on Jaroslav Romanchuk.  In this interview, Jaroslav explains how he met the Tomlinsons when he was their tour guide and how they introduced him to the works of Ayn Rand.  He describes Charles and his wife as his "Randfather" and "Randmother"! 

Sigh. I think Hamlet's words about his own father apply:

He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.