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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Like its sibling, Anger, the Desire for Vengeance is an intensely damaging longing for people to find necessary to carry around in their hearts and minds. It just makes the situation worse. That's why the responses to 9/11 -- the Patriot Act, Gitmo, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the dispatching of sniper teams and abductors over large parts of the globe, the "renditions," the secret prisons, the torture, the politically motivated terror alerts -- did nothing to ennoble the U.S., even in its own eyes, and the effect has been the opposite instead.

Having experienced the definite confirmation of it myself, the sudden, unexpected, and far too early deaths of loved ones (though not through murder), I found that there is one aspect of such an experience that rears high over all other considerations, and that is the absolute finality of it. You are hit hard by the cold, overwhelming fact that no case of mistaken identity, no miracle of medicine or science, or even prayers can ever bring that person back to the bubbling, vivid state in which you always saw him or her.

It hardly matters, then, what actually killed that loved one, nor do the surrounding circumstances. All that matters is the utter impossiblity of getting that person back, alive and whole. And after those first wrenching moments of being told, that's what one grieves in all the years to come, every time something comes up that causes you to feel a great need to consult that person.

And if any of those occasions had been cases of murder, I strongly doubt that I would have given much thought as to who did it and why. That's because I lump the misdeeds of men (and the several vicious harridans) in with natural disasters, as being all a part of the many dangers of living, and also I'm extremely fortunate in that vengeance is an almost non-existent part of my mental apparatus. I don't worry much about what's been done to me. I don't feel responsible for that. But I do worry a lot about things I've done.

That's why I have no understanding of why the families of murder victims are often so interested in attending the executions of the murderers. What do they get out of that? Doesn't that make them almost as bad as the murderers themselves? And it doesn't bring back the victim, which would be the only thing that would interest me.


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