Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Friday, December 14, 2012

"This is nothing that we see too often..."

"This is nothing that we see too often..." random response - individual not named.

Unfortunately, that statement is not too accurate, if you follow the news reports of spree killings across the world. Let's restrict focus for a bit, and just take a look at America, where I currently live. The short existence of this blog has seen the tragedies of Aurora, Milwaukee, and even one in my own backyard, here in Minneapolis. I was not shocked by the breaking news of another incident of wanton violence so close to home. These reports had become commonplace, and while I could never predict the location of the next killing spree, it was only a matter of time.

Contemplation leads me to the question why, but I am left bereft of answers, wallowing in murk that will never clear. Each and every time, I sit down and try to think through the event-chain, from the decision to sell all of one's belongings to the moment of opening fire. What led them down this path?

***

War - - Shì

Weapons are tools of ill omen
wielded all too often by the ignorant.
If their use is unavoidable,
the wise should choose to act
responsibly, with restraint.
The greatest sorrow is to bear witness
to the atrocities of humanity.

~inspired by / taken from the writings of Deng-Ming-Dao 


When you hold a weapon in their hands, you can sense the character within. It begs to be used; it is fearsome. Its only purpose is one of death, and its power is not simply the result of the material from which it is crafted but also the intention of the weapon-smith.

It is most regrettable that weapons must sometimes be used, but occasionally in life, survival demands it. The wise go forth with weapons as the last resort, without rejoicing in their skillful use or glorying the aftermath of war.

Life appears cruel at times, when death and destruction are visited upon those you hold most sacred and you can do nothing to stop it. The spiritual price of such a tragedy is devastating. What pains an individual more than their own suffering is seeing those they love suffer instead. The regret that comes from seeing human beings at their worst cannot be easily rationalized or compartmentalized; there is no easy hole in which such emotions can fit. The void left in the wake of tragedy fills many with intense feelings of inadequacy, a self-generated backlash that more could have been done to avert disaster. The pain of not being able to help the victims sufficiently can never be redeemed.

If you must personally go to war against your fellow man, you must cross that line yourself. You may be forced to sacrifice your ideals for survival, or give in to the fury of killing. That alters you forever; more than you or anyone else can ever know. Do not rush to become a veteran.

Take time to think well before you embark upon a change so unalterable. The stakes are not merely one's life, but one's very humanity.

***

I will not give notoriety to the mass murderers of these sprees, and instead attempt to turn the table on the argument. Preventing aberrant