Ideals are a good thing. Getting out and pursuing your ideals and goals is also always a good thing.
Being blinded by your ideals to the point of experiencing a complete loss of common sense and endangering yourself however is not such a good thing.
A recent event brought these self-destructive people to mind for me. I will list three prime and suicidal idealists who have died of naivete.
Recently a performance artist named Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo (known as Pippa Bacca) decided that in order to demonstrate that all people are good at heart and somehow promote world peace, she would hitchhike throughout the Middle-East while wearing a wedding dress.
Ms. Bacca’s ill advised trip lasted from March 20, 2008 until March 31 when she disappeared in Turkey. Bacca’s raped body was discovered and identified shortly afterwards.
The unfortunate Pippa lasted less than two weeks on her journey and in giving her life she actually achieved the opposite of her goals. Bacca’s death illustrated that indeed not all people are sweethearts and the Middle-East simply is not a terribly peaceful place. Hardly a point that somebody needed to die to prove.
Timothy Treadwell (AKA The Grizzly Man) made a name for himself with his documentaries where he would approach and play with wild grizzly bears in Alaska.
Despite numerous warnings from park officials, Treadwell would insist upon sneaking into areas in order to get his footage. Park records indicate that Treadwell’s violations included: Guiding tourists without a license, camping in the same area longer than the Parks Service’s seven-day limit, improper food storage, wildlife harassment, and conflicts with visitors and their guides.
Treadwell’s goal was to demonstrate that grizzly bears were simply gentle giants who loved human company. Grizzly bears were not dangerous in Treadwell’s world, they simply were misunderstood. Many environmentalists applauded this man’s work and considered him a great pioneer in building human/grizzly relationships.
The law of averages finally caught up to the “grizzly man” in early October 2003. The partially eaten remains of Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard (his girlfriend) were discovered near his campsite. Treadwell had set up a campsite next to a salmon stream in fall when grizzlies are fattening up for winter. While Treadwell clearly did not realize it, the grizzlies realized that Treadwell and his girlfriend are indeed made up predominantly of protein and they were promptly consumed.
When park rangers came to the campsite, a grizzly was present and protecting it’s kill. The rangers shot it. Shortly afterwards rangers were forced to shoot another young bear as it charged them. Despite the assertions of Treadwell, bears are rather aggressive when there is meat about. Treadwell’s idiocy not only led to his own death and his girlfriend’s death, but to that of two of the bears he claimed to love.
Rachel was a nice young idealist living in the American Northwest. Like many young people, Rachel felt there was wrong being done on the planet and that she must do something to remedy these wrongs.
Unfortunately Rachel was recruited by the “International Solidarity Movement”. Rachel was filled in on the atrocities of the Zionists in Israel and promptly took off to halt these evils in the Gaza Strip.
On March 16, 2003, Rachel was run over and killed by an armoured D9 bulldozer while trying to block the machine with her body. It would appear that bulldozers are much faster in Israel than they are here. I work with them constantly and have never had difficulty in stepping out of the way.
The outcry was immediate and some elements of the anti-Israel community have shamelessly tried to capitalize on Rachel’s death. Corrie’s death has been called murder (despite multiple investigations indicating that the driver could not have possibly even seen her much less chased her down) and a play has even been travelling North America telling the Rachel Corrie story. A nice looking and idealistic girl makes the best sort of martyr for these kinds of things.
While the left has canonized Rachel Corrie, others who have looked more deeply into the issue have christened her St. Pancake.
To begin with, the “International Solidarity Movement” is anything but a peace group. Increasingly it has been indicated that this group thrives on finding foolish Western kids and dropping them into war zones in hopes of drawing attention to their cause. One of their reps says it well: George Rishmawi of the ISM told the San Francisco Chroniclethat “When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested anymore. But if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.” This George Rishmawi is an activist with the Palestinian Communist Party by the way.
The death list for this “International Solidarity Movement” also includes Tom Hurndall. Shot in the face while volunteering for ISM was Brian Avery. Australian ISM volunteer Kate Edwards sustained severe internal injuries while out there for the cause. The ISM is doing well generating these Western martyrs.
The ISM is hard at it trying to recruit more young western martyrs here.
They give travel tips and assure you that they will put you right in the war zone. You have to pay for it yourself of course as most of funds that head that way seem to have been set aside for explosives and such.
Lets look through Rachel’s activities upon arrival.
First Rachel got herself into the imaginary mode that she herself was indeed a Palestinian woman being oppressed by Israel.
Next, Rachel decided to help young school children by teaching them how to burn American flags.
Look at the love and passion in the face of this young western “peace” activist.
Now the importance of good flagburning technique can never be understated. Had the poor young fellow pictured below been able to take advantage of Rachel Corrie’s tutelage, he may have been able to avoid his nearly premature trip to 72 virgins.
After Rachel’s teaching duties were completed, she was ready to be moved to the front lines.
While ISM activists deny it, the constant barrage of missiles into residential areas of Israel sort of indicate that Palestinians are getting them from somewhere. A common method of this is to dig tunnels into neighboring countries in order to smuggle ordnance in. Israel uses bulldozers to close these tunnels.
Rachel sadly thought that it would be wise to stand in front of one of these slow-moving machines with very limitted visibility in order to stop it.
Rachel was crushed shortly after her shortsighted effort.
There are a great many pictures of this incident out there. This is due to the ISM moving rather too quickly in cooking their spin on this new martyr.
Shortly after Corrie’s death, the ISM placed photographs on a website which it claimed showed the events leading up to Corrie’s death. AP, Reuters, and many Internet discussion pages reported that the photographs showed two (perhaps three) different bulldozers and inconsistent pictures of the sun’s movement across the skies. The ISM then changed the site to show a more consistent group of photographs.
The death of Rachel Corrie and the others listed above were truly tragic. Any premature loss of life is a sad thing. All three deaths could easily have been prevented however by just a dash of common sense.
If you know a young person who wants to make their splash in activist circles, it may be advised to tell them to put on a mask, attend a protest and smash the windows out of a Gap store as so many others do. It may lead to an arrest and some tear-gas pain, but it will beat the hell out of being eaten by grizzlies, being raped and killed or being squashed by a bulldozer. They will live long enough to realize how important self-preservation is.