minutia press.
A bad thing happened

I was driving home from work two days ago, using Delmar because of the construction on Forest Park Parkway After turning left on Delmar from Big Bend, I saw every parent's nightmare: a kid apparently had been hit by a car, and he lay motionless on the ground. I herad yells about a cell phone, and I pulled over and called 911. They had dispatched an ambulance, so I continued toward home, very upset and shaken from what I had seen.

Midway through the drive I was getting angry and frustrated, and I shouted in my car, "Why do bad things happen to good people?". And in my head came an answer: "Because you have freedom of choice". I was very startled by that thought, because it wasn't something I had been thinking, but seemed to have been thrust upon me. But I started thinking about the answer, and it made some sense, so let me try to explain.

The person who hit the child with his or her car, certainly didn't intend to do so, but nonetheless made many choices along the way that resulted in that particular event. A driver's test was taken, a car was bought or rented, the car was started, the person left work at a particular time---all these seemingly innocent events resulted in a car hitting a child. Likewise, the child's parents had a child, and made innocent choices along the way that resulted in that poor child being in a bad siutation at a particular time.

If we give up free will -- if we cede control to some Power that could make certain that events like this don't happen, then steps could have been taken along the way to avert this accident, but those steps modify or remove choices we could have made along the way.

I've read Kushner's book on this subject long ago, and could post on his reasoning about why the untinkable occurs, but his explanation assumes that you want to believe in an all-powerful, caring G-d. While such faith-based accountability is interesting, it doesn't answer what would happen in a world where bad things could not happen to good people.

While I suppose freedom of choice is worth the risk, I hope that choices were made by medical personnel to bring the child back to full health. I tried to discover how this awful situation turned out, but the U City police office told me they can't release information like that. A cop at the gym said that if I didn't see anything in the paper (and I didn't, and I did look carefully), then it's likely the child is OK.