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The Poetry of Humanity

June 14, 2010

My latest post at NewsReal:

“You gotta try and save them. It’s pretty simple.”

My dearest friend tweeted those words, “the poetry of humanity”, in response to an article link. The article, from The Independent, is about an 84 year old man, Don Ritchie,  in Australia who has stopped an estimated 160 suicides at a cliff in Australia. The poetry of humanity is something we often forget, in these hard and anger inducing times. Because so many deny there is true evil in this world, we must focus on pointing it out and showing the grave, and often deadly, error in the ways of tolerating evil under the guise of  multiculturalism, for instance. It can get overwhelming at times and awfully dispiriting.

But the other side of that coin, and another reason for which we are all fighting to expose such things, is that while there is such a thing as evil, there is also such a thing as good. Don Ritchie, epitomizing the good and the “poetry of humanity” sums up it this way:

Mr Ritchie, who lives across the street from The Gap, is widely regarded as a guardian angel who has shepherded countless people away from the edge.

What some consider grim, Mr Ritchie considers a gift.

“You can’t just sit there and watch them,” he said, perched on his beloved green leather chair, from which he keeps a watchful eye on the cliff outside.

“You gotta try and save them. It’s pretty simple.”

It is pretty simple. Humanity itself is simplistic at it’s very core. But we, in our “enlightened” states, now tend to try to over-think and rationalize all,  instead of just embracing gut instincts and our hearts. We’ll create massive bureaucracies, full of “experts” to solve every little possible problem. Mr. Ritchie knows the basic truth: You gotta try and save them. It’s pretty simple.

Local officials say around one person a week commits suicide there and in January, Woollahra Council applied for nearly £1.2 million government funding to build a higher fence and tighten security.

In the meantime, Mr Ritchie keeps up his voluntary watch. The council recently named him and his wife of 58 years, Moya, 2010’s Citizens of the Year….

But he remains available to lend an ear, though he says he never tries to counsel, advise or pry. He just gives them a warm smile, asks if they would like to talk and invites them back to his house for tea. Sometimes, they join him.

A warm smile. A human touch. An utterly selfless heart filled with pure good and caring. His compassion resulted in him nearly losing his own life once, yet, he continues to do it:

In his younger years, he would occasionally climb the fence to hold people back while his wife called the police. He would help rescue crews haul up the bodies of those who could not be saved and would invite the rescuers back to his house afterwards for a comforting drink.

It nearly cost him his life once. A chilling picture captured decades ago by a local news photographer shows Mr Ritchie struggling with a woman, inches from the edge. The woman is seen trying to launch herself over the side – with Mr Ritchie the only thing between her and the abyss. Had she been successful, he would have gone over too.

The families of those Mr. Ritchie wasn’t able to save from themselves are comforted by the thought that their loved one felt a kind human touch and looked into the eyes of a caring soul before they left this earth. Mr. Ritchie shows us the best of humanity and he serves as a reminder to all that every life has meaning and every soul has a purpose. That in this world, even when seeing only bleakness and despair, you need never feel alone – look for the poetry of humanity. It’s there, in unexpected places.

Evil vs. Good. The tireless Mr. Ritchie shows us the power of one selfless free soul, of spine and heart, of human touch and a warm smile. Humanity pared down to it’s most simple, yet most powerful, poetic and profound form.

Thank you, Mr. Ritchie.


(Originally posted at NewsReal🙂

4 Comments leave one →
  1. macleod permalink
    June 14, 2010 1:18 pm

    When my wife and I became foster parents, we did so to take medically fragile babies( I’m a doc and she’s a nurse). We still had our two older kids at home and it was a stress taking care of these really sick kids. Once we were available, we would sometimes get two or three calls a day, asking if we could take another baby. The need was just overwhelming, and we felt guilty because we couldn’t do more. We ended up depressed and on the verge of quitting, when an older couple who had fostered dozens of kids reminded us that you can only do what you can do. We couldn’t take everybody, but we could make one baby’s life better at a time.
    It appears Mr. Ritchie figured that out too. I like that. “The poetry of humanity”. Something the Obamamessiah and the dems will never underatand.

  2. June 14, 2010 5:30 pm

    “Thank you Mr. Ritchie”, indeed.

  3. Molten permalink
    June 15, 2010 9:38 am

    Great human interest story. I don’t get your “evil vs good” angle though. I understand that Mr. Ritchie is “good,” but you seem to be implying that the evils of “multiculturalism,” “massive bureaucracies,” or “enlightenment” are the reasons that people are jumping off a cliff in Australia in the first place. That’s baloney. The majority of suicides result from an untreated mental illness, or events in a persons personal life that are usually unrelated to big picture issues such as multicuturalism or massive bureaucracies. Humanity is definitely not “simplistic at it’s very core”…We all have the potential for great evil. If you doubt this basic fact, you need look no further than The Asch Conformity Experiment, The Stanford Prison Experiment, or The Milgram Experiment to show you that good and evil exist in all humans.

  4. blackwatertown permalink
    June 19, 2010 9:42 pm

    What a wonderful guy. He must have great strength to keep going in the face of so much depression and destructiveness.

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