Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Destruction of Hate

People who judge without a measure of mercy
All the victims who will never learn
Even the lost ones, you can only give up on
Even the ones who make you burn

Thank your stars you’re not that way
Turn your back and walk away

Don’t even pause and ask them why
Turn around and say goodbye…

The ones who’ve done you wrong
The ones who pretended to be so strong
The grudges you’ve held for so long
It’s not worth singing that same sad song

- Wish Them Well, Rush

Have you ever seen a pack of domestic dogs react to a fight?  Unfortunately I have because eight dogs constitutes a pack and there would be the occasional temper flare up between two of them that could be no more than a snap and a growl if it was contained to just the dogs originally involved or something way more serious if the whole group was around.  Because if the other dogs could rush to the fray then it had the potential to become frenzied and chaotic.  They wouldn't know what they were fighting about necessarily, they were just in it for the blood lust because somewhere inside of them is a wolf pack mentality that has gotten confused and muddled over centuries of domestication.  So, while a wolf may fight to maintain order and control in order to survive, that is all handled now by the human caretakers and all they are left with is the deep seeded instinct to join in the fight for some long lost reason.   When I would break them apart, you could almost see it in their faces:  sort of a lost glazed over look like they couldn't quite figure out what just happened.  Like they had been hypnotized.  Sometimes one or the other of them would be shaking, the sheer force of the violence would be so shocking to them.  I've thought about that a lot as I've followed the case unfolding against the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, young Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who seemed like a once likable kid who is now a murderer.  I've wondered if he isn't like my pack of dogs, leaping into a fray that he didn't really understand.  Of course, I realize that as a matter of law, it's secondary to understand why he did what he did.  The why of it matters so that we, as a society, can recognize other seemingly likable young men or women who one day may unleash the hate locked in their hearts and stop them before they do anything with that hate.  But that's a very steep and slippery slope, particularly in a country predicated on personal freedom.  

Because, here's the thing, lots of us hate and we're not a national security threat.  So how do you tell who truly is?  As a matter of fact, a lot of people whose hearts are just as black as that boy and his brother think of themselves as Patriots.  Hate, prejudice and judgment are funny things, they are easy to acquire and seemingly free, but there is a cost to them I have found that is surprising because it is a personal one.  It consumes you like a fire and extinguishes other, better things.  But its flames do reach out and burn others before they devour the individual, so it is wholly destructive as well as self destructive and you wonder why people indulge themselves in it, what they seek from it, and what they think it gives them.  Somehow it made its way into our array of human emotions, so you assume that at some point in the evolution of man it served a purpose, like a dog's instinct to fight.  But, what purpose does it serve now and why do we cling to it?

I had a very personal taste of hatred over the weekend.  Or rather I should say my daughter did, but it reverberated through us all.  She received a message randomly from Kelsey's last boyfriend.  The one who was with her when she died.  His anger, after all this time, is white hot and directed straight at us.  We've had a lot of questions about that night, and I've had a theory that, in some ways, he affirmed, but it was clear that he has justified it in his mind and learned to live with it by convincing himself we were the reason that she died, and that we had failed and abandoned her.  To see Marissa so devastated by his words, seemingly coming out of no where, was heartbreaking.  It made me almost hate him as much as he professes to hate us.  And I've worked pretty long and hard not to feel that way toward him.  The reason being not for his sake, but for my own.  I would never move past Kelsey's death if I didn't.  And, make no mistake, it's not her death I want to mourn, it's the loss of her life.  There is a difference.  I don't care what happens to him, really.  I used to wish him dead, I won't lie.  I've always been afraid that he was such a destructive force that he wasn't done destroying people, and maybe I'm right about that.  But I would now rather for him to get clean and sober because I think, like ED, drugs are a Beast that clouds everything and take over a person's very soul.  And maybe, just maybe, he has a soul worth saving.

He's wrong about a great many things, as are many who hate so vehemently, but of course he was able to hurt us so because we do feel as though we let her down.  I've written about that again and again.  That sense of responsibility we feel toward the children we nurtured never goes away.  So, all of that is dredged up anew.  But, to that young man, here's the thing I say to you:  if you wanted me to lash back at you, to hate you as you hate me and, truly, as I believe you must hate yourself, then you've lost the gambit.  I won't take that bait.  I'll feel anger, maybe even rage for a time.  But you are not worth my hate because only I will suffer as a result of it and you don't mean that much to me.

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