Some afterthought, at least

If man is the measure of all things, then death is surely the measure of man. We combat death, we face it philosophically, as a natural event in order to endure its unnatural despotism. Sometimes, we think we can fool it or postpone it, by taking medicine or through religious promises of eternal life. But our efforts, like the Trojans’, are doomed. Devastated by the overwhelming dose of death which has poisoned us for days – first in Iraq and now at Tempe, on home ground – we feel as though our institutions and gods have perished. For how can one swallow the fact that the two most lethal traffic accidents this year, at Tempe and the Aliakmon River, have cost nearly as many lives as the US troops lost after a month in conflict? And how can this be forgiven? The children have been buried. But there are those who should not bury their responsibilities for public security and observance of the law, regardless of their office. If once again they choose to confine themselves to expressing their condolences, whether genuine or hypocritical, if they blame the accident on misfortune, if they fail to do – even now, after the damage has been done – what they should have done a long time ago, it is certain that more people will die in this vehicular civil war. And the toll will rise, because of a missing road barrier, a loading inspection that was never carried out, or a road network that is full of potholes, half of which are the product of contractor greed and state laxity. And the national highway will keep on being another word for national tragedy. Not because of ill fate but because our prestigious, competent officials – so-called – not only fail to take precautionary measures but even prove unable or unwilling to act, like Epimetheus, the Titan god of afterthought.