From Occupy Wall Street to Every Street — even Lakewood's streets and those of Tillicum and DuPont — from the rutted roads of Rwanda to the airy mountainous heights of Afghanistan and its arid desert wastelands, chaos can reign anytime two volatile, combustible ingredients come together, leadership that is AWOL and values that have gone to hell.
Cars were set on fire. Others were overturned. Scores of officers clad in full-dress battle gear saved the large plate-glass window of a bank from being smashed with a shopping cart. Others were not so lucky. What was happening here? Why the rampage? The riot? The rumble?
Boston Red Sox fans were celebrating, lost in euphoria. What with all this carnage, and but a couple weeks before Halloween, what horror might have occurred had Boston rather lost to the Yankees instead of won that historic seventh game of the American League Championship Series of 2004?
Certainly not limited to out-of-control celebrating fans, chaos can characterize a far smaller but also far deadlier contingent as revealed in the ongoing investigation in southern Afghanistan. The Tacoma News Tribune, October 16, 2011, reports villager's dogs shot for target practice; cultural taboos violated; innocents killed. Who were these wild-eyed, pillage-and-plundering hordes? And how could this happen?
They are alleged to be members of Joint Base Lewis McChord's rogue "kill team" — the so-called "lost platoon" of the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Also evidently lost is "Occupy Wall Street" which seems to have occupied every street, having gone global - 951 cities in 82 countries. In its name alone, "Occupy Wall Street" had as its original target greed, land-grabs, governmental inequity, and professional and business fraud. But have the have-nots who would have none of it - have not they also lost their way? One placard in London read "Here comes the Ethical Revolution." Meanwhile riots and fires in Rome belie values and bolster chaos.
"Lost" encompasses all that characterizes chaotic behavior whether on the streets of Boston, or among the village huts of Afghanistan, or any of the many continents "Occupy Wall Street" occupies - Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and of course America.
Chaos is attributable to both a lostness of values, as well as to leadership that has lost its way.
In Lakewood, trees are to be cut down to improve business visibility; Amtrak bypasses Puget Sound in order to enhance on-time business reliability; Camp Murray gets its gate — and gets its way — to make its business and campus pedestrian-friendly; state-wide slot-machines are proposed for casinos to bolster the economy; and in DuPont extending mining operations to 700 acres is billed as but another similar chapter in the town's history.
But when is it not about business? Do those with deeper pockets get more places at the table? Does governmental authority in this economy escape responsibility — let alone accountability — for something that might matter more to those who will live with the consequences of those business decisions — those in the community?
Certainly the champions of chaos for having lost their values are not commendable. And neither is leadership that has lost its way, out of touch with the people.
There is an undeniable theme, an inescapable truth, a common thread that twists and turns a circuitous course through many stories of chaos. Its twines form a noose about the neck, choking common sense from its victims leaving them gasping for air and grasping for purpose.