The nation collectively gasped — then gaped — at recent news of an entire family wiped out in Arizona. July 15 at the Cold Spring swimming hole near Payson, a group enjoying a refreshing desert splash one moment was overtaken by a sudden, debris-choked deluge the next. A father, mother, their children, plus extended family members perished – ten in total. A flash flood, generated by heavy thunderstorms eight miles away, transformed the combination birthday party/escape-from-100-degree-temperatures idyll into a death sentence. The “six-foot tall, 40-foot wide torrents of murky water … carrying tree trunks and logs the sizes of vehicles” arrived without warning. The victims had little reason to anticipate the catastrophe.
Except, this kind of menacing phenomenon isn’t all that uncommon in these sunbaked wildernesses. Torrential downpours flare up somewhere substantially upstream of an otherwise tranquil pool or riverbed and soon everything changes downstream; in worst case scenarios, fatalities befall those caught unawares. In fact, an incident similar to the Payson horror — this one thankfully only a near-calamity — developed over a week later when flash floods temporarily trapped seventeen hikers in a southern Arizona canyon.
Foxnews.com reports: in 1997, similar tragedies killed eleven near Page, AZ; and seven more in Utah in 2015.
Of course, this kind of disaster’s been unfolding across America, after a fashion, for a long time. Generally unforeseen societal “flash floods” are tearing Western Civilization to pieces, swallowing up its formerly extraordinary ways and institutions, drowning multitudes in the process. A cultural, legal or political squall erupts somewhere far off from most people who are busy working, playing, distracted. When the resultant torrent smashes into their worlds, perhaps decades later? They’re swept away, bumfuzzled at how it was allowed in the first place.
Consider 1973’s Roe v. Wade: that sulfurous specimen of Supreme Court dunderheadedness which greased the skids for what has become today’s commonplace slaughter of pre-born human beings. Originally authorizing the legal go-ahead for abortion only until the third-trimester, Roe functionally ignited the eventual status quo: scores of millions of unborn children snuffed out since the infamous decision; babies killed even in the final weeks of their uterine life, including as they’re literally emerging from the womb.
This abomination was often, initially, sold as a solution for “extreme cases” — rape, incest, mother’s life. Nowadays, gestating offspring are executed routinely for the most pedestrian of reasons: money, career, convenience.
Parents’ extinguishing their progeny has become a blood-soaked, legally-ratified Niagara.
When homosexuals rioted near Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn tavern in 1969, observers might’ve been fleetingly puzzled or intrigued, perhaps even wryly amused; but few paid it much enduring attention. The violent eruption seemed a distant shower of quirkiness, not much else.
Who could’ve predicted the protest would light a fuse for the “gay rights” movement, sparking law-oriented and legislative battles camouflaged in “civil-rights” jargon? A mere generation later, not only can Biff and Bob marry with high court-enforced approval, but those who dare object to the lavender monsoon are smeared “bigots”, “haters”, “homophobes”.
Christian photographers, bakers and property owners see their enterprises squashed because they decline facilitating faux-matrimonials. Child service organizations who cling to conventional understandings of “family” are bullied into expediting adoptions to “two-daddy” or “two-mommy” households.
Next, mentally-troubled males donning dresses, bras and panty-hose or females wanting to make-believe they’re fellas, and those who mutilate their bodies into a simulacrum of the opposite “gender”, are winning a crusade to arm-twist everyone else into going along with their yecchy delusions. The bearded guy with the long, blonde wig is allowed inside the little girls’ bathroom. The gal with the butch cut and lumberjack shirt has access to the urinals. You will call him, “her” — will play along that she’s a “he” – will hire him?/her?/whatever to staff your business.
So: millennia-preserved sexual boundaries thrown overboard; religious liberty under assault — and basic language, too. Most of yesteryear’s sensible folks never imagined this cascade.
’69’s “Summer of Love” — a transitory cultural hiccup? Nah — Mark Hendrickson properly defines it a glamorized season of “drugs, sex, and rock’n’roll”. More accurately, then, it was a Summer of Lust; whose seeds have germinated into the “anything goes” moral relativism overtaking every aspect of modern society. The reckless philosophical squall of nearly half-a-century removed has crested to a flood of fissiparous squalidness.
God was broomed from America’s public schools in the earlier part of that decade: no more school-wide prayer (1962), official Bible reading banished (1963). By 2017? Some government educators cringe at class-discussions even treating the Bible as literature; it’s not unusual for valedictorians or guest speakers to be prohibited from electively mentioning the Creator in graduation or other school addresses; increasingly, any tip of the hat to “Christmas” is shunned: no carols, no performances, no decorations. No kidding. Should teachers extend simply a bare-bones acknowledgment of “Intelligent Design” theory in science class? They’re courting job-imperiling scandal.
What debuted a secularist, God-hostile mere rivulet sure didn’t stay that way.
In 1939, on the silver screen Clark Gable immortalized “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d*mn.” On the smaller screen twenty-eight years on, Captain James T. Kirk snapped, “Let’s get the h*ll out of here”. Both snippets of dialogue raised some hackles in their time, but Hollywood gallopingly moved on and fans got to sniggering at how harmless it all was. Today? F-bombs detonating, God’s name being blasphemously and routinely misused and lewd jabber overwhelm. It’s a de rigueur, feculent tide courtesy of contemporary television and film. Tough to avoid anymore.
America’s welfare system? Allegedly designed as a minimalist, last-ditch “safety net” for a comparative few, it has mutated into a full-blown retirement or unemployment program for hundreds of millions. Tax-payer subsidized food stamp usage? Skyrocketing. Multitudes of “disabled” individuals are being underwritten to spend their days at leisure, perfecting their selfies, pontificating on Facebook, sleeping in, hanging out.
“A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second;” alerted Thomas Jefferson; “that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to mere automatons of misery”.
His colleague James Madison explained, “It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties … The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents.”
Yes, “precedent” counts. Lately, it’s considered trendily sophisticated to mock the “slippery slope” danger – but that threat remains a legitimate one, especially when it ushers in “flash floods” churning with annihilative potential.
Inauspicious beginnings matter; a careless spark in the tinder-pile is never something to ignore.
What “flash floods” are building today? Societal “storms”, shortsightedly disregarded upstream, but deepening from trickles into streams, then deluges, roaring towards tomorrow?
The Proverbs writer urges “the prudent” to “hide himself” (22:3) at the first hint of approaching evil; to stopper “strife” promptly (17:14), like plugging a watery leak. Again, leaks can transmogrify into irrepressible, devastating surges.
And as Arizona harrowingly reminds us: sometimes surges are recognized too late.
Images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/5924644421/Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)