Unpredictable Fortune

You turn on the T.V. and anxiously wait for the numbers to be announced. “And the winning numbers are 16, 29, 46, 48, 55, and 2.” You look at your lottery ticket and the numbers match. Your heart starts pounding and thoughts start racing. Is this a dream? Did I just win the lottery? What am I going to do with $120,000,000? When thinking of the word fortune, people may automatically think of money or good luck. But fortune doesn’t have to be a good thing brought by nature, it can also be a spontaneous unplanned activity that brings bad luck, or an economic disaster.

Fortuna the term described by Nicolo Machiavelli is a future event that can’t be predicted and is beyond an individual’s control. In today’s society more people are struck by bad fortune by the use of fire arms. An example of bad fortune was seen on December 14, 2012. One of the worst school shootings occurred in history at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 students and 6 adults lost their life to a gunman. Three different guns were used by Adam Lanza, which included two hand guns and a rifle. In chapter XXV of The Prince, Machiavelli describes the importance of dealing with fate whenever it strikes. He argues that fortune can’t be controlled or prepared for, but intuition can be used to handle the situation. No one knew there was going to be a terrible gun shooting, and most importantly no one knew innocent school children would get killed.

To deal with spontaneous fortune you must do things that are courageous and others would disapprove of. Just imagine being in this situation, would you rather save yourself or give your life for a group of children? This question can be tough to answer, but in this case, I believe the leader or hero was Dawn Hochsprung, the principal. She took the role of the “prince” and altered her behavior during the shooting. Her initial reaction was to stop the gunman. Dawn was fearless with decision and her virtue was so save the school children. Virtue is a quality that a “prince” has that is difficult to change. Dawn was shot and killed by Adam. As the leader in this situation Dawn was quick to understand that the results she was hoping for would not go as planned. In The Prince, Machiavelli is hesitant to provide strict rules on the behaviors as a prince because he believes that it doesn’t matter if they follow the rules, but instead if they are prepared to break them when necessary. It is better to act without thinking according to the moment. In this case, Dawn broke the rules and reacted to the gunman’s actions and worrying about the children’s safety first. I believe Machiavelli would have considered Dawn as a leader because she took command and didn’t think to save her life first but do what was better for the school and community.

South Pasadena Library

South Pasadena Library

Additionally, the thought of committing a school shooting has increased throughout America. Teenagers and young adolescents are plotting school massacres. On August 19, 2014 two teenage boys were arrested for planning a “viable school massacre and wanting to kill as many people possible” at South Pasadena High School.

So when you hear the word fortune don’t automatically think of good luck, be aware that some results may be chaotic. Whenever fortune strikes it strikes, there is no way of predicting whether it will be for the best or worst.