Be Vigilant without Resorting to Vigilantism

During Governor Deval Patrick‘s press conference the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, one of the law enforcement officials said that is it up to average people to be aware of their environment and report any suspicious activities or behavior.  I wholeheartedly concur.

A year ago, I spotted a pristine Apple bag bag sitting on a train platform.  As I approached, thinking “ooh, wonder if there’s an iPad inside?”  my thought quickly changed to “if I was going to leave a weapon in the hopes of getting someone to pick it up, putting it in an Apple bag would be a good idea.”  I immediately went downstairs and told the transit authority attendant and she acted on it right away.

Vigilant_magnifying glass

Photo by Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza

Maybe you don’t want to spend your time while in public thinking like a criminal, but I’ll bet you would find this preferable to continuing to endure the violence we experience every day, much less the rarer acts like what occurred at the Boston Marathon this week.

Some doubt their instincts and don’t say anything because they might be embarrassed about being wrong.  I prefer being wrong 100 times for every one time I’m right, rather than ignoring potentially dangerous people and situations.

Be vigilant. Watch people and what they’re doing and their behavior.  If you have even an ounce of suspicion, call the police.  This includes abuse toward children and animals.

There are not enough police or FBI agents to handle the violence in our country.  It is up to us to help prevent violence in all its forms.

And, this is not a call to arms or becoming a vigilante – simply about increasing your awareness and taking action by calling authorities who are prepared to investigate and handle criminal acts.

The Largest Environmental Action in U.S. History – and I Was There

Lynn Hasselberger, Green Page Editor of Elephant Journal, posted some great photos and account of the “Forward on Climate” rally and march on 2/17  in Washington, D.C.  just a day after we participated along with an estimated 40,000 others.  And here, I haven’t even posted anything on Activist’s Diary about it until now.

When Ellen Gunter, eco-spirituality author and asked me why I went, in an interview she did with me for a related Elephant Journal article, I said “Well, should we start with my 8th grade science teacher, Mr. Kahn, who, during the height of the 1970s environmental movement, assigned us the project of building futuristic communities that could sustain the portended damages wrought upon our surroundings?”

My son & I before the march. NO KXL in lipstick. (Note: No, that's not real fur.) Photo taken (and lipstick provided) by Laura Sabransky

Lynn & her son before the march. NO KXL in lipstick. (Note: No, that’s not real fur.) Photo taken (and lipstick provided) by Laura Sabransky

“Or, should I mention my college environmental science professor, whose glint in his eye while discussing overpopulation motivated me to move to Washington D.C. in the mid-80s to take an uppaid internship with National Audubon’s International Population Program?”

Instead, I said, “Let’s just fast-forward to a couple months ago, when I saw the award-winning documentary, “Chasing Ice,” and vowed that I would participate in the next major, organized effort to bring the critical issues surrounding climate change to the fore.”

As of April 2, President Obama has not made a public announcement about whether he will approve or reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

In the mean time:
~ The State Department has issued an report,  funded partially by oil companies that is not truthful about the negative environmental impact of the pipeline;
~ The strictest smog pollution standards in our history were passed by the EPA, and
~ Over the weekend, Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day of crude, was shut down after it leaked untold thousands of barrels of oil near the town of Mayflower, Arkansas.

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“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” ~ President Barack Obama

Every day that passes is another day that Keystone XL goes unapproved, and another opportunity for us to tell the State Department and President Obama that you are among the majority of citizens who understand that human actions are creating climate chaos, and you want President Obama to stand by his words that he will put people before politics when it comes to the future of our planet.

Read and see more in Lynn’s article, published in Elephant Journal,
February 18, 2013