In the movie "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" there is a scene where Arnold (the now good terminator) and John Connor (the future hero) are watching as two very young boys are playing at a gas station. The play turns to an argument, with toy guns being "fired" and John, noticing that Arnold is somberly taking it all in, says "We're not going to make it, are we?" To which Arnold intones "It is in your nature to destroy each other."
The point of that moment in the movie, and of the movie itself, is analogous to recent events.
Sarah Connor's voice-over at the end of the movie is also appropriate. "If a machine can learn the value of human life, maybe we can to." Maybe.
Of course, the most significant things we can do, from now on, are to be individual examples of right living.
Because "bottom up" movements are the only ones that achieve great lasting benefit.
It took first one American refusing to pay a tax, then others followed and later all were released from this oppression. It took first one Indian who decided to weave his own clothes and make his own salt, then others followed and in time all earned the right (and responsibility) of self-government.
Well today I confronted this necessity, in running across someone who's behavior saddened me.
This person, a fellow Canadian, no doubt angered by recent events, but apparently unaware of the forces at work inside of him, caused a series of negative events to occur, as follows:
Background: For the past 3 weeks I have been walking my 80-year-old neighbor's two dogs, on her request. A modest activity, but Sparkle (a tiny poodle) and Maggie (an equally tiny, but much more elderly 16-year old French bulldog who is almost totally deaf, fully blind in one eye and can only discern shadows in the other) have become so enthusiastic and energized by these daily excursions that my neighbor increased her previously offered rate, became speechless and moved to tears several times, and even introduced me to family members who "wanted to shake my hand".
In short, a good thing for all concerned.
Today the dogs and I followed the usual route at the usual time, and had soon trotted the short block to the park.
Before entering the park, I noticed at the other end of the park's main field a man with his dog, a german shepherd. He was throwing a hard ball quite a distance and the dog was racing after it, returning the ball a moment or two later.
The dog was obviously not leashed.
I was concerned by this, so headed tangentially away from this area as fast as eight little feet could step. Just as I was nearing the edge of this field area, and was about to go down a hill that would have put us out of sight, the dog appeared right next to us. I had not even seen it approach. It had broken loose from its "master" and raced across a 75 yard field in just a few seconds.
I was immediately concerned for the safety of the two dogs. The shepherd loomed over Maggie, and I was concerned the shepherd might become aggressive. Had it done so, Maggie would have died at the first bite, or possibly from a heart attack.
I tried to "shoo" the dog, but nothing happened. The "master" tried to call but had no effect on the dog. I tried again, but nothing happened. Finally I put my foot on the dog's rear and pushed. The dog moved a foot or two, then just came back.
I noted at the time that it had not yelped, so I knew that I had not hurt it.
Of course, I had not intended to hurt it.
Several more shooing attempts followed, and then finally, for some unknown reason, the dog ran away.
I immediately resumed walking the dogs away.
I hadn't gone five steps when I heard an angry voice. It was in sharp stark contrast to the beauty and peacefulness of the park. Looking to my left I saw the man, shouting from the near side of the field, "You didn't have to kick my dog!"
I was staggered by this response, but politely, prudently and diplomatically called out "I wasn't trying to hurt it." And moved on with the dogs, down their usual hill. A minute later, at the bottom, I was quite surprised to hear, and see, the man, half way down the hill and now just fifty feet away from me.
He repeated his remark about what I didn't have to do. I explained to him that I did not intend to hurt his dog, and expanded on my own defense by saying that I did not know what his dog was capable of and so I had acted in defense of my dogs and myself.
He did not accept this. I tried to point out the age of Maggie, and of my neighbor, and all he did was scoff at this, saying that if I was afraid of my dog suffering a heart attack then I should not bring it to the park.
I pointed out to him that he was breaking the law by having his dog off a leash. He scoffed again. In fact, he was so defiant of this that he *encouraged* me to do something about it. I said "I would, but you are probably afraid to give me your telephone number." He said he wasn't, and gave it to me!
Eventually this sitation ended without physical violence. The fact that the "master" did not attack me was perhaps anti-climatic. But it was still damaging.
Something beautiful was lost today and an otherwise normal human being took a mis-step down a long, dark negative path...and all because of his dog! What on Earth would he have done for a dollar, or property?
Part of what gave Sarah Connor hope at the end of "Terminator 2" was when Arnold, the good terminator, just before he destroyed his own war machine body, said:
"I know now why you cry."
Maybe all this "master" needed to prevent his mis-step was a good cry.
But the rest of us have already done this, and now we must move on. From the bottom up.
[Footnote: In the three months I have walked the dogs, I had never seen this "master" or his dog before, or since. It appears he thought he could give his dog a year's worth of care and attention in single trip to the park. Another mis-step.]