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People are Mostly Good

March 15, 2019

Horrible news from New Zealand this morning. Another tragic, terrible mass shooting, people dead, families devastated. As I try to wrap my mind and heart around this senseless violence, I brace for the news cycle and social media storm to come. Long experience tells me that I will soon be seeing irrational statements about human nature (“other people’s nature”) that just aren’t true. I am sure these statements are already circulating, but I’m in no rush to read them. “People (others) are bad.” “Violence is more common than it was in the good old days.” “Civilization is hanging by a thread.” “The world in general is a terribly risky place.” “Humankind is doomed.” Bad things do happen, but these opinions are not grounded in reality.

I’ve thought about risk while preparing for this ride. I’m aware I may be yelled at, crowded off the road, run over, robbed, etc. It’s human nature to look for evidence of risk and to focus on avoiding, reducing or eliminating bad outcomes. We are very good at preparing for danger, so good that we sometimes overlook the massive preponderance of evidence that people are generally cooperative, helpful and good to each other. Day-to-day human goodness doesn’t dominate the media because it just isn’t news. Imagine headlines that read: “Woman Pays her Taxes,” “Liberal Gives Accurate Directions to Out-of-Town Conservative,” “Man Carefully Drives RV to Arizona — No Cyclists Injured,” or “99.99% of All Stores Were Not Robbed Today.” Boring, forgettable, everyday experience. All over the world, billions of us look after each other every single day.

I am heartbroken over the tragedy in New Zealand and I want this kind of violence ended. But this doesn’t change my perception of the world as a good place, nor my expectation that Jax and I will meet a lot of good people on this ride. K9s for Warriors depends on those good people to accomplish their mission: save a dog, save a human. Please help if you can.

Video: Jax seems to bring out the best in people.

From → Before the Trip

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