I'm sure everyone has read about the carnage that took place in Santa Monica this afternoon. I go to the 3rd Street Promenade all the time, and it's hard to imagine such an awful thing happening so close to home, at a place I can easily visualize in my mind's eye: 3rd and Arizona.
Please don't read the rest of this post the wrong way. I'm really pissed off at the old man driving the car, Russell Weller, and I'm pissed off that "he hugged and smiled at people who picked him up from the police station." How dare he?
But I'm scared, too, not that I could be hit by a crazy driver, but that somehow, some way, it could have been me driving that car. It could have been me responsible for taking 8 lives, and possibly ruining hundreds more. I don't have any idea what caused the driver to do what he did, maybe he just figured Arizona Ave. was open like it is 6 days a week, maybe his foot slipped, maybe he's old and senile -- any of those things could happen to me some day.
In a totally different situation, I felt similarly about Saddam and his murderous thugs. I consider myself a pretty good person, but I see evil inside my soul sometimes. If I had been Saddam's son, would I have had the moral clarity to shoot my dad in the back of the head at the first opportunity, or would I have had a merry old time reaping the fruits of oppression? Murder, theft, rape, torture -- we all have the slightest inkling in the back of our heads from time to time, but we push it away and avert our gaze. But it's there, inside each one of us.
God help me not to live 86 good years and then commit such an atrocity.