It’s a beautiful day and I’m thoroughly enjoying my morning walk. I’m alert to how uneven the terrain is where my feet are hitting the ground. As I examine the road for safe footing, I grow increasingly aware of the many animals that have been flattened under the wheels of cars. We have a term for it — roadkill. Now that my attention is focused on it, my thoughts are taking some creative turns.
Roadkill is a cruel example of Darwinism in action. Animals that are either slow to move, weak, previously injured, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, are weeded out by nature. In the wild, predators see slow animals as an easy kill. When they appear on a highway, motorists are unable to stop their thousand-pound moving vehicles from running over them.
Among the animals that comprise roadkill are chipmunks, squirrels, turtles, and deer. Sometimes wandering domestic animals are also struck by vehicles unable to brake before hitting them. Unfortunately they too become roadkill.
If we use roadkill as a metaphor, what else qualifies? What other circumstances create disastrous collisions of things or ideas that end in a killing?
The other day in a meeting, someone stomped the life out of an idea. Roadkill.
A parent yells at his child in front of her friends, creating deadly embarrassment. Roadkill.
A headline in the newspaper reveals a private fact that destroys the reputation of a public figure. Roadkill.
An elderly person asks her doctor an intelligent question about her health. The doctor looks past the patient and directs his answer to the caregiver. Roadkill.
Leaders of warring factions memorialize their power by dispatching young soldiers and attack missiles to search out enemies, and innocent populations are decimated. Roadkill.
I’ve redefined roadkill to be any time something with a huge power advantage crushes something smaller and vulnerable.
May we never experience roadkill – as either the driving force, or the unfortunate victim.