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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

And Now, a Break from Routine: A Posting in Parts 1

By: Michael Akerman


Sorry about the long gap. It's just that I've been really busy, what with the homework, and reading and...

No, I'm lying. I just bought Sims 2 three days ago. I'm only posting now because my brother's playing it.

I'd reply to Smith's old post, but I can't remember it, nor do I care to look it up. Anyways, I'd just be saying the same things I've said over and over again, with different events cited as evidence. Not that I won't say those things again later, but right now I don't feel like it, and this post will be long anyways.




Editorializing



I'd like to comment on the Beslan incident of a few weeks back, and since this is my blog, I will. And no one can stop me.

To get to the point, the terrorist action on the school in Beslan was the most despicable terrorist action I can remember. I'm sure Smith could inform us of many similar events, but I know of no others that match the sheer insidiousness of this attack. To bring the uninformed up to speed:

In Beslan, Russia, on September 1st, terrorists captured an elementary school and held it hostage. The force of terrorists was sufficiently large that extraction of the hostages was nearly impossible, and any hostages trying to escape were promptly shot. Several days into a siege of their captured stronghold, the terrorists decided to cut their losses by bombing the school, leaving in their wake at least 300 children dead, along with many wounded adults.

Frankly, this attack was far more evil than any other. Even 9/11 doesn't compare. The attacks on September 11th, 2001, were executed against a building housing almost entirely adults, as well as being one which was a recognized symbol of American capitalism. Additionally, the sheer carnage caused in that fateful attack was largely accidentally, Osama bin Laden himself releasing a tape effectively saying he was "pleasantly surprised" that that many people died.

The Beslan assault, however, was not against adults. It was not against capitalism. No, this was far worse. What evil lurks in the hearts of