Urban Legends: Southaven Park

This is not your typical urban legend dating back generations with subtle variations.  It is also atypical in that it is not about the spirit or ghost of someone who was “done wrong”.  This is a UFO story, and it took place November 24, 1992.

Southaven Park is a county park located in Shirley, NY (and less than 10 minutes from my house).  It borders Sunrise Highway, a main drag running East/West and William Floyd Parkway, one of the few roads in the county that runs from North shore to South shore.  It is also important to mention that this park is a five minute ride from the federally funded Brookhaven National Laboratory.

On the day in question, people living near the park and people travelling on Sunrise Highway reported seeing a “tubular object” falling from the sky, which disappeared into the woods in Southaven Park (among these eyewitnesses was the father of a friend of mine).  Within minutes helicopters were circling the park and scientists from the lab were on the scene.  Police and firemen were turned away by military personnel.  William Floyd Parkway and the Sunrise Highway service road were blocked for hours, and the park and surrounding area were closed for weeks, heavily guarded by park and county police.  When asked why the park was closed, the police responded that it was duck hunting season.

During the incident and the weeks that followed, nearby residents reported power surges, electronic interference, drained car batteries, and telephones ringing when no one was on the line.  Aerial photos also showed a large area where the trees were flattened, but residents also reported hearing the sounds of heavy machinery from the park, during this time.

A UFO?  Some experiment from the laboratory, gone wrong?  Town and police records do not indicate ANY type of occurence that day.

Freedom vs. Security

What is more important to you?  Freedom or security?

This is a hot topic in the US lately.  It seems that the people of this country are trading their freedoms one by one with the hope that this will enable our government to make us more secure.

Personally, I value my freedom over my security, and I’ll tell you why.  I’ve grown up in a country that told me that I have the right to my own opinion and to voice that opinion, I have the right to choose what religion I wish to follow, I have the right to choose my career path, to make decisions about my own body, and to do pretty much anything I want to do, so long as I’m not causing anyone harm.  I first learned this in school.  They taught me that people fought and died for me to have these freedoms.  I also learned in school, that not every country has the same freedoms, and that I should be grateful for what we have here.  They taught me to love my country and to love my freedom.

Since learning the above, I’ve come to my own conclusions about how MY life should be.  I know what I like and what I don’t like because no restrictions were placed on me.  I always have a choice, and though some of lifes choices may be difficult, they’re mine to make.  I take responsibility for my success and my failure.  I am where I am (and you are where you are) because at some point, this is where I chose to be.

Another reason I value my freedom over my security is that, NOBODY can guarantee my security.  The government cannot keep me safe from every threat no matter how much power we give them.  Nothing in life, except death, is guaranteed.  Life is not always easy or fair.  That’s just the way it is, whether you want to accept it or not.

If I die tomorrow, I may not have lived a long life, but I spent it the way I chose to.  I would know that I spent it with the people I love, doing the things I love, having my own mind.  And that, to me, means more than all the security in the world.

Optimist, Pessimist or Something Else? (Post a Week – Topic #32)

I usually describe myself as a “glass half empty” person trying to become a “glass half full” person.  That is until a friend of mine said something that changed my outlook on the optimist vs. pessimist perspective.  He said “An optimist may see the glass as half full, and a pessimist may see the glass as half empty, but a realist sees the glass as much too big for his needs.”

He went on to say that, although I may consider myself a pessimist, I recognize that being a pessimist keeps me from enjoying life to the fullest.  The fact that I not only recognize this, but I continue to try to change my thought patterns by consciously being aware of my thoughts, means that I’m more of a realist.

Being a realist means seeing things as they really are, not how we want or expect them to be.  I think in most cases, a pessimist expects too often.  They expect your news to be bad, they expect that in any given situation, they will be burdened in some way or taken advantage of.  Whereas an optimist is more likely to see things the way they want them to be.  This is a generalization, of course.  By no means am I saying that all pessimists and optimists are the same.

I consider myself a realist, now.  By rejecting the label of “pessimist”, I am doing myself a favor, as well.  Thinking myself a pessimist, only makes me more pessimistic.  After all it’s a negative label, and implies there is something wrong with me.

I am who I am.  I may not always see the glass as half full, but I try to look at the good and the bad in every situation.  Seeing things the way they are helps me keep things in perspective.  That may not work for everyone, but it works for me.  What else can I ask for?

Are you an optimist, a pessimist or a realist?