This morning I quickly popped into the hardware store for some wood sealant (new bookcase, yay!). While I was waiting for my payment to go through a sales rep came in and started chatting to the cashiers. Her arm was in a sling and it came out that she had been in an accident.
She was waiting for oncoming traffic before making a right-turn (we drive on the left in SA) into town when someone slammed into her from behind going 160km/h(100mph) – double the speed limit at that point. His car dragged hers for over 100 metres. Her car, as she told it, cracked in half from the impact, back to front. The spare tyre (in the boot) was compressed to the shape of a rugby ball. His excuse? He was in a hurry. He even had the audacity to flash his lights at her as he approached.
She was lucky to walk away from the accident with only a torn muscle in her arm. But she cannot drive, even if she had a car, so she cannot visit clients and cannot earn an income as her work is commission-based.
Walking home from the shop I thought of another incident I heard about this weekend. A journalist I follow on Twitter was held up at gunpoint in his home with his wife and daughters on Saturday while his house was ransacked (his word). Thankfully no one was hurt, at least not physically. But the emotional trauma and lost property is a fact they have to live with now.
Both these incidents occurred because someone was selfish. In both cases innocent people, just doing their jobs and trying to live their lives as best they could, contributing their bit to the world, were hurt because someone else did not care about fair play, or compassion, or respect, but simply took what they wanted because they could.
When did our world become like this? When did it become okay to harm others simply because you can?