This quote always comes to my mind when, after a great tragedy in this country, the conversation turns to finger-pointing blame and assumptions that "if we just did this one thing, nothing like this would ever happen again."
This country has puzzled me since 1960, when I belatedly began to think. Where did we get the idea that we are entitled to be pain free and worry free, that accidents must always be someone's fault, that all cancers should be gotten in time, that babies should be born flawless, and that death could be relegated to the back burner? What is the implicit idea about being human here?... Under the rock of every fear is the refusal to accept the contractual conditions of being human. I don't know why I came into the world or where I will go when I boil over on the back burner, but I know that I was born into a condition of radical instability...The only way to overcome fear is to accept without equivocation the worst it can propose, belay your ropes, and step across the next crevasse. We have no choice, anyway, about stepping.
- The Love of Impermanent Things by Mary Rose O'Reilley
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things I think could be done to improve our current situation. But the idea that we can somehow take all the risk out of life (which is destined to end in death no matter what we do) feels like starting the conversation with a lie.