It seems to me that some things never change, that is, we see how events keeps repeating themselves - and we marvel at how some folks apparently won’t or can’t learn from their experiences. Current events remind me of a column I wrote, “A Lesson I Learned As A Child” published on 08/01/2006, and so I have decided to extract a portion of that column for your review. See what you think.
“It seems to me that we can learn a lot about life from things that happen to us while we are growing up. Recent events in the Middle East have brought one such occurrence to mind and I thought I’d share it with you folks.”
“There was this boy I’ll call Jimmy who was a bit of a bully. Not that he was a big brute - in fact he wasn’t very big at all - but he tried to lord it over everybody else. He had a nasty way of insulting others, calling names and such - but he also was clever at punching someone in the back or tripping the unaware and stuff like that. Furthermore, if the victim started after Jimmy to retaliate, Jimmy would run for the safety of his front porch where he yell that his pursuer should “get off our property.”
Jimmy’s Mom would often come out to see what the racket was all about and wind up telling the victim to go on home and quit bothering her son.”
“One of Jimmy’s favorite targets, both verbally and physically, was a boy I’ll call John. John was an easy going guy who got along pretty well with most everybody and didn’t get riled too often. As long as everyone played nicely, John had no problems with the other kids.”
“Well, one day Jimmy chunked some freshly fallen black walnuts at John’s back and several hit him in the head. Now I don’t know if you are aware of it because black walnut trees are getting scarce these days, but when black walnuts fall from the tree, they are encased in a heavy green husk somewhere in size between a ping pong ball and a tennis ball. The size and weight of these nuts, fresh from the tree, make them excellent missiles. They are firm yet not as hard as a rock, are round, and fit a young boy’s hand very nicely - but they sure sting if a body gets hit with one.”
“Anyway, Jimmy surprised John with several well aimed walnuts and did his usual full speed exit for his porch with John in hot pursuit. When Jimmy got home he turned to John and started his usual, “get off our property” routine, but found John following him right up the steps. Jimmy’s protests that, “You can’t come on our property.” fell on deaf ears as John whomped Jimmy something fierce.”
“I have to give Jimmy credit in that he fought back and got in a few good licks, but John had had enough of Jimmy’s hit and run tactics. Before Jimmy’s Mom could come to his rescue, he had a bloody nose and the beginnings of a real shiner. He had lots of other bruises too because John pummeled him pretty hard.”
“Of course Jimmy’s Mom was absolutely furious with John for coming on their porch and beating up her innocent little boy, but the rest of us who had seen what had happened told her that Jimmy had started it by hitting John with the walnuts. She didn’t want to hear anything of the sort, but we insisted that John was the injured party and that Jimmy deserved what he had gotten. Finally she admitted that maybe Jimmy had been the cause of the fight, but insisted that John still had no reason to thump Jimmy so badly for just a couple of walnuts. John replied that if Jimmy didn’t leave him alone that he would do even worse the next time.”
“ I find it interesting that this story has come to mind after all these years. I know that I learned a lesson from how John handled Jimmy’s vicious underhanded attacks - direct frontal confrontation is sometimes the only way. Of course a body may have to take a few licks in the process, but in the long run, it sure puts the bullies of this world on notice and that usually is worth it.”
Well, that’s where the parallelism of today’s events involving Israel and Hamas with this little parable ends because Jimmy learned his lesson. Oh, he was still a pest, but knew better than to provoke John or others by using violence and then retreating into a sanctuary for protection - and playing the victim when retribution occurred.
Hamas apparently hasn’t learned the same lesson. You know, there are a couple of reasons why we may be seeing a repetition of the scenario played out years ago. One is that history is simply repeating itself; the other is that one description of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You can take your choice. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.