The elision of ordinary evil

Years ago a friend described his parent’s divorce–“it was like a bomb going off in the livingroom.”

His description was vivid and devastating and it came back to rest on my shoulder when my adopted children wreaked violence on my family.

The dust, the debris, the shrapnel of crime and violence rocked my own family.

I think about the steroid-bloated image of Uncle Sam, I think of the empty rhetoric and cries for both caution and justice. To me so few of the words are useful. They will not restore.

They will not restore limbs to the wounded.

They will not restore peace to the shattered.

They will not replace trust or safety like vases fallen and broken after a blast.

Do you want to help the victims?

Then shut up and listen.
Listen very carefully and stop congratulating people for being heroes.

We are none of us heroes.

We are fragile, easily broken and we take great care to heal.

And if we want any kind of justice or restoration we must first mourn our dead and then we must think, really think, in silence and humility–

if I had lost my safety, my loved ones, my dignity, my limbs, how would I want people to respond–to my pain and grief and loss?

Think hard.

Then do something.

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