To be fair in any proceeding I try look with as fresh of a perspective as I can. I then try to gain every iota of information I can. I listen to every perspective, and whatever decision I come to I accept as temporary until I discover more information. After that I put it in my brain with all the other informed decisions I’ve made. There comes to be a problem when I open that box and find that many issues hold more similarities than not.

Benign Singularly…

          Some time ago I was helping tend to grounds that had some livestock on it. One night in corralling ducks into their pen, the count was off. One was apparently missing. As they would occasionally find a favorable place and choose to nest there for the night I didn’t think much of it. Over the next day I did sporadic checks. When they still came up short I began checking for signs of predators. The grounds were soft from rains, but there had been enough that I thought that anything I was looking for may have been washed away. I couldn’t find anything. A few days carry on and I am certain the duck was lost.
          About a week after the initial incident, the count is one short again. I went through the same process. However, I widened my search and was more meticulous in looking for any sign. Still, I came up with nothing. But I knew that the ducks wouldn’t have just disappeared. Some time later someone who regularly tended to the animals got in touch with me. Out of a flock of about thirteen, only five or six remained.

          In all of this, I could not definitively prove that there was a predator. I saw no tracks. No broken fences or barriers. It could have been a fox, wolf, or large predator cat. Could have been a person or a neighbors’ dog. Or they could have just walked off. And when it was only one duck, I didn’t have much to go on. There were a number of circumstance that could have account for one missing duck. However, once a handful had gone missing that was circumstantial enough to blame a predator of some type even if I didn’t know what I was dealing with.

…Dangerous in Aggregate

          When I wrote my article regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline last year I zoomed in and researched that construction project specifically. I gained insight into what led up to it, although nothing I read tipped the scales of my conclusion. I have noticed in the present day that the majority of issues are discussed in this manner. I think this is a good thing. It is time consuming, yes. To know the unique aspects of any given scenario and to craft an equally unique judgment is difficult. And there are so many problems in the modern world. However, to find lasting solutions, I think this is best.
          It is shortsighted to dust off our hands after each instance. As I looked into the latest construction methods of pipelines, I began to see all the problems that plague them even today. On top of that, I discovered that there is an acceptable leaking threshold for pipelines and rigs. We do not have a single apparatus, but hundreds. Some have leaked for over a decade.

          This is the heart of the latter half of the phrase means. There is an adage regarding bundled sticks being stronger together. A dry twig easily snaps. Together they are strong. A debatable point is if there is enough durability to do some damage.

          This phrase is not to say that each event on its own is not harmful. We cannot and should not ignore individual hardships and tragedies. We should do all we can to alleviate suffering after the fact. But we should not actively contain each circumstance unto itself. We need to admit to the common traits and try to fix them.

          When I have experiences all on my own, and then hear that someone who lives far away and differently than I have a similar story, it’s like scientists when they independently confirm lab results. The results have some heft because they can be replicated. Since I aim to understand everything, I come to realize what contributes to my individual instances. Due to this I laugh and make light of what happens in my own life, and hold each person to the highest individual standards possible just as I do myself. At the end of the day I will always hold a person responsible for their actions no matter what led to it. I live by my opinion of there always being Choice.

          The reason I feel so strongly about issues of race presently is because, for the first time in my life, I find myself swapping stories with other people of color. I used to count my experiences as singular to me. However, many times I hear about experiences similar to my own. When we all live our lives above reproach it is disheartening to hear we are still held in suspicion. What I once was able to write off as “just my problem”, and thus benign, I have learned is dangerous since I am not alone in the experience.


          Putting an upper limit on the number of stand alone incidents before reacting is the only reasonable course of action I can think of. I think that five or six would be fair. If you need a whole hand to count out the times something has happened, you’ve got a handful of problems to address. It is varied enough to warrant study with enough instances that, though different, common threads can be found.
          This is not a hard rule. If we have proof that someone killed another we don’t need to wait for them to find another four victims. The point is to look at each situation under its own merits, or lack thereof. And, if we can find similar patterns leading to the end result, change what feeds into the pattern. Whether it is community action or federal legislative inititive, our action should at least prevent the aggitating event from ever happening again.


          I admit that I have grown weary. Keeping my pulse on current events feels like keeping up with a cop drama. Every week there is a new bad guy, a new murder to solve, and a new high-stakes situation to overcome. Often times, these are all different plot threads that need their own screen time. Sadly, it seems that resolving the problems takes a back seat to character development and exposition. I don’t feel like I’m on the protagonist team. I feel like an off camera extra in a dimly lit bar.
          I am a civilian. I’ve never joined law enforcement. I’ve never been a part of the military. I do not wish to ensconce myself in the problems of others. America is my home and the only country I know. The suffering that happens daily in this country is my fight. I’ve put down my swords in exchange for pens. I am singular. I may be benign. But if I can inspire change together with people that may disagree with me I will take that over being dangerous any day of the week.