Thursday, December 6, 2007

Omaha Dateline: 12/05/07 - I want to know what madness is

I want to know what madness is, and where its edges and beginnings are.

What path does a twisted mind travel that can explain taking pride in the slaying of innocents? What slight was so great that it warrants wanton murder and destruction? I cannot, nor can most of us, fathom such a course of action. Yet, I must explore my own reaction to the carnage I witness daily through the intense media coverage.

What do I feel? I feel a mad and all-consuming rage. I cannot talk of the scenes I saw without moist eyes and a thickening throat. “Drawing and quartering is too good for them!” “I hope they don’t make it to the courtroom.” “I hope someone puts them in a hut in the middle of nowhere and blows them up, and they are rendered so much bloody smoke.”

These thoughts - turgid dirty waters - wend their way through my mind, and spew forth as I voice to them to friends and casual acquaintances. They all no concurrence and add a few suggestions of their own. With froth and foam, we fume at those who did this heinous thing. Our thoughts are so unclean, so unkind, and yet how like our kind - humankind.

There dwells in each of us the potential for murder and mayhem - good and evil. We daily foray. We parry and weigh the outcomes. It is a fine line between love and hate; tolerance and rage; life and death; sanity and insanity. Even the cloak of christian charity and forgiveness is thin and tattered comfort against the gale that assails this land of ours. Will we add our venomous breath to that assault? Will we allow our judgement to falter, or can we maintain the grace to meet out justice? Can we take a page from gospel, and forgive them for their crime and ourselves for contemplating in kind?

I have no answer, only questions. I want to know. Where is the edge of madness, that I might skirts it farthest hem, and gods forbid I venture in. If I do, where will it end?

© Perle Champion

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