Like the tick of a clock, death inevitably visits each of us and then vanishes like silence into the night.

In a simple word, death follows each of us throughout our lives. Some, like Thomas Wolfe, say death is a “proud brother” while others say it is a grim reaper. Whatever one’s perspective, each of us at a certain age of vulnerability understands that any sudden sharp pain casts an immediate pall over the certainty of our lives.

Death indeed makes each of us fragile. When it enters of life’s orbit, it too often marries us to a stricken grief still our last day on this earth.

More than 600,000 people have died from the Covid pandemic—and they left behind millions of grieving family and friends. These family and friends will never truly heal just as the families of the Surfside collapse will never view the sun as brightly as before the collapse. They know this now as they stand before shrines, photos, and flowers gifted to those who death claimed without rhyme or reason that dark early morning.

Gun violence has turned our cities into war zones, claiming lives of the guilty and the innocent. The blood is spilled and wiped away leaving no trace of life except in the memories of those left behind.

We know not why a deranged person walks into a former workplace and slaughters former friends and associates. We know not why teenage gang members trade gunfire in the streets where innocent children play.

The six o’clock news brings us after dinner a steady diet of stabbings, shootings, car crashes, and neighbor attacking neighbor—all of which brings the reminder of death into our living rooms forcing us to confront our own fragile existence.

We have been forced to collectively realize that at least one-third of this nation—more than one hundred million people—either advocate for or express an acceptance of civil war on our soil. These civil war buffs want to transform the landscape of all our lives into boiling hot volcanic lava with no end in sight.

And for what?

Half of this country hates the other half, so the warped one-third believes the best way to resolve the half-on-half dispute is to have a bloody civil war.

All the parades, fireworks displays, and holiday celebrations offer no real solace and peace. They are mere interludes that momentarily take us away from the rage, frustration, and anger that now resides in the soul of this nation.

And all the while death sits at the river’s edge, smiling and waiting for all these lost souls to come his way.

The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre said that we come from nothing, live for nothing, and pass into nothingness.

But how does something come from nothing?

Scientists say we came from the Big Bang.

Okay, so where the fuck did the Big Bang come from?

Rest assured of one thing: death does not give a plug nickel about any of this philosophical mind-tingling shit. It simply feasts off mankind’s primal instinct to destroy, plunder and kill off all life forms.

Some at the CDC say that the Covid pandemic made us more prone to violence.

That raises the interesting question of how many people have died because of the pandemic, not by it.

A philosopher once wrote that the world will never know peace until the last general is strangled by the entrails of the last priest.

Perhaps so – but I think this world will never know peace until death has summoned its last victim across the river.

That does not mean life cannot be better. It can be. But first we must learn how to make a better future and dislodge the grip of our violent, evil past. Good can triumph over evil but it must earn the right to do so.



Forbidding places until you need one.

I needed one recently in a critical, emergency way.

I had all the symptoms of Covid, even though I have been vaccinated. ER doctors and personnel determined I had a major infection. They suspected the infection was in my heart—a lethal condition.  I was rushed by ambulance to a major heart hospital (Methodist Tex-San) in San Antonio. An immediate round of tests and blood work determined I had bacterial pneumonia instead. It was nonetheless, serious.

A week of surgical procedures, tests and exams took me out of harm’s way. I now face a six-month pneumonia recovery—not a welcoming adventure.

During my stay in the hospital I was treated by a host of doctors, nurses, technicians, support personnel, and a gracious religious chaplain. They were all extremely professional as well as compassionate and caring.

Hospital protocol required mask wearing by everyone. I had no problem with that. In fact, I both welcomed and appreciated this patient safety protocol.

But some nurses and medical personnel in Houston and Indiana have recently stolen an unfair share of public attention with their petulant refusal to undergo Covid vaccination as mandated by their hospital employer. These professional yokels believe that their “right” not to be required to undergo vaccination supersedes medical safety protocols. In other words, selfish “me, me, me” over everything else.

I did not ask any nurse if they had been vaccinated. I assumed a responsible health care delivery system would make sure that my “right” to safe medical care is a priority over that of any health care provider assumed rights.

If health care personnel do not want to wear a mask in the interest of individual patient safety and general public safety, then, please, by all means go take up truck driving. There is a growing demand for truck drivers and there is a critical need in the health care delivery system to replace irresponsible medical personnel.

Three days before the bacterial pneumonia hit me like a Covid train I sat for three hours in a surgical center waiting room while my wife underwent an outpatient procedure. I’m convinced I picked up the pneumonia bacteria in that waiting room—a bacteria left by a patient, a relative, or some medical personnel.

My point is this: hospitals can be life-saving places as I recently experienced or they can be potentially life-threatening places as I also recently experienced (as I am convinced).

The first, and most essential responsibility of a hospital is to protect the safety of the patient, and at any point that medical personnel feel that this employer responsibility conflicts with their self-created “rights,” then by all means these employees should be swiftly and irrevocably shown to the door with directions to the nearest truck driving academy.