Monday, June 13, 2016


coming to terms with the Orlando shooting.

What a rich site for us to mine all the demons of our present age: Muslims, guns, gays, Latinos! It makes me sick

I completely agree with Austin Petersen's recent tweet that
Of course, no one is innocent. Christianity teaches that "All have sinned and fallen short" (Romans 3:23). Hinduism says that every bad thing that happens is because we did something in another life to deserve it and that we should, for that reason, "enjoy" the terrible things that happen to us, in that they have worked off some of our Karma "without making any complaint of it" (Nada Bindu Upanishad verse 21). Buddhism teaches that bad things happen because, even when we do good things, we always intend evil:
"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.
"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.
"And what is the diversity in kamma? There is kamma to be experienced in hell, kamma to be experienced in the realm of common animals, kamma to be experienced in the realm of the hungry shades, kamma to be experienced in the human world, kamma to be experienced in the world of the devas. This is called the diversity in kamma (Nibbedhika Sutta: Penetrative).
In Islam they say that “If Allah were to punish men for their wrong-doing, He would not leave, on the (earth), a single living creature (16:61).

Greek myth posits the evil inside us as originating with hubris (Pandora, Icarus, Narcissus, I could continue ad nauseam). We who are unholy have chosen to touch the holy thing, and deserve what comes to us.

I think when we find some teaching that is pretty universal, it is something to which we should pay special attention. God seems to have written it on people's hearts, regardless of religion.

Every religion and every philosophical system that holds any serious water agrees. We all deserve to die horribly and painfully, certainly, and probably go to Hell in most religions. And I think we all know it.

Yes, we deserve horrible things to happen to us. We have no right to complain when they do, only to cry out for mercy (not necessarily a universal, but I don't think I could handle a faith or philosophical system without it).

I don't think Peterson meant "innocent" in this sense. He meant it in a very earthly sense. There should be, in a just society, particular consequences (I hesitate to say "punishment," but maybe) for particular crimes, not just a constant vague torture for vague probable failures in the spiritual sense. Perhaps even an "eye for an eye" but not a son for an eye. There needs to be a human-type of justice that handles cause and effect with due process in the human world. We need due process. We need courts. We need juries of our peers.

And in this sense, there are so many "innocent."
  • Innocent LGTB bar goers who have another reason to fear violence. Who see their basic rights to their own body curtailed by fear.
  • Innocent Muslims, who need to worry about ways in which a reactive public might curtail their freedom of conscience.
  • Innocent Latinos who know that this murderer did not just choose a gay bar, but a gay bar on "Latin" night because people with varying degrees of documentation are less able to protect themselves. 
  • Innocent gun owners who are worried that their basic human right of self defense will be curtailed by another part of that reactive public. 
  • Innocent journalists, writers, and thinkers who somehow have to "come to terms" with so many different aspects of right and wrong in a way that calms the reaction, elevates the conversation, and still, sadly, sells copy.
Fear and reaction are the entire point of terrorism. That's why it gets its name. It instigates violence, but it insights terror. Fear makes us do stupid things.

Like take away people's rights and liberties
Like blame innocents because of association
Like blame the victim.

Because if people didn't have the right to protect themselves, they couldn't hurt others.
Because if people of a certain type would do this, then all we have to do to protect ourselves is eliminate that type.
Because if the people who did this deserve it, then it can't happen to us. We don't deserve it.
Then we can feel safe.
Because WE
(those who don't believe in guns, heterosexuals, non-Muslims, whatever)
are innocent
and THEY
are not

But we shouldn't feel so safe
because we're not innocent either.

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