Today’s news:

Neighbor to Neighbor: Difficult times like these call for people to do good

There has been another security breach at John F. Kennedy International Airport. A man had been fortunate enough to escape the devastation in Haiti caused by a powerful earthquake but ignored a plainly marked warning sign on a door to stay out and walked right through.

His lawyer indicated this was no big deal. Not to him apparently, but the airport was cleared and all other potential passengers were inconvenienced and delayed at great cost in time and dollars.

At best, there are inherent dangers in any kind of travel. In our present day, however, the risks are unimaginable. Attempts at safety are recognized as a necessity, but some of the efforts have become the focus of ridicule. The main complaint seems to be, “Why screen everyone when everyone knows who is likely to be a terrorist?”

Really? Some of those voicing this complaint are probably young enough to have no memory of those who, during the Vietnam War, strapped bombs to themselves or someone else. The majority were old ladies and children — those no one would suspect. There is a saying that comes to mind: “Those who forget history are bound to repeat it.” It is, as another saying notes, “an inconvenient truth.”

No one in his or her right mind would say, “These are wonderfully safe times.” There are risks everywhere. Sunny California is plagued from time to time by fires and mud slides, and states like Louisiana are too familiar with floods. The earthquake that has hit Haiti may have killed some 200,000 people and injured many more.

It is so sad and frustrating, especially since as human, financial and mechanical aids were being rushed to help the immediate needs and plans to rebuild were being formulated, another earthquake hit Haiti.

The earth is covered with a crust divided into plates that shift from time to time. The Caribbean plate seems to be moving east, while the North American plate seems to be moving west. The geologist who was speaking about this sounded ominous as he said, “Beside that, there is a series of volcanos along under that area called ‘the ring of fire.’” There is no room for complacency and at this time there is apparently little if anything we can do about it.

From time to time the earth changes, but it is not our fault nor the fault of cows, puppies or kittens as some who always want to play the blame game would like us to believe. Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in an area that most often escapes major natural disasters should be thankful. We should be particularly grateful to those who selflessly protect or rescue us from harm or make our lives better in some way.

It would be better for everyone if we could figure out how war could be avoided and everyone could enjoy peace together. Of course, there will always be conflict, but there should never be disrespect for those who give of themselves to settle conflict fairly.

Recalling again the war in Vietnam, those who disrespected our returning veterans certainly earned the disdain of most Americans, but they did the dirty acts against those who had risked their lives to do our country’s bidding to play to the small audience of detractors of our way of life. Our protectors have earned the right to be here and proud; most of us are lucky to find ourselves where we are.

The problems in Haiti have been overwhelming for as long as I can recall. Our country is, as always, trying to do whatever is possible and sometimes what is hard to imagine. As hard as we always try, there have already been accusations that we are “occupiers.” Some have proposed we immediately adopt all Haitians and make Haiti our 51st state. As bad as life in Haiti has been for many now here, the Haitians I know still seem to love their own country of Haiti more.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has tried to assure the Haitian people that we are there at the behest of the Haitian government to help, not occupy or control. That is the way it should be. We wish everyone wisdom and patience.

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