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Fri Jun 19, 2015, 04:36 PM

Doe, A Deer

“God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” -- Aeschylus


As the shock wears off, and the horror begins to settle in, it is human nature to try to “make sense” of the brutal murder of nine human beings in a church setting. We can see evidence of this on the television news, or on this forum. People express their views of guns, racism, if this was a hate crime and/or terrorism, the concept of “evil,“ other heinous murderers, and issues of mental illness. These are all valid issue to consider; discussing them can be helpful in coming to terms with this latest tragedy.

There are layers in our society that are dealing with this awful pain. My first concern, of course, is for the family members who lost a loved one. Then, like the ripples on a pond, going outward, the friends, neighbors, community members, and associates stretching across the country. And I do worry about this country -- the decay that we are witnessing, and how mindless violence so often targets Good People -- that my generation is handing down to the next.

I know the pain that this incident causes for so many people across this great land.

Even now, eight months after an off-duty law enforcement officer shot and seriously wounded my cousin, and killed his son, it is common for my cousin to tell me that he keeps reviewing the incident, and trying to make sense of it. He got a package of legal documents in the mail, which always serves to upset him; I drove down, and took them with me, to add to the growing file. I read through them yesterday morning, and there is nothing there that we have to respond to.

It’s difficult for me to sit down: the day before, I was in the lead as my dog Kelly and I took an early morning walk out to the pond; a tree that broke off in the night’s storm blocked our path, and as I prepared to climb over it, Kelly dashed up behind me, and jumped off my back, over the tree. While that was an amazing example of canine athleticism, it left me as limp as a damp rag, hanging across the tree’s trunk.

So I stood and looked out a window. There was a light rain coming down, though not enough to discourage a humming bird from drinking at some of the Rosa rugosa rubras (hedge roses). Few things in the Natural World fascinate me more than humming birds. In my mind’s eye, this wonderful creature was carrying on its duties, in between Aeschylus’s drops.

The next thing my eyes focused upon surprised me: a doe’s head stuck out from the hedge roses. She was about eight feet away from my window. For the past several years, although my dogs bark at literally anything else -- or, sometimes, nothing at all -- they pay little if any attention to the deer around here. She tilted her beautiful head, listened for a moment, and then began trimming my roses for me.

There is violence in the Natural World, and at times, it can seem cruel. But there is no “evil.” I have been in physical pain since Kelly flattened me, for example, but he meant my old bones no harm. A small-to-medium snapping turtle has taken up residence in my pond, and I will have to move it, as I am not in favor of it de-populating the schools of fish. (It has quickly learned to approach me when I feed the fish, and I wouldn’t mind if it only consumed fish food. But as much respect as I have for snapping turtles, I would prefer it live elsewhere. I am, at this point, too old to go in the pond to catch it -- they are much more difficult to handle in the water, especially if the dig into the mud -- and so I’ve brought my fishing net out. The turtle knows how to avoid it, thus far!)

I do believe that there is “evil,” though I do not subscribe to the belief if a demon with a red tail, horns, and a pitch-fork. I think it is an entirely human dynamic. I think it often involves groups of people -- though not necessarily at what I consider a conscious level. It can be found in the behaviors of an individual from that group. For example, I consider Dick Cheney to be evil; I do not consider his level of consciousness to be significantly higher than that of a snapping turtle -- and I am not attempting to be humorous in saying that. I view both as organic machines, though obviously, Cheney’s brain has a few more layers of gray matter.

Somewhere in that gray matter, human beings can hold the potential to do inhumane things. A sub-group gets associated with others who commit what, on the surface, appear to be similar crimes, in terms of utter brutality. Hence, we read some sincere people refer to this latest thug as being the same as Adam Lanza. While there are similarities, which may even include relationships with parents and family members, Lanza had much more evident signs of a serious and persistent axis 1 mental illness. Likewise, this fellow has been compared to Charles Manson; while both professed interest in sparking a “race war,” and had raging inferiority complexes, there aren’t many other significant similarities. And this turd is also being compared to Tim McVeigh; again, while both are correctly identified as terrorists, there are not other significant similarities.

