I’m a savage. Down deep, in places I don’t talk about at parties, I want vengeance. I want to hurt those that hurt others.
That’s my savage talking.
When I read about a case like this I wonder what I would do if I came upon the criminal perpetrating the crime. What if it was my child who was the victim? And now this violent MOFO is getting out and going to live near me and my family? If I had a gun, I’d grab it.
That’s my savage talking.
I’m also a father. And a son. And a coach. And a husband. And a leader.
And there’s something deeply disturbing about the letter put out by the local police and shared more than 1300 times (as of Wednesday night) on Facebook (and this isn’t a national case) and the comments. Something that makes me…afraid. Yes, afraid. More afraid, even, than I am of the horror of the crime itself and the certainty that crimes like this have always been and will always be a part of our lives.
This letter and the response…it’s…savage. And it’s savagery created and perpetuated by thousands. Why is it savage, what makes a thing savage? It has something to do with a lack of consideration for human feeling and lack of respect for humanity in general (including our own humanity not just the humanity of the victim or perpetrator). I think the crime this person committed was savage and I think the response by local police and community members is savage. Whose savage is better? Wait, isn’t the point of Civil Justice to not respond to savagery with savagery, otherwise why have a Justice system at all?
If the best we can do, if all we will do, is savagery, why have anything?
Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m just blind. Maybe the idea that Justice would be blind is bullshit and there’s no importance to it. Maybe it’s not worth the trouble. Maybe it is right that a local police officer and local police unit have the power to ruin a person’s life. Maybe they’re right to ruin a person’s life, if that person ruined another person’s life, or worse, took another person’s life. Maybe an eye for an eye is the best we can do. Maybe we shouldn’t want more.
People are going to hate what I’m saying so much here that they’re going to make it about me. It will be said that I’m defending a monster, that I must be a monster, that anyone who feels this monster deserves anything less than this is not fit to be a member of society.
How did we get here?
And is this where we really want to be?
Do you think trial by jury, rule of law, the Bill of Rights and the Consitution are important and if so, how important? Are they more important than our disgust and our rage? Are they more important than our own savagery because this letter not only flies in the face of those things it makes them irrelevant. The Bill of Rights, The Consitituion, The Rule of Law…irrelevant.
Our justice system in this country is screwed up. Really screwed up. It’s screwed up right in here in little Vermont and I think it’s worth calling out because it’s important to our communities. A strong Civil Justice system means we choose peace over violence, we choose talking over violence and when we call the system out for being savage it doesn’t mean we condone violence or criminal acts, it actually means the opposite. It means we’re willing to put our savagery aside for something bigger, more important, something that will transcend us and keep our kids and their kids more free, more safe in the future. I think it’s the biggest deal.
I’m not saying don’t feel your rage. I’m not saying forgive.
What I’m saying is that if future peace, prosperity and freedom are important to you and yours we need to be aware of how our own savagery is tainting the only thing that can ensure those things. Savagery, no matter how good or right it feels will never achieve peace, propertity and freedom. It will never make you safer and it will never help you to enjoy your life with your loved ones. Savagery begets savagery and grows savagery.
Do we really know what we’re allowing to be built? I know it feels good, it feels right to want to destroy the destroyers. Maybe it is right, maybe it is good…think about it. Because one thing that is true, no matter what, we will reap what we sow. We may pretend like we can justify our way out of it, but it won’t matter. If we continue to react to savagery with savagery we will continue to build a savage system. And that will be our legacy.