Life’s mys­ter­ies

Ex­plor­ing the in­ex­pli­ca­ble

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES - Mike Master­son Mike Master­son is a long­time Arkansas jour­nal­ist. Email him at mmas­ter­son@arkansason­

I’m not alone when it comes to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the in­ex­pli­ca­ble mys­ter­ies of life. Thought I’d share a few to­day.

Dur­ing 1988 at the Ari­zona Repub­lic in Phoenix, I took a short­cut one af­ter­noon through an es­tab­lished neigh­bor­hood in the north­ern part of that city to en­counter what’s be­come the most bizarre minute of my life. Ahead on the left, I saw a still-smok­ing burned ve­hi­cle with two charred bod­ies in the front seats.

It was a hor­ri­ble sight as I drove slowly past and snapped a men­tal im­age through the side win­dow. Re­turn­ing to the pa­per, I called the po­lice and fire de­part­ments to ask what hap­pened there. Both in­sisted they’d re­ceived no calls from that area. Yet I cer­tainly knew what I’d driven up on.

The fol­low­ing day be­ing a week­end, I drove back to the area then back and forth down in­ter­sect­ing streets for well over an hour look­ing for the spot. There was noth­ing. By then in this un­fa­mil­iar neigh­bor­hood I could never be cer­tain which street I’d been on the day be­fore.

The other day Jeanetta re­moved her ear­rings and laid them to­gether in her usual spot only to find one miss­ing the next morn­ing. Search­ing the house, she fi­nally found it on a counter in the bath­room. A few weeks later, both ear­rings van­ished only to be found af­ter sev­eral days ly­ing to­gether in the kitchen’s soup tureen. Most re­cently, her neck­lace van­ished. It has yet to turn up.

My son and grand­daugh­ter came for a week­end visit last month. They set­tled into the guest quar­ters down­stairs, which has a ping-pong ta­ble.

In the predawn hours, re­cessed light­ing in the shelves sud­denly came on and stayed that way un­til he arose and flipped the wall switch to off. The fol­low­ing morn­ing, they awoke to find the ping-pong net un­screwed from both sides and ly­ing on the floor. That took some un­de­ni­able in­ten­tion.

I ex­ited the bath­room one night to find Jeanetta be­side her­self over the “bird or a bat” that ap­par­ently had got­ten into the house and had been al­most sail­ing in smooth cir­cles over her head as she lay read a book. Its cir­cles dropped ever lower un­til she said it fi­nally was hov­er­ing just above her face be­fore it sud­denly made a sweep­ing arc as I ap­proached the foot of the bed. An ex­haus­tive search of the room (three times) found noth­ing. “When birds get in a house, they flut­ter and flap, try­ing to es­cape,” she said. “What­ever this was did grace­ful loops com­ing closer to me with each one. It was def­i­nitely real. And it took off in a flash just as you were walk­ing in.”

Yet noth­ing, not even a feather. Had ex­pe­ri­ences you’d like to share?

Be­com­ing a dragon

Ger­man philoso­pher Friedrich Ni­et­zsche warned that he who fights the dragon too long risks be­com­ing a dragon. How long has our Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment been joust­ing the elu­sive sup­posed Rus­sian dragon?

Fol­low­ing month af­ter month of daily head­lines in the main­stream me­dia al­leg­ing “the Rus­sians” some­how in­ter­fered and/or col­luded in our last elec­tion by hack­ing com­put­ers and us­ing so­cial me­dia (yet didn’t af­fect its out­come), I now read we are eval­u­at­ing openly vi­o­lat­ing in­ter­na­tional agree­ments to change the out­come of the re­cent Venezue­lan elec­tion.

Yes, that na­tion’s elec­tions do ap­pear to have been grossly rigged. And yes, they have a harsh, bru­tal dic­ta­tor­ship that wants to re­write Venezuela’s con­sti­tu­tion, an op­pres­sive band of good ol’ boys that, for the ben­e­fit of the pop­u­la­tion de­serves to be over­thrown and re­placed.

But is that our prob­lem to re­solve, or any­one else’s other than the good cit­i­zens of Venezuela?

The In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Ac­cu­racy points out that Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son re­cently said this: “We are eval­u­at­ing all of our pol­icy op­tions as to what can we do to cre­ate a change of con­di­tions where ei­ther [Pres­i­dent of Venezuela Ni­co­las] Maduro de­cides he doesn’t have a fu­ture and wants to leave of his own ac­cord or we can re­turn the gov­ern­ment pro­cesses back to their con­sti­tu­tion.” At least Tiller­son is hon­est about our in­ten­tions.

In­ter­fer­ing in an­other coun­try’s elec­tions vi­o­lates the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States Char­ter, Ar­ti­cle 19 of which says: “No state or group of states has the right to in­ter­vene, di­rectly or in­di­rectly, for any rea­son what­ever, in the in­ter­nal or ex­ter­nal af­fairs of any other state. The fore­go­ing prin­ci­ple pro­hibits not only armed force but also any other form of in­ter­fer­ence or at­tempted threat against the per­son­al­ity of the state or against its po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, and cul­tural el­e­ments.”

Then comes Ar­ti­cle 20: “No state may use or en­cour­age the use of co­er­cive mea­sures of an eco­nomic or po­lit­i­cal char­ac­ter in or­der to force the sov­er­eign will of an­other state and ob­tain from it ad­van­tages of any kind.”

So what we ap­pear to have here, seems to me, is the long-stand­ing prac­tice of var­i­ous na­tions rang­ing from the Mid­dle East to South Amer­ica, Asia, Europe and our own United States all reg­u­larly ex­ert­ing pres­sures that hope­fully prompt out­comes fa­vor­able to the pres­surer. Ac­tu­ally, I pre­fer to call it in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics as usual.

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