I spent weeks over the summer combing through the shelves of bookstores looking for an old favorite Stephen King book I read as a teenager - "The Stand."
I finally found a copy last week and proceeded to speed through it. The premise is a government-generated super flu is accidentally released, killing the vast majority of people around the world and leaving the survivors to choose sides in a battle of good and evil.
Humankind sits on a precipice and a select few must "stand" against evil in the form of a demon-man named Randall Flagg, AKA "The Walking Dude."
They succeed, but we are left wondering if man truly learned from his mistakes or if a society would just be recreated unmindful of its past transgressions. There was a cheesy made-for-TV miniseries based on the book made in about 1994 that didn't do the story justice. Stephen King is much more than a master of horror, he is a literary genius who can turn a word or a storyline as easily as I turn each page of his books eager for the next plot twist.
It's deep stuff.
Reading it some 20 years later definitely brought a different perspective to the novel and also left me wondering, if such a disaster were to strike today, could man survive, and would he choose the "white" magic over the dark? Some days, I'm not so sure. Perhaps King, too, is searching for that answer as his novels often pit good versus evil. Sometimes good wins, but sometimes it doesn't.
That's realistic. Too often it seems evil wins. It's not that I have no respect or hope for us as a society, but rather question what our true priorities are and how much further we can sink. Take a look at the news on any given day and you will find it is filled with disturbing events - so disturbing at times one is left to wonder - where have we gone wrong?
Just last week a San Antonio woman with a history of schizophrenia dismembered her 3-1/2 week old son and ate parts of him. She said the devil made her do it. That statement seems farfetched for many of us today. Or, it sounds like an excuse, a cop out. "The devil made me do it so I can't be responsible. Put me in a padded cell. I can't be held responsible." But is it really an excuse? Such an evil act certainly can't be dismissed so easily. Otty Sanchez has a long history of mental illness and should have never gotten pregnant. But it's too late for that. It's always the innocent who are hurt.
Also last week, a California man was tried again for the murder of his daughter. In 2000, Cameron Brown allegedly threw his 4-year-old daughter off a cliff because he didn't want to pay child support.
A Georgia man last weekend killed his wife of 57 years and their grandson and no one seems to know why. The three all faced medical problems, but according to reports the Doby family was a close-knit, happy one. The family will likely never know what possessed George Doby to shoot his loved ones several times before turning the gun on himself.
Each day more and more such stories appear and all we can ask is "why?"
Is it that we have lost our way? I think each of us is faced with moments in life when we must make our own Stand. The question is, which side will we choose at the pivotal moment?
Nicole Perez is the General Manager for the Nueces County Record Star. Readers may contact her at (361) 664-6588.