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ANGELS AND CRIMINALS: Most certainly, we have proven to death that life is cheap
THREE young people have lost their father. A woman her husband. And a little child her grandfather. But at least one person has gained a handsome sum and a "better life", and put another blot on humanity. Not that anyone's counting.
The agony began three weeks ago when a man I knew, and with whom I was bound by common cause, was robbed as he neared a toll plaza on his motorcycle.
Couldn't the seizure of property be enough? Alas, he had to be subdued. Thus beaten he was on the head, and eventually by the mortal wounds did he come to pilgrimage's end and leave the lands of his life.
He is among the multitude of beings who have fallen to transgressors of all sorts, and yet many more who live and are still to be born must suffer the same fate. History has recorded this, and no doubt, will have more to tell as long as man walks the earth.
And I, too, fell prey to the clutches of despair as I contemplated the cruelty of such people. Do they not have children, a father and mother, brother and sister? Are they beyond the emotional frailties that mark us as human beings? Cannot they know the sorrow of losing someone they love to a deed most foul?
These usurpers come from the wealthy and poor and all else in between. Their motivations are many and surely must derive from darkened hearts. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander," says the one who is wise beyond measure.
But to inflict wounds on an innocent soul to the point of death, so that you may have money to feed yourself and your family, pay your debts, or perhaps to enjoy the good things in life, must also lead to two conclusions most unhappy.
The first is that the person does not truly regard life as precious. Humans like to say every life is important -- it is a pastime and an admirable idea.
From wonderful idealism to wicked "realism" is but a hair's breadth, so the true value of life in our eyes becomes apparent easily enough when desires come head to head with the virtues. Life, inevitably, sadly, must yield.
Therefore, whether you be a great man or not, when in desperate straits circumstances present an opportunity to save yourself, at the cost of someone else's life, little need is there to think about it. In the battle of values, life may very well be the first expedient, and the first to fall, too.
This is because we are inherently evil. When our lives drown in a whirlpool of disorder, savagery comes to the surface, and lives. In Golding's Lord of the Flies, Simon converses with the Beast without, but it becomes clear that it is in fact within. "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!... I'm part of you... I'm the reason why things are no go," says the pig's head, or Beelzebub, or Simon himself.
The second realisation is that the person does not believe in divine judgment, even if he thinks and proclaims he lives in God's universe. Killing is incidental to the "cause", and so it's not to be regretted. With such thoughts close by, punishment is a distant storm unseen and unfelt.
Even warnings from sacred ancient text, such as "see how the evildoers lie fallen, thrown down, not able to rise!", do not trouble them enough. They are but fables for the young. Hollywood et al have sapped our fear.
In the end, Steven is no more. And though much has been lost by family and friends in the earthly realm, I believe we will regain each other and more in the Celestial City. But what fate awaits the person who took his life and gained a few dollars more?