What does overlap in all these instances -- including the hundreds and thousands of other, less well-known case like my cousin’s -- is that a bitter, angry man rode the energies of hatred -- his own, and his followers -- and committed violent crimes that killed and maimed innocent people.

There seems to be a lot of hatred in the United States these days. Too much, in fact. By no coincident, the levels of violence seem to rise at the same pace and level. I try not to “hate.” I do believe in forgiveness. Yet, being human, it is very hard for me to forgive the swine that shot my cousin and his son. I’m okay with my not being there, so long as I do not hate him. For, as my Good Friend, the “Hurricane” that transformed into Dr. Rubin Carter told me, “If you hate, you are a murderer.”

Peace,
H2O Man

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Doe, A Deer (Original post)
H2O Man Jun 2015 OP
democrank Jun 2015 #1
H2O Man Jun 2015 #13
SalviaBlue Jun 2015 #2
H2O Man Jun 2015 #14
logosoco Jun 2015 #3
H2O Man Jun 2015 #15
seveneyes Jun 2015 #4
H2O Man Jun 2015 #16
hifiguy Jun 2015 #5
H2O Man Jun 2015 #17
Gregorian Jun 2015 #6
H2O Man Jun 2015 #18
Gregorian Jun 2015 #26
Hekate Jun 2015 #7
H2O Man Jun 2015 #19
madamvlb Jun 2015 #8
H2O Man Jun 2015 #20
panader0 Jun 2015 #9
H2O Man Jun 2015 #21
coeur_de_lion Jun 2015 #10
H2O Man Jun 2015 #23
coeur_de_lion Jul 2015 #27
zeemike Jun 2015 #11
H2O Man Jun 2015 #24
malaise Jun 2015 #12
H2O Man Jun 2015 #25
Zorra Jun 2015 #22

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 04:49 PM

1. Thank you for this, H20 Man

In all frankness, I`ve made a conscious decision to not try to "make sense" out of all the hate. I don`t want to explain it all away, I want us to confront it head on and call it what it is.

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Response to democrank (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 08:59 PM

13. Thank you.

I found it interesting that several of the lead-ins to news reports this evening included statements about "trying to make sense" of this. Hateful people have low frustration levels (matching their low self-esteem). Once frustrated, they tend to resort to violence in some form. When armed with weapons, they strike out in vicious ways.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 05:55 PM

2. I try not to allow myself to hate...

its hard sometimes. Your essays are alway so thought porvoking... Thank you.

Recommended

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Response to SalviaBlue (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 09:00 PM

14. Thanks!

It is very difficult, sometimes. Important things often are.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 06:04 PM

3. Thank you for this!

Someone in my family committed murder. I was in my late 30s and it threw me.

I talked about it with my family, I wanted to explain it to my kids. But there is no real way to do that.

The best thing I learned from that was profound, even though it took time to see. The only real way to live among evil is to be good. It seems too simple, but that is what I discovered.

I wish peace for you and your family!

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Response to logosoco (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 08:00 AM

15. Thank you.

I'm glad that you shared that with us.

I've had two relatives who made serious plans to murder others. The first was related by marriage. This took place when I was a young man. I did not think in terms of using "the system" to try to prevent this cowardly dog from going through with his plans. Instead, I relied upon the only language I knew -- and communicated in such a manner that he moved away from our area. When I've told my sons about that chapter of my life, they were surprised by my ignorance. Luckily, and only by luck, the coward moved out-of-state. (I still have some of the weapons he had gathered in his basement. He had made a map of his work-place, with stars for where he intended to kill co-workers. He planned to kill his wife and children first. Looking back, I am amazed that he didn't kill anyone.)

