If only we could go back in time and make a few minor changes

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I was watching the movie “About Time” recently about a young man who can travel back in time and fix his blunders. What a great way to go through life – just squeeze your fists in a dark place and get a redo.

That would be an incredible tool to have, not only to fix blunders in a relationship, like in the movie, but other things to avoid a few blunders important people have made throughout history.

But first, I would go back in time and buy a lotto ticket with the wining number to relieve some of the financial pressures. It always helps to know the number when it comes to hitting the Mega Million jackpot.

That’s enough selfish behavior. Let’s go to saving the world.

I’d travel back to June 28, 1914, to Sarajevo, Bosnia, to a hospital that was treating Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand after a failed assassination attempt there. I would track down his chauffeur and give him a map from the hospital to where the archduke was staying.

I would also make sure that he memorized the route, so he wouldn’t make that fatal wrong turn that started World War I.

That turn put the coach right in front of the assassin, who killed both Ferdinand and his wife. Pure coincidence. One turn changed world history.

If the driver still made a wrong turn and the assassinations still took place, there were other options to keep world peace.

In Vienna, Austria, Ferdinand was not really all that well liked. The people of Austria didn’t make such a big deal of the assassination. That weekend, they continued to go about their merry ways as if nothing had happened.

I would stay in Bosnia for a while and convince the Austrian-Hungarian authorities there not to make a big deal of it, either. They fanned the flames of hatred and pitted everyone against each other to revenge the assassination.

But, giving the driver good directions would be easier.

If this one correct turn stopped WWI, that would have saved a lot of the world’s problems. They may have found another reason to start it, but it would not have been this one.

If it does not start, then WWII doesn’t happen, either, because that was a direct result of WWI. That one correct turn could have saved millions of lives and Europe from destruction – twice.

It looks like the more things change, the more they stay the same. Small changes could be preventing violence today.

I would squeeze those fists and travel back July 17, to eastern Ukraine, by the Russian border, and look for a big vehicle with lots of rockets on them.

“Hey, idiots, don’t fire that thing. You’re shooting at an airliner, not a Ukrainian cargo plane,” I would say it in a more diplomatic manner. I woudn’t want to be shot while delivering this important message.
We could apply this to just about every major violent incident throughout humanity. Just changing one little thing would alter a lot of history.

I really liked “About Time.” I’m a sucker for romantic movies with happy endings.

But life is not a movie. You get one shot at it.

After stirring up a lot of hatred, the Austrian-Hungarian government in July 1914 delivered 10 demands to Serbia to avoid being attacked. Serbia agreed to eight.

I would be squeezing my fists again and traveling back. “Come on. You’re two demands away from not having to destroy Europe and kill 14 million people. Can you just come to an agreement on the remaining two? Let’s keep talking.”

On July 28, 2014, war was declared between these two empires.

There was still hope, though. More fist squeezing.

“Hey, old guys who make important decisions. Let them duke it out. Who cares? Don’t worry about those complicated treaties. Nobody understands them, anyway. Let the Austrian-Hungarians and Serbia have their war, and be done with it.”

I can solve all the world’s problems. All I need is a time machine or the ability somehow to go back and redo.

“Hey, Adolf. You’re a great painter. The art school that rejected you earlier is now letting you in to attend. Keep painting.”

I can think of many more little twists and turns at the right place and time, but it’s time to watch another movie, this one about how the world is being sucked into a black hole.

No solutions here. Time travel is over, along with everything else.