Why give thanks?

Staff Columnist

When turkey assumes the ascendant,

Fish and piglets have nothing to fear.

We give thanks for the bounties of nature

And the freedoms we all hold so dear;

So be grateful for all that we treasure,

And resolve to remain of good cheer.


Fact:  Next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day.

Fact:  Longboat Key is an earthly paradise for retirees.

Fact:  The median age for Longboaters is 73.

Let’s face it.  For many of today’s population, the first emotion on waking up each morning is surprise.

And the second emotion is one of gratitude.

We have reason to give thanks for being alive and even more reason to be grateful for living in the midst of the surrounding beauty that is Longboat Key.

As of this moment in time, we can even widen our horizons and contemplate the United States and our northern neighbor, Canada, as islands of tranquility in a hostile planetary environment.

Several weeks ago, on the other side of the globe, the Islamic terrorist group known as ISIS managed to plant a bomb on a civilian Russian passenger plane over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing 224 innocent children, women and men.

Last week, in the beautiful city of light, Paris, seven or eight ISIS Jihadists wearing explosive suicide belts and carrying automatic weapons invaded a soccer stadium, restaurants, and a concert hall, slaughtering 132 civilians and leaving 350 others wounded, some so severely that the death toll is sure to rise.

ISIS is quick to claim credit and attribute its actions as retribution for Russian actions in Syria and French air support for forces in Iraq and Syria.

The United States, they warn, will be next.

These threats would be more credible if it were not for the fact that Islamic terrorists under one name or another had been carrying on similar depredations against western civilization long before either France or Russia were involved in the Iraq and Syrian upheavals.

What kind of civilized mind can justify mass murder of children, of women, and of men uninvolved in political or military activities?

Is the world full of crazies?

What kind of nut case can be convinced to pursue a suicide enterprise where the end, inevitable result is not escape, but blowing oneself up?

Six out of the seven Paris murderers set off their explosive vests when finally cornered, the seventh died when police bullets exploded the man’s vest.

Pundits have posed the question: why do they hate us?

Is it because we meddled in the historic rivalries in the Middle East in a misguided effort at “nation building?”

Is it because their religion holds that there is no other God but theirs, and anyone believing anything else is blasphemous and worthy of death?

Is it because their exposure to our way of life via movies, television and the internet makes them jealous of us?

It could be a combination of all three, or it may simply be that the world is full of crazy people.

After all, it was only seventy-odd years ago that the entire population of one of the most civilized and cultured nations in the world, Germany, went on an equally brutal and murderous purge of its own and neighboring populations.

And the super-polite natives of Japan were not much better, and they were the first to invent “kamikaze,” suicide bombings.

The problems are evident, but solutions are not easy.

It is most likely that no matter what we do, ISIS will manage to sneak through our defenses and commit an atrocity on American soil.

Hopefully our Intelligence services will be able to detect and minimize any effects.

In the meantime, Thanksgiving is upon us, and we ought to be grateful for the peace and beauty that surround us for the moment.

Richard Hershatter is a retired Connecticut lawyer and novelist who writes an occasional column of interest to Floridians. He can be reached at Banyan502@AOL.com                                                                          


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