The man in the van

To celebrate life is the catch phrase at many funerals and aptly applied in the Toronto attack, where a frustrated madman mowed down people for 16 blocks with a van.

There was no prejudice. Muslim, Christian, spiritualists, black, white, yellow or red, it didn’t matter. What it has done has set bigotry aside and has brought diverse factions together as equals in the shared embrace of grief and love.

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Mainstream intolerance, entitlement, greed and indiscriminate prejudice are the glaring dangers our present dog eat dog culture encourages. In too many ways, this culture of conflict has vaulted a few people to the power positions of Earth, leaving the mass remainder of humanity to beg for the scraps. This selfishness incessantly undermines man’s born qualities of sharing and caring.

The man in the van, energized by demeaning social labelling such as sexual loser, is not alone. He shares demeaning social stigma with increasing numbers of prospective individual vigilantes that can willingly self-sacrifice, to emphasize their frustrations in our dysfunctional system’s hierarchy and artificial measurements of acceptance.

That measurement, based mainly on the possession of wealth, power, prestige and appearance, condemns most of the world to substandard existence and the subsequent search either to improve their lot in life, give up totally or publicly display their frustrations.

Consequently, there is the obvious growth of either mass migrations of humans trying to escape environmental, economic or military turmoil, or acts of random violence that are sensationalized when they attract media attention.

Yes, I’m saying the very basis of our artificial, manmade value system is dangerously flawed and leading us down a very unpredictable, painful path. Intolerance, condemnation of innocent scapegoats and undemocratic concentration of power were the basis of Nazi philosophy that developed into the Holocaust that was the last world war, and we are well on our way to World War 3 under the same philosophy today.

So I say we celebrate the lives taken or forever changed by the man in the van because it has empowered the diversity of its victims to come together in recognition that love, sharing and community are those natural, automatic human staples that should and could, with courage, dictate the basis of our world’s value system.

 

Greg Chatterson

Fort San, Sask.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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