I'm mad. People I care about are being taken advantage of. Their lives are being corrupted. Precious things are being ruined, and there's nothing I can do about it.
One of my students came up to me before class with a set of keys he'd found. One of my students from an earlier class had left it behind. It wasn't anything fancy, just a pair of keys attached to a Jurassic Park keychain with his name on it. It had an air of innocence in my view; it was nothing more than a young man proclaiming to the world that he liked Jurassic Park. He thought dinosaurs were cool.
I think dinosaurs are cool.
This young man came back after school once he'd realized he'd misplaced his keys. I handed them back, glad he'd returned; they didn't look like car keys (frankly, he's not the sort who would drive a car to school), but they did look like house keys, and I had a fleeting image tinged with melancholy of him sitting by his locked front door, waiting the three hours until his parents got home. As soon as he got them, though, he cast a quick glance around the room and said, "Was there a flash drive attached to it?"
Someone stole his flash drive.
This made me mad. It was painfully obvious that it was his flash drive. The keychain had his name on it. How on earth can anyone justify taking something from a Jurassic Park keychain with someone else's name on it? That keychain rang of innocence to me; whoever stole his flash drive corrupted this young man's innocence. He's lucky I don't run the justice system in this country. I probably would have done something rash and violent.
I have a friend who had a bad day, but it's really symptomatic of a bad couple of months. She has someone who she clearly cares about deeply. I don't blame her. I have someone like that of my own. This young man, however, isn't returning the favor. The latest in a series of alternating professions of love and indifference was too much for her. Fortunately, she had someone nearby to be there for her. I wish I could have been there, but really, I'm glad I wasn't. I would have given her a hug and done something extremely inadvisable to this young man. He's lucky I don't run the justice system in this country.
While I don't know him, somewhere out there is a young man who raped one of my friends. He raped her. I can't think of a more horrible thing to do to anyone. Not only did he inflict that unimaginable crime on her, but he also corrupted love for her.
He corrupted trust.
He corrupted happiness.
He's lucky I don't run the justice system in this country. I probably would have done something I would have regretted for a long time. I would have made him suffer. I would have done all kinds of unspeakable things to him. It's a good thing I wasn't there.
The destruction of innocence around me makes me really mad. I can't think of anything that affects me more powerfully, except possibly the fact that there's nothing I can do about it. The world is full of awful people, people that I would hit with a baseball bat if it wouldn't drag me into the muck they live in. I guess it makes the good that much more precious, though. It gives us something to cling to.
Still, though, I'm mad.