Tonight I was reading to my daughter from Trumpet Of The Swan. Serena the swan ends up in the Philadelphia zoo where Louis is staying while he has a job at a night club. The Head Man In Charge Of Birds is going to pinion her, so she has to stay at the zoo. Louis says she’s going to leave with him and the Head Man makes the case that they should stay at the zoo together forever.

If they stayed at the zoo they would never fear the fox, the skunk, the coyote. They would never fear the hunter. They would never eat lead from the bottom of the lake.

Louis says “Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom”. I tweeted that, and Sophi wanted to know what I was doing.

I told her the quote and told her it seemed particularly appropriate lately. I told her that when I was very young and you wanted to fly you simply bought a ticket and got on the plane. Then people started hijacking them so they starting using metal detectors and things. Nowadays they make you take off some of your clothes and your shoes and stand in front of a special camera so they can see you naked. She didn’t like that idea.

We also talked about guns. We talked about how some people think no-one should have any guns, and some people think we simply shouldn’t be allowed to have some kinds of guns, and some people think we should be able to have any kind of gun we want. Each of those people has a basis for their belief that stands on some form of a desire for safety or freedom.

We also talked about motorcycle helmets. Michigan recently made it so experienced riders don’t have to wear a helmet. They moved in the direction of freedom.

All of this was in the last few minutes before bed, and when we prayed together she prayed that people would be able to figure out what to do with freedom and safety. As soon as she said Amen she looked at me and said “What they need is balance.”

I had intended to talk to her about balance, and it made me so happy that she figured that out on her own.

2 thoughts on “Safety and Freedom

  1. I’ve always liked Ben Franklin’s statement, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

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