Friday, May 14, 2004

Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him

I feel compelled to comment on the atrocious murder of Nick Berg. I've read quite a few reactions, but have waited for my own internal turmoil to die down before attempting to put anything in words.

I grieve in sympathy with those who mourn this day. I grieve for the loss felt by us all. The world is less today.

There is no justification for such cold-blooded murder. These are animals, who cannot be allowed to roam freely around the globe. They will be apprehended. They will be held accountable.

The perpetrators are members of Al Queada. We know that they are twisted beings. We know they are killers. This should come as no surprise.

What outraged me was the distribution of the video. I have not seen it, and have no intention of seeing it. These twisted minds are counting on me viewing it. I won't give them that satisfaction.

As I have mentioned before, my life experience has made it clear to me that I am a killer. I suspect that in the dark interior recesses of most people resides a killer. Humans are capable of cold-blooded murder. There is no doubt in my mind that if an intruder came into my home and threatened my family, I would not hesitate to stop them, even if it meant killing them. There is little doubt in my mind that, if I were able, I would have killed the men in that video. There is a thin line that separates me from those men.

Let me say a bit about that thin line. If I were to kill an intruder, justified or not, I would still have to hold myself accountable to God. It is my belief that it is a very human characteristic to kill. I do not think that it is a divine characteristic. What I understand separates me from the rest of the animal kingdom is my conscious awareness of God. That awareness calls me to rise above my animal nature. That awareness calls me to a higher standard. That awareness informs me that the shedding of blood, the release of the nephesh, the life-force, is always a tragedy, is an act that grieves the heart of God, and makes this world a little smaller.

I am a killer that now refuses to kill, not because I am unable, not because I am weak, but because I am obedient to my Creator, the Life-Giver.

The human Jake says kill the bastards. But I hear another voice whispering in my ear. A voice that suggests that it is in our weakness that we discover our strength. Playing this ugly game on their level is to become just another manifestation of the spirit of death that seems of late to have a strangle-hold on us all. The violence must end. The end of this destruction begins with me.

And then, by extension of my ego, the violence must end within my family, my neighborhood, my faith community, my city, my state, my nation, and my world. But it has to begin with me.

I will not give in to such intimidation by animals. They need to be put in a cage to protect the innocent from their savagery. I will not give in to my own violent nature and desire for revenge. I will not call for their heads.

Actions speak louder than words. I will tell you of a symbolic action I am taking. It is a little thing, but quite big to me. I have a small single shot 20 gauge I've held on to, for "sentimental reasons." Once I decide the best way, I'm going to get rid of it. Demi never liked the thing anyway. I need to remove this implement of destruction from my life. The end of the violence has to begin with me. My response to this tragedy will be to listen to that whispering voice, and begin the act of disarmament within my own household. A small symbolic act; symbolic of my conviction that the killing must stop.

Grant, O Lord, to all who are bereaved the spirit of faith and courage, that they may have strength to meet the days to come with steadfastnes and patience; not sorrowing as those without hope, but in thankful remembrance of your great goodness, and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love. And this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

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