Life Is A Highway – Reflections On Las Vegas

Life really is a highway – here’s why.

It only takes one. One guy to screw things up.  Because life is a highway.  Great when it functions as designed.  Beyond aggravating when it doesn’t.

Consider the following: A mousetrap has only five parts. The mechanism requires a board, a spring, a retaining clip, a retaining bar, and a hammer. Remove just one part and you have junk. Spare me the “designs” going around the internet that allegedly show a mousetrap being reduced to three, two, or even one part. No one has ever produced a working model.

The horrific October 1st incident in Las Vegas should cause all of us to reflect on the precarious nature of our civilization.

Counting on each other… because life is a highway…

Think about how much we all depend on each other to follow the rules. Self-enforcement is what keeps everything running smoothly.

It just takes one guy driving too fast, misjudging distance, or failing to maintain his vehicle to cause system failure. And now everyone’s commute is jacked up.

Traffic Jam |

It just takes one guy…

Granted at the end of the line, there are men with guns. Of course, most of us don’t get that far, because most of us have explicit and implied agreements with each other. These agreements are the lubrication for civilization’s machinery.

But what happens when one of us decides to disregard these agreements? For example, what if your neighbor decides to stop paying his school and property taxes? At first, notices from the township will appear in his mailbox. The notices will be followed by phone calls and possibly visits from local officials. If the situation persists, the Sheriff’s office will issues summonses and eviction notices. Finally, the township will remove property rights, and men with guns will appear on the premises to remove the occupant. One way or another. Because at the end of every law, no matter how seemingly trivial, there is a man with a gun.

But there are never enough men with guns.  That’s what makes those agreements with each other so important.  Because life is a highway, and keeping all the lanes open is vital.  A sociologist once told me that the rules change when enough people start breaking them.

That is why we wait for the green light…

That’s why we count on our social contract. I do not mean the contract between the citizen and the state. I mean the contract we make and keep among ourselves.

Stephen Paddock, however one wants to label him – lone wolf, undiagnosed schizophrenic, or ISIS dupe – clearly did not keep his agreements with the rest of us. The resulting chaos in the aftermath is one part of the story.

Another part is the enormous resources diverted to deal with the incident he created. There was of course the mobilization of Federal, State, and local law enforcement. There was the additional mobilization of emergency service workers, and health care personnel. Additional expenses in fuel, healthcare supplies, and medicine incurred. Other considerations are the payouts by insurance companies, and inevitable increases in premiums.

Actuaries and security experts will get involved, because now security procedures have to be re-examined. New security measures will be put into place costing time and money. The public at large – taxpayers and customers – most of whom will never pose a threat to anyone else’s safety will bear the additional costs.

Funeral expenses, while inevitable, will be born far too early, often by parents tragically outliving their children.

Premature Grief. The most horrific expense of all.


About Phil Christensen

The trail behind me is littered with failure. The trail before me remains to be seen.
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One Response to Life Is A Highway – Reflections On Las Vegas

  1. Andy Mount says:

    “Because at the end of every law, no matter how seemingly trivial, there is a man with a gun.”

    Oh how true! Also true is that after the men with the guns show up, you will have a date in a courthouse. Recent events have caused the Ten Commandments to be removed from certain courthouses. Seems that maybe we should reconsider that effort? Credit where credit is due for this idea; Phil Robertson.

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