Sunday, June 14, 2009

Names on the List

On Wednesday we learned of another heinous crime. In my own heart I feel no pity for this twisted man. My concerns are for the family of the guard he murdered. I pray for his family and can only imagine the sorrow that pierces their hearts. I think of the other guards that stood and stopped this madman before he was able to make it fully into the museum building. As always they don’t seek the spotlight and if cornered by reporters they only mumble into jutting microphones “…I was only doing my job.” Humility is more becoming to a hero than any medal we could forge.

There are those criminals that have committed such unthinkable crimes that they are remembered and change the way that we think about our nation and ourselves. We could make a list with Lizzie Borden, Charles Manson, The Son of Sam, and on and on until we have convinced ourselves that we have seen every depravity that could possibly exist. Then the morning newspaper arrives and we have to start all over again.

We all know from Hobbes that “the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” But we lock our doors and bury our heads in the sand so we can pretend that evil won’t touch us. None of this deters evil. Blind hatred stalks us and our illusions about what we are. Evil will have to be confronted from now till the end of days. We can not change that fact. All that is left to us is to stand up to evil and by doing so to become the hero of our own story. This twisted madman wanted more than anything to add his name to that list of infamy. As a society we can stand up to him by forgetting him and remembering Stephen Tyrone Johns a gentle giant. We must choose if we want to endure.

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