After forty-five plus years working and the resulting work-place restrictions on my personal freedoms and decision making, the freedom I’ve acquired in retirement is very important to me. To maintain this freedom, I’ve developed a couple of strategies to keep from killing people, and thereby, avoid incarceration. There are other reasons I want to keep from killing people (killing people is bad), but I’m going to focus here on avoiding incarceration. Specifically, I’m going to focus on how I keep from killing people by accident (or due to my own stupidity), and how I keep from killing people due to anger (which frankly, is also due to stupidity).
Here in Albuquerque, there’s a lot of killing. Lots of those killings are due to stupid anger, and stupid accidents. I don’t want to get caught up in those trends, so I wondered if I couldn’t come up with some anti-killing-people strategies. One of the strategies I’m adopting is not to drink and drive. I did not come up with this one on my own. There is plenty of evidence in New Mexico (memorials along the roadsides) that are testimony to the danger of killing people as a result of drinking and driving, so it’s a good idea not to drink and drive. At a much less significant level, I also say out loud the color of the traffic light I’m approaching. When I say “green” I go. When I say “red” I stop, and when I say “yellow” I usually slow down (much to the dismay of whomever is behind me) and stop. Sometimes I don’t say “yellow” but rather, “I’m gonna go.” Yellow is really tricky when it comes to not killing people. I also avoid doing things that involve electricity and power tools, because one of the people I’m trying to avoid accidentally killing, is me.
Anger is truly a stupid reason to kill someone. I read in my local paper, an article about some teenage boys who, after being kicked out of a party, returned and shot three people. The reason they gave for the shooting, was that they had been disrespected. I don’t find shooting people very respectable (able to be respected) behavior, so I see why they may have been “disrespected.” I don’t own a gun, so I can’t shoot someone if I get angry with them (I also put down shovels and other heavy tools and remove myself from the general vicinity of people with whom I’m angry). I haven’t killed anyone, so I think lack of access to firearms and discriminate use of heavy tools are good strategies to keep from killing people. Also, we probably shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. If someone treats us in a manner we find offensive, leave that person’s company, and then don’t return (with or without a gun) until no longer angry.
While I’m on the topic of stupid reasons to kill people, another stupid reason to kill someone is the fear of having that person reveal something we would rather not be revealed about ourselves. I’ve read more than one account of this happening. What happens next? The killer gets caught. The thing they didn’t want revealed is revealed at a much higher, widespread level (like on the evening news and in local newspapers) than an individual could have managed, and the killer is incarcerated. So pretty much EVERYONE knows what they didn’t want ANYONE to know, plus the whole “now you’re a killer” thing. Killing people really reflects badly on the killer. So, how do I avoid this? I write a blog, telling everyone who reads the blog, the stupid things I’ve done; thereby, avoiding the fear of exposure. Some character flaws (like overuse of parenthetical statements) are apparent, and don’t require that I spell them out (hopefully correctly – I find misspelled words and hypocrisy irritating).
I will summarize, with bullet points (a holdover from my days of employment), how I keep from killing people:
- Don’t drink and drive
- Say out loud the color of the traffic light I’m approaching and then behave appropriately
- Remove myself from the vicinity of people with whom I’m angry, and implements of destruction, until no longer angry
- Don’t play with electricity or power tools
- Allow people to say what they want about me
- Don’t take myself too seriously
I’m sitting in my She Shed, listening to the music of my youth (James Taylor, Elton John, etc.). Having a She Shed, and listening to music are also great ways to keep from killing people. Life is good. Don’t kill people.