Mars Landing, Bolt Flying,
Sikhs Dying: It’s Who We Are

 By Jim Berlin

On Sunday August 5th, wrapped in the span of a single rotation of planet Earth, three events told a story of who we are and what we can be – the good, the bad, and the glorious.

The good…on display in London when Usain Bolt, the Jamaican with the prophetic name, proved he is still the fastest man alive by demanding gold in the 100-meter dash. The Olympics are a celebration of the human body perfected, a wonderfully-created machine. And Bolt in motion – leaving the seven fastest men in the world in his wake – was the finest example of the Brewer’s art.

The bad…hours later and thousands of miles away, Oak Creek, Wisconsin. A dishonorably-discharged neo-Nazi kills six people in a Sikh temple. Sikhs, for godsake, people as far removed from radical Islam as you and I. But the men wear turbans, grow beards, and to the tiny brain of a neo-Nazi with a 9/11 tattoo they all look alike.

When a nephew of one of the Sikh victims learned of the deaths he offered one of the most beautiful descriptions of grief ever heard: “It was like the heart just sat down,” he said.

The glorious…same day, nearing midnight, 352 million miles away. Nine months after riding a rocket into space, the explorer Curiosity completes an incredible technological ballet and lands gently on the Martian surface.

We watch its human handlers at NASA’s 

Hugo Rheingold

Jet Propulsion Laboratory as their baby touches down…

…They are crazy with joy. This place, where they sit at their consoles, is the  Olympics of the Mind. Men and women not with chiseled bodies but brains of the highest order. People with curiosity and wonder and the tools to carry the imaginations of all of us to a place 352 million miles away.

It was a good way to end another day on planet Earth. It was like the heart just stood up.

The good, the bad, and the glorious. We will just have to live with it.

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