And lot has happened since I’ve been “away”!       Many things in the news, many comments to make, but I’m glad I didn’t make comments on current events as they were occurring because I’ve had time to reflect.

roof We’ve had  this familiar face:  slightly odd haircut, fixed, staring eyes,  a history of heavy drug use, both  illegal and prescribed.    This “version” of a drugged, dazed young man with staring eyes who committed mass murder is named Dylann Roof.      Like James Holmes before him, staring eyes, drugged, dazed.   Like … others who can’t remember or even imagine ever doing what they did.

(Anyone remember the loving mother in Texas who “inexplicably”  killed her four children?   How about the loving teenage grandson in Tennessee maybe,   so close to his grandmother,  but who killed her one day –  no signs of trouble.  “Unexplainable.” )

Package labeling on his prescribed medications:   “Side Effects –  Suicide.   Homicide.   Outbursts of homicidal activity. ”      Think back to all the unexpected, unexplained mass murderers that you can remember.     All taking these same category of Prescribed Drugs.

What happens to their brains?   Are they able to think normally?  Arrested development?

There is a lot of talk about why the Charleston shooting happened.    The word “forgiveness” has been heard a lot.

There seem to be two categories:  First, the people who are very sure of the reasons why this happened (guns, racism, a historic flag, etc.).   They seem to be the ones who say they do not, cannot,  will not forgive this young man.    They say he doesn’t deserve forgiveness.    They call for his death like the Old Testament prophets:  “an eye for an eye. . . ”   which modern secularists think means “vengeance.”

The other category of people I’ve noticed offer no sure-fire reason for what happened,   and yet they are the ones offering total forgiveness for this young man.

I think I understand them.    Hell lasts a very, very long time, and the short time we have here is our only opportunity for repentance, as many in that   A.M.E.  church in Charleston understood.

Hearing his victims’ families –

Roof CourtThe young man was placed before cameras and speakers and stood while he listened to the families of the victims speak of their grief and hurt and of their forgiveness for him.

He started out with that mask of a face, staring,  seemingly without feeling.   But as he listened, I noticed that mask-like expression,   uh,  softening somehow.   It was like the voices of the family and the repetition of the word “forgive” affected him, maybe for the first time.   Yes, his visage changed as he was listening, changed very slightly,   but changed definitely.   Is this the first time he’s heard the word “forgiveness”  aimed at him?

As I watched him, I thought he looked like someone who for the first time was confronting a world that is larger than the one his mind lived in.   Real people.   Real human feelings.   Real law and justice system.  A very big real world that exists outside of his own comprehension.

Certainly his mental, emotional, and intellectual development was slowed down and stopped at an age equivalent to a middle school kid.     The young guilty man thinks like a 12 year old, or younger, copying a distorted portion of the world around him.     But now he’s confronted by fully mature, adult Reality.

I have no conclusions but just observations of many complex issues within murderers.

The only thing I’m certain of is the healing and life-giving power of “the forgiveness part.”

Forgiveness not given becomes a place of festering toxic emotion inside a person, sometimes well hidden, sometimes for a very long time,  but festering and health-sapping all the same.     It closes up one’s soul.

 Forgiveness given produces freedom and healing and power for living.    It enlarges one’s soul.

There is a universal and eternal Principle at work here:     “Forgive us our trespasses    as   we forgive those who trespass against us.”

This isn’t for you  –

crucifix                –  if you won’t forgive.

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  1. I have EMPATHY for other people…even for animals.
    Even if I don’t CONDONE their actions, I can feel their reasons. At some point in time, I became shocked to realize that many misdeeds/ crimes were committed by people who just were totally unaware of what they had done because of drinking or drugs! Therefore, they were punished for things they sorta did NOT do…! It doesn’t seem fair, but, that’s the consequences. OUT OF THEIR MIND…even temporarily, I don’t think killing them is appropriate. Killing is a crime. Why commit another crime?

  2. Good points. Serious evil was committed here, serious harm, but he is still a human being, like us. Hard to work all that out. And, do young people realize when they start recreational drugs and then accept prescription drugs that they CAN be capable of doing great evil, even more so than the rest of us? I’m uncomfortable with capital punishment but I know it is an effective deterrent and also the criminal cannot strike again: “escape from prison” as in New York and strike again.

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