Ever since I was a child, I’ve always had a fascination with maps. Sometime circa 1990 I had a world map and a United States map hanging on the wall beside my bed. (yes, I was already heading down the road to geekdom as a 10 yo). I can remember writing out a table of states and capitols and tacking it to the wall between the two maps. I would spend hours looking at the maps and trying to memorize as much as I could.
Fast-forward to the summer of 2000… During the first three weeks of August, I hiked ~170 of the Long Trail. I started at the Canadian border and made it all the way to Killington. Even on such a well-marked trail, having a good guidebook with myriad maps was invaluable.
In the spirits of youthful indulgence and exploration, I’m going to start posting a map whenever I walk a route I haven’t walked before.
First up, my route to work yesterday:
When I heard about the attacks in Paris, I was deeply saddened, and appalled in a manner very similar to a sunny Tuesday way back in September 2001. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in Paris, or to have family or close friends in France right now. My heart goes out to anyone who hasn’t yet heard from one of the unaccounted for. And to those who won’t ever hear the voice of a loved one again.
As terrible as this attack is, when I woke up this morning there was a seed of hope in my mind, amidst all the chaos and confusion. Yes, Syria is a complete shitshow. Yes, ISIS is major player in said shitshow and yes, even with the recent victory in Sinjar, ISIS is still more dangerous than Al-Queda ever was. Until yesterday, their campaign of terror was largely contained to the Mideast and social media. Because of this, for a large part of the world, ISIS seemed like a hurricane viewed from space, that is, a big problem, but a problem that didn’t really have a direct effect on the observer (unless of course you actually lived in Iraq, Syria, etc… but I digress).
Much like 9/11, what happened yesterday made “somebody else’s problem” a “first world problem”. Going forward from here, I hope that we’ll see a change in global attitudes regarding both the civil war in Syria and more broadly, how ISIS at large should be dealt with. Remember all the international goodwill the United States had in the years following September 11th? That same sentiment is now pouring into Paris. Perhaps this time world leaders will build genuine consensus to fight ISIS instead of using half-truths and outright lies to manufacture a false consensus a la Iraq circa 2003.
For now, pray for the people of France, pray for Paris, pray for healing, pray for the dead and injured. There will be plenty of time for war later, now is the time for compassion.