Friday, July 08, 2011

But By The Grace of God

I was just reading about the story from Grand Rapids about some guy who apparently killed his ex-girlfriend, her family, his child, and whoever else; and how he went on a "rampage" throughout Grand Rapids trying to escape, shot at police, drove down the wrong side of the highway, crashed into a ditch, ended up busting into a house to take hostages, and finally killed himself while the police were trying to coax him to surrender.  And I don't know how much of this is accurate at this point, but the whole thing sickens me. 

And naturally, our sympathies go out towards the victims and their families and loved ones, and it's at this point that I always hope maybe there is some sort of afterlife that makes everything better.  But for as much as it seems absolutely wrong to feel sorry for the killer, I just have to.  Because he was a human too, and as wrong as what he did was, there can be no doubt that he'd have done things differently had he been able to.

Because he can't have wanted it this way.  I'm sure he was overwhelmed with horrible feelings, felt trapped into reacting based upon out-dated animal instincts, and must have felt the whole world crushing in on him before finally killing himself.  And again, it's at this point that I hope for an afterlife with a forgiving god of some sort that can make this guy feel better.  When I even try to imagine the despair he must have felt before he pulled the trigger it makes me sick to my stomach.

Because in the end we're all just stupid animals trapped into a society that was never meant for us, and we should all be thanking the heavens that we weren't born in his shoes, experienced what he experienced, and ended up like he ended up.  For as much as we all want to pat ourselves on the back for being great, we don't deserve any of it. 

From the time we're conceived until the time we die we're all stuck on a one-way railway built on genetics, learned behavior, and fate.  There is no other alternative and if you believe that you would have lived this guy's life differently than he did than you're simply deluding yourself.  The very concept is an absurdity and I'm constantly amazed that anyone tries to argue otherwise.

The whole thing was sad from start to finish.  There were no winners here.  And as much as it was possibly a sensible decision he made to kill himself, this wasn't justice.  There can be no justice in this sort of story.  A man going to jail for stealing from the elderly can face justice.  In this story, it's sad all the way around.  And I read comments on the story from people gladly denouncing the guy, wishing that we could destroy him while he was alive, and reveling in his ignominious death at the end; and it just breaks my heart even more.

And yes, I definitely believe we must punish wrong-doers, though I place far more emphasis on rehabilitation than most folks.  And if we punish people, we shouldn't be happy about it.  Justice is a necessity of life, but it doesn't bring back the dead or make the victims' families any happier.  I just hope some day mankind can get past our primate urges and can live amongst each other as civilized beings.  Until then, we just have to be kind to each other and understanding when people need to be understood, and hope that we can receive the same in return.

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