I came across an alleged case of road rage in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News which seems to confirm my long held contention that human beings are just plain nuts. Now, what I am proposing is not that some people are nuts all of the time or that all people are nuts some of the time but that all humans are nuts all of the time; right now, right this moment and you and me too.
The human conundrum is that “nuts’ is an altered state and logically if all humans are always living in altered states then no humans are qualified to judge Ms. Kimberly Al Homsi’s alleged actions on Tuesday afternoon somewhere along the LBJ Expressway in Richardson, Texas. And yet…

The allegation is that shortly before 5pm Ms. Homsi displayed a hand grenade to another driver, pulled the pin and made a motion as if to throw it at him. The other driver perceived her actions as a threat and he called the police. The police followed (WFAA-TV calls it a “chase”) Ms. Homsi’s white four door Toyota sedan into the neighboring community of Garland, to near the intersection of East Belt Line Road and North Shiloh Road, just west of the George Bush Turnpike.  Ms. Homsi then turned North onto Medical Plaza Drive and pulled into the parking lot at 3145, The Brighter Horizons Academy, an Islamic private school for pre-schoolers through grade 12. Ms. Homsi then picked up her teenage daughter and as she returned to Medical Plaza Drive the police pulled her over. As they approached her car they spotted “a couple” of hand grenades lying in the back seat.

The bomb squad’s remotely controlled robot removed three hand grenades from that back seat. They also found what they call “ammunition” in the car and pulled a rifle and a pistol and more ammo from the trunk. If this had occurred any place but Texas, all that firepower would have resulted in an immediate call to Homeland Security. But the best the Richardson police could come up at the time was to charge Ms. al Homsi with making a “bomb hoax, “since the grenades were real but lacked explosives. They locked her up for the night in the Richardson city jail. She was released on bond Tuesday morning.

By the next day police had realized that without explosives in the hand grenades the additional “ammunition” in the car had become more significant – it might have been used to “load” the grenades. The local press mentioned the possibility of looking into Ms. al Homsi’s mental condition. By this morning, Friday, the police were considering upgrading the charges against her to include making a terrorists threat.

A whole list of unanswered questions still surrounds this case. The police say they don’t know why Ms. al Homsi had the grenades or where she got them from.  I could find no word if her car and other “legal personal items” such as the rifle and hand gun and ammo from the trunk were returned to her upon her own release, or if the cops held them as possible evidence.

But the police must have been terrified when this “crazy” lady in a Toyota with a hand grenade pulled into the parking lot of an Islamic school.   Images of the Jewish school in Los Angeles at the mercy of the “nut” with the assault rifle must have flashed through their minds. There are about 100,000 Muslims in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and that’s enough to be noticed and hated. Or perhaps by that time the police had run the license plate and found the car’s owner was named al Homsi. That might explain why the police decided not to intervene until Ms. al Homsi was leaving the school grounds.  If so it was an interesting gamble on their part.

It is also interesting that no one seems to have any difficulty in identifying Ms. al Homsi’s actions as “bizarre”, “curious”, or even “intriguing”, all polite synonyms for “nuts”. But it is even more interesting that if we are being honest many of us who think what Ms. al Homsi did was “nuts” have ourselves while on L.A’s  405 or on the Van Wyck into Chicago, or the perimeter 285 around Atlanta wished that we had a hand grenade just to teach that stupid jackass preventing us from making an appointment on time or reaching our family members who might need us a real driving lesson.

Could it be that we know Ms. al Hamsi’s actions are “nuts” not because the rest of us are sane but because we are far to familiar with “nuts” ourselves?
I think so. I think the only people qualified to identify true nutty actions are people who know the territory, who can navigate the terrain because they actually live in nut country. Jesus Christ described the situation perfectly; “Judge not yest ye be judged” he said.  

Or, to put it our freeway vernacular, you don’t want to know who is driving the car in the lane next to yours. It could be a guy who just got fired or who ought to fired. It could be a guy who just found out his wife is cheating on him or a wife who just found out her husband is gay. It could a sixteen year old Goth-girl with a death wish or a twenty-something steroid addict you cut off yesterday. Or worse, it could be somebody just as nuts as you are.

That may not be a relaxing thought at sixty miles an hour in the middle of a traffic jam, but it should suggest that you should always drive defensively – if you’ve got hand grenades or not.

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