January 28, 2005

No Peace Being Spread

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What the hell is going on here? Is it not bad enough that the deadliest day for American troops in Iraq was not the day they invaded the country but, rather, earlier this week? Is it not bad enough that crews continue to pull bodies from the wreckage left in the wake of the Asian tsunamis and California mudslides?

Is it not bad enough that Myles Meyers, an auto worker in Toledo, Ohio, who went to work Wednesday and killed his supervisor, wounded two colleagues, and then turned the gun on himself, or is it worse that 11 L.A. commuters — already wary of gridlock, smog, and carjackings — died when a suicide SUV parked on the tracks derailed their train? Even in Ithaca, a supposed halcyon haven for hippies and college kids, Collegetown creepers and pinhole video cameras have eroded our sense of trust and security.

But just when I thought the unpredictable hostility and violence around the world couldn’t worsen any more, I read the story of Detroit Tigers pitcher Ugueth Urbina, whose mother — HIS MOTHER, FOR GOD’S SAKE — was kidnapped from her home in Venezuela, held for ransom, and is now feared dead.

Though the 54-year old woman, Maura Villarreal, disappeared nearly five months ago on Sept. 1, contact between her captors and authorities continued for some time before halting a few weeks ago. The men who abducted her apparently wore police uniforms or could have been police officers — a fact one senior Venezuelan police official, speaking anonymously, has said may be difficult to accept for fear of reprisal.

At last count, Villarreal’s kidnappers had demanded a $3 million ransom — a figure worth three-quarters of the salary option the Tigers exercised on the reliever Nov. 5. Urbina, who left the team for Venezuela following his mother’s disappearance, has declined to comment on the issue.

Who can blame him? Would anything he says make a difference, anyway?

“Please give my mother back?”

“Please don’t do this?”


Those words sound sickeningly familiar — or at least I imagine they would if we could hear them — to the pleas from the orphans of the Bande Aceh province, the children of slain Iraqi civilians killed because they want to vote, or the sons and daughters of the plant supervisor in Ohio, or the family members of the unsuspecting businesspeople aboard the train in the City of Angels.

Despite hundreds of hours of mournful footage from prayer services, despite political summits and international consortiums, and despite grassroots protests like those not uncommon on our Commons, its seems humanity’s collective voice of peace and reason has fallen on deaf ears and numbed minds.

It doesn’t matter anymore whether you live in Baghdad, Beverly Hills, or Binghamton, whether you’re a factory worker in Ohio, a middle-aged woman in South America, or a sophomore co-ed in Collegetown: you aren’t safe, and you should be rightfully angry at the people who created this state of pandemonium and those who promulgate it through their words and actions.

Who knows what to do about it — if anything — but one thing’s certain: we’re sick of this crazy crap, and it’s got to stop. Period.

Everett Hullverson is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. Chew On This appears every other Friday this semester.

Archived article by Everett Hullverson