The other was my very ill brother. He was a violent man. At this point in life, I had a grasp of the system. It was curious: there were several times when I was driving through the town he lived in, and was "pulled over" by police. Not for speeding, or any infraction -- but rather, for cops I knew to ask, "Can't you do anything about your brother?" In fact, I had tried several times -- with the help of one sibling, and the opposition of another and our mother. It definitely fractured my extended family system far beyond repair.

There was a series of psychiatric hospitalizations, times in "detox" and rehab, and stays in jail. As his mental capacities declined, his level of threats increased. And those who deal in very large quantities of various white powders often access serious weapons. At one point, he had a gun that could take out 12 people in seconds. With the assistance of an uncle, then retired from law enforcement, it "disappeared."

I can't count the number of times my sister and I sought help from "the system." Yet, even the police are sometimes handcuffed in their ability to deal with potentially violent individuals. Luckily, nature took its course. Though my brother is still breathing, he poses no threat to anyone. I see him once per year; sometimes he recognizes me, other times, he doesn't.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 06:06 PM

4. Keeping up with the Joneses

 

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Response to seveneyes (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 08:00 AM

16. Right.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 06:08 PM

5. Wonderful post.

 

The first time I ever learned of that Aeschylus quote was in Schlesinger's biography of Robert Kennedy.

RFK loved the Greeks, and that was supposedly his favorite quote. I think of him every time I see it.

Thanks for this.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 08:02 AM

17. It was his favorite.

If you don't have his son Max's book, "Make Gentle the Life of This World," you should definitely get it. The books is a collection of the quotes RFK kept in a notebook, including from the Greeks, as well as some wonderful quotes from Robert's speeches.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 06:11 PM

6. There are answers, it just takes effort to find them.

I've had a lot of anger in my life as I've watched the planet incinerate for forty five years. This was the ultimate act of unconsciousness and destruction. After twenty years of literally losing my health over it, I have discovered a new path. A new consciousness. What looks like failure may literally be a new path to success.

My motto now is: Do the work, and get the job done.

It used to look like I was at the mercy of bad things. But now I am empowered and freed to not take life's experiences personally. There is hope. Do not embrace the demon.

But just like trying to become a stronger person physically, it takes work. Other's problems are not mine, even though it sometimes looks like it.

A snapping turtle. That's odd. Haha. I'm grateful that you share your life with us. Rubin was right. But I'm beginning to think that the one we murder is actually one's self.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 08:48 AM

18. 45?

I assumed that you were an Elder. No offense -- you have gained a lot of wisdom for a young man. I'm impressed!

Rubin often spoke about the need to "kill" our mechanical self-image: our pride, our vanity, and our sense of individual self-importance. It is then, and only then, that our True Self, our essence and greatest human potential, can shine through. And, in doing so, it is then that we can make our greatest contributions to the whole, that mountain that we call humanity.

It is, of course, a long and difficult process .....for we are human, after all.

It's good to see you here again lately.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #18)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 09:26 PM

26. I've had an awareness for that length of time. I will be 60 in January.

Words. Assumptions. I do feel grateful for a place where we do pour our hearts out.

I'm quite a slow learner in some ways. I've spent so many years in a cage. Now I at least have a key to let myself out now and then. I'm spending more time out than in these days. It's hard for me to not predict the future. I look so far ahead I can tangle myself up in a reality that doesn't exist yet. I think many people have that trouble. There are a few ways that I am quick at learning though. It has taken me a long time to learn how to talk back to the chattering mind, and follow a path that leads me, instead of trying to make the path go where I want.

I just reunited with a long lost friend yesterday. He was one of the few African American kids in my schools. During high school he changed his name to Rubin. When we talk next I am curious to see why he changed it to that particular name. Evidently he has written a play about his life, and how he has narrowly survived. It almost sounds like he might be a Hurricane of my generation.

Thank you for your kind words. They mean so much. My hope is that sharing our thoughts might change the world.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 06:29 PM

7. KnR

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Response to Hekate (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 08:48 AM

19. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 06:40 PM

8. Beautiful. Thank you.

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Response to madamvlb (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 09:09 AM

20. Thank you.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 07:16 PM

9. One of your best essays. Thank you.

Recommended.

