For 24 hours, the TV has been increasing its death tolls and trying to figure out if any of the latest Paris killings constitute an act of terror. For another day, I rued my lot in life to be covering local government when there is so much pain and suffering elsewhere in the world. Preparing my weekly articles from the city/county meetings, I got to quote our luminaries speaking about buildings that would transform even reprobates like me into Leonardo da Vinci, and relive moments where developers and capitalists were scolded as the bane of society and the root of all evil. Even in our community, two girls’ bodies were recently found in the French Broad River. A well-adjusted person would shrug and say let the families grieve and then go off and demonize somebody for building a large or rectangular building. The murderous punks in Paris were innocents reaching for an identity. Tall buildings have surely exacted larger tolls on society.

It would be so easy, and I would be so popular if I would throw in the towel and play along with the victim grievance lobby. But then I’m reminded of all the political and scientific prisoners, religious martyrs, and others who suffered for truth, mercy, and justice. I recall how the new year opened with the brave, lighted words “NOT AFRAID” marching in the Place de la Republique following the Charlie Hebdo massacre. And then I wonder how the world would be different if everybody had the guts to get in touch with and stand up for what they truly believed, come what may.