I took a hiatus from this project in February in order to finish some blog cleanup operations, but yesterday’s post by BookStooge reminded me I really ought to be getting back into the saddle as well.
As always, the only thing linking the two items mentioned in this post in my mind is that they both start with the same letter of the alphabet.
The first photo of a rose I remember taking, some 30 years ago, in Butchart Gardens, Victoria Island (BC, Canada) — still one of my personal favorites.
As I said in another post, I decided to go with “gardens” instead of “flowers” in this series as a general matter even though flowers were a hot contender for the “F” slot, too, but there is one particular flower that simply has to be included here in its own right after all: the rose. I love roses because to me they are the perfect combination of beauty, individuality, and resilience; the floral expression of perfection: each one a natural jewel, each and every blossom different even from the blossoms on the same stem or bush — and unlike virtually all of their floral friends and cousins, they come with their own armour … and as expressed both in this blog’s name and in a post from last fall, I have a particular fondness for all creatures that come armed against predators.
It’s for roses, more than for every other flower, that I regret not having inherited my father’s and both of my grandfathers’ green thumbs — I’d love to have my very own rose garden, and it saddens me that even if I did, I’d still have to have it cared for by someone else. As it is, rose gardens both in our area and when traveling are an irresistible temptation to me, and if, as mentioned in this series’s “gardens” post, I am constitutionally incapable of visiting gardens in general without spending a substantial amount of time there and photographing their every angle, that notion applies to rose gardens squared by factor X. Similarly, I will almost always include roses in the Mother’s Day, Easter, birthday and other bouquets I put together (with the shop owner’s assistance) for my mom or for friends at the lovely flower shop down our street, even if the bouquet’s seasonal theme or color / flower theme wouldn’t necessarily call for them. A large poster made from one of my rose photos also takes pride of place in my bedroom.
(All photos in this section of the post mine.)
Roses in gardens in my neighborhood and in various bouquets I’ve given to my mother over the course of the past years. The block of six photos at the bottom shows my favorite rose bush, in the front yard of a home just a few houses down from our building in our street.
… by which I don’t so much mean stupid acts of self-harm, but rather, the kind of selfish, anti-social, purely egotistical behavior that sets the risk to others at naught and places the acting individual’s momentary enjoyment, interests, and / or excessive hormones, front and center, however great the danger involved, and however many others may be put at risk at the same time.
These days, of course, anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers come to mind first and foremost (including the folks who still think it’s a great idea to form crowds or, more generally, move about in situations where maintaining a minimal distance is simply not feasible without, at the very least, wearing a mask); but actually, this has been something that’s been annoying me since way before we’d ever even heard about Corona; and probably no more so than in the instance of illegal inner city drag races. I was very glad to see that Germany’s highest federal court upheld, as a matter of principle, a murder conviction handed down as a result of one such race which had claimed the life of an innocent bystander: Whoever engages in a high speed race — on any public highway, but particularly so on inner city streets — knowingly accepts the risk that they may end up killing (or at the very least, severely harming) other persons, and deserves to be judged accordingly.* I very much hope this judgment (echoing an earlier court order in another case), in addition to a change of the law which now even makes the participation in such a race a crime (i.e., you get nailed even if — by sheer dumb luck — you’ve somehow managed to avoid actually harming anybody), as well as stepped-up police activity against drag races is finally going to send the message that this is not merely socially reprehensible behavior but may actually have severe consequences for everybody involved with it, too.
Recklessness of this kind has nothing whatsoever to do with courage or daring — or, for that matter, with exercising your personal freedom. Even recklessness that merely puts your own self at risk (such as the idiots who think it’s a great idea to take selfies while placing themselves near an unprotected, unfenced cliff edge literally inches from a lethal vertical drop) comes with a price; not only that paid by the person themselves, who may lose their lives or at least incur severe and possibly incurable injuries, but also the price they make their families pay, who will grieve for them if they die and who may have to care for them for the rest of their lives if they survive but are so badly injured that lifelong care becomes a necessity. But recklessness that also places others at risk is anti-social behavior, pure and simple — there is no excuse for it, and the price being paid is paid by all of us; whether in insurance hikes, the rising cost of policing and criminal prosecutions, hospital bed capacities, the collapse of whatever market segment those controlling it may have been gambling with (housing crisis, anybody?), etc.
* Note for the common lawyers out there: Common law “recklessness” can be either something known as “deliberate negligence” or as “conditional / indirect intent” in German criminal law, depending on whether the defendant, while cognizant of the risk, nevertheless hoped for a good outcome (in which case he’ll be found guilty of a crime of negligence) or essentially didn’t care about the outcome (in which case he’ll be found guilty of having committed an intentional crime, as “conditional” or “indirect” intent, according to German law, is no “lesser” form of intent than direct / specific intent). Obviously, the precise state and nature of the defendant’s mens rea is virtually always a major battlefield in such cases. I’m glad that at least one of the two defendants in the case decided by the Bundesgerichtshof (German Supreme Court) failed to make a convincing showing of “mere” negligence and the Bundesgerichtshof was thus in a position to uphold his murder conviction. – For further details on the legal issues involved see the very clear and instructive discussion HERE.
(From her debut novel, The Bluest Eye.)