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Response to panader0 (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 09:12 AM

21. Thanks!


For a variety of reasons, this was difficult for me to write. And that's rare -- usually, my only difficulty is trying to shut my big mouth. But this is a most difficult issue ....and so I surely do appreciate your kind words!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 07:54 PM

10. Thank you H

Always the voice of reason. Beautiful essay.

I think your essay is a good reminder that even as awful heart breaking things happen in the world there is still beauty in nature, and even in human nature, if we stop long enough to look for it. We don't have to be consumed with hate.

I love the way you write. You are the 21st Century's answer to Henry David Thoreau.

Please keep writing about your home and all the beautiful things you see there. Makes me feel peaceful.

Hope you catch that snapping turtle, and hope you mend from your dog jumping on you.

Peace!

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 01:20 PM

23. Thank you!

I imagine that, by now, some folks here have recognized that you are so kind, because you are my Wonderful Little Sister! (grin) But don't let that stop you ....by all means, keep it up.

My pond is my little, out-of-the-way sanctuary, where I find sanity. And I do my best writing there. Now that my Itty-Bitty-Buddy is about to graduate, and move on to university life, I will be able to spend more time pond-side, and work on the project that we've discussed.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #23)

Tue Jul 14, 2015, 10:36 PM

27. Darling H2O

I missed your reply until just now, hope you see mine.

I am your little sister and that makes me the luckiest sister on the planet.

Big hugs to you brother.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 07:58 PM

11. Anger poisons the soul and is the root of hate.

There are some people who would hate that doe for trimming the roses, or the snappy turtle for eating the fish because they think they can own nature...and Rubin Carter was right...if your anger turns to hate you are a murder.

Another great essay.

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Response to zeemike (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 01:46 PM

24. Rubin used to

quote Mark Twain, saying that hatred contaminated the vessel which contains it.

I might not have trimmed the roses exactly as the doe choose to, but there are more than enough of them around here for both of us to enjoy!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 08:05 PM

12. Beautifully written

as usual

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Response to malaise (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 01:47 PM

25. Thank you

as always!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jun 20, 2015, 11:22 AM

22. Very good. I believe most conscious people struggle mightily to forgive

those who have most grievously and unjustly harmed them in some way. Many times this type of grievous unjust harm comes in the form of harm to loved ones, which often affects us more intensely than direct harm caused to ourselves.

If everyone always lived according to the tenet "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", human beings would have become extinct long ago. Politically, right here on DU, most who would be considered "left" wish to use the political system to help bring about a culture of kindness, where kindness snowballs into a culture that institutionalizes kindness. Where ugly things like greed, poverty, ignorance, war, and hate, etc. are the very rare exceptions to the norm. We'll never remotely succeed in doing this if we don't live kindness individually, to the greatest degree of which we are capable, even when frustrated by ignorant malicious people and sociopaths. Both of whom, unfortunately, seem to need to be restrained from harming others, in the kindest way possible, as a kindness to them, and to those they cause harm, or would cause harm.

Maybe the best form of restraint would be to individually and collectively live kindness, so that this, as an example, teaches that being kind to ourselves and others is a much more pleasant and satisfying way to be than being destructive to ourselves and others.

I don't have the answers; I only believe what seems to be the best way for me to be. It's been years of constant struggle to continue to forgive those who deliberately harmed my family. When someone harms our loved ones, it often takes a form of a lasting assault on our own energy and consciousness that we really want to go away, but can't seem to make go away. Sometimes we can hide it for awhile in some recess in our consciousness, but there are always things that will trigger memories that bring it out again The most productive line of reasoning for me is to feel it is a powerful lesson and reminder of what I never want to do, and how I don't ever want to be. I never want to be the cause of this type of pain and inner conflict in another person's existence.

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