Butterfly illustration by Jack Moreh
When it’s time to leave,
the destination of the
caterpillar is well known.
But when the world is angry,
where do the butterflies go?
To Leave Something Behind
Where Do The Butterflies Go?
by Kendall F. Person
July 18, 1984:
The first thing he said, when he arrived at his destination in the border city of San Ysidro California, was also his last. “Freeze!” But before a police sniper, placed him in the crosshairs of a rifle, James Huberty massacred 21 people, at McDonald’s no less.
It was a small group at first, so no one really noticed them leaving. Sent here on a mission to spread beauty upon the nation, but one day the butterflies simply gave up. Then vanished without a trace.
San Ysidro was the first mass shooting by a sole gunman in my generation, and it stunned a shocked nation. But prior to 9/11 (2001) and the elevation of a rarely used word terrorist, to an every occasion, there was no reason to look for a deeper meaning; nothing to see passed the madness of a lone gunman, since there was nothing in comparison.
April 19, 1995 (the date American terrorism was born)
On that day, Timothy McVeigh did not use rifles, but bombs, that blew out the exteriors of buildings in the surround, but blew the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City sky high. 168 American people lost their lives.
When they arrived home, a small convoy appeared before the council to tell them hope was gone. The response was without hesitation, for the good of the universe, they had to go back. They had to complete their mission.
The origins of the Oklahoma City bombing were drawn to Ruby Ridge, the site of a deadly face-off between FBI Agents and Randy Weaver, an alleged white supremacist. Armed with this knowledge, it rang no bells, even while locked into an intense discussion with a member of an American militia, who raged a defense. It did not occur back then, that if there were defenders, then there were more just like McVeigh.
September 11, 2001 a date that lives in infamy
The first International terrorist attack to penetrate home turf, took the lives of nearly 3000 people. But the damage kept digging, going deeper inside our psyches, until the rallying call of nearly half the nation was to blame all our woes on ‘the others’. From a National Tragedy of which every American mourned, we did not simply lose the aura of invincibility, but we lost the meaning of ‘a great nation’, replacing it with a slogan.
Each time we conjure up the ghosts of real people, attached to a real emotional moment in American history, to use as a shield, then search out a bogeyman to bare our burden, we cast ourselves as eternal victims (we are by far, not the only nation to feel such pain) If we do not face the truth of our own dilemmas, than how can we uncover solutions to what plagues us?
A divided nation, we are united in grief, yet living in confusion. Perhaps, no tangible link exists, no way to connect dots or put squares into circles. Maybe there is nothing to learn, nor solutions to glean from the San Ysidro massacre to the detonation of Oklahoma City to the killing fields of Las Vegas, but how do we know, if we return to the same debates, where everyone talks, but few search for answers.
How can we not reflect during this time of national grief, and imagine together something that works. If we do not stop analyzing and comparing everything to a President, who we all know (even Congress) is just an entertainer; but magnetic enough to draw us into a dangerous reality show. If we continue to see our communities as us against them; if we do not push out goodness from the heart into the atmosphere; if we do not utilize the mind to communicate inspirational, positive vibes, and blow them into the air…
…than it does not matter where the butterflies go. For if their mission fails, the next time they disappear, we will never see beauty again, and ugly rules the world.
We are truly sorry for the loved ones lost in Las Vegas and Aurora and Charleston and Orlando and Sandy Hooks and San Ysidro and Blacksburg and Oak Creek Wisconsin and Oklahoma City and New York and….. – The Neighborhood
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