Words By Cameron Higgins
Golden news: in a piece of Indiana Jones worthy awesomeness, the entire soccer team of teenage Thai boys and their coach were rescued from a cave in what was an intensely dangerous, terrifyingly dramatic underwater rescue operation. The boys and coach are all in stable condition. The rescuers performed the near-impossible feat of threading miles of flooded caves, outfitting the boys with scuba masks, then leading them through the pitch dark waters to safety. Remarkably, the boys’ coach was a former Buddhist monk who instructed them in meditative practice to keep them calm and energized. Despite the tragic death of a single rescue diver, this story is a nugget of positivity in a world increasingly polluted with the negative. We’re incredibly thankful for the rescue of the boys and in awe of the bravery and professional excellence of the rescue dive team.
Now that the kids are OK and the rescue was precisely executed, let’s take an analytical step back and consider a few things.
As mentioned earlier, the nightmarish drama of this event drew the world’s attention. It was also in a distant land…the narrative volume would’ve been even higher if this happened in a Coloradan box canyon; the outrage turned up to 11. Some would be talking about failure of government services, others would be talking about the bureaucratic incompetence of the Park Service. Other people would find other flaws in other things and get angry. Something either wonderful or terrible happened, and then there would be a media circus at ridiculously high volume. The kids would get lost in the noise, the coach excoriated and praised. People would have lots of feelings about this.
Something about the drama surrounding this event seemed…icky. From a safe remove, we watched every move unfolding. Even Elon Musk was given a thanks, no thanks for the mini submarine he built for the operation. It had a certain familiar and media-spectacular taste to it. It unfolded like a movie…and truly, thank the universe for the happy ending these twelve kids found.
Nonetheless, at home, there are thousand and thousands of kids terrified and isolated, waiting to be rescued and returned to their parents. This tragedy feels almost too heavy for our collective consciousness to process. The immigration travesty is not a dramatic rescue, it’s a nightmare of red tape and political evils. The suffering and peril of the kids separated from their parents is certainly different, but no less real than what the Thai kids went through. We couldn’t help the Thai kids in their cave, but we can do something to help the kids in American cages.
If we don’t, kids will drown in indifferent waters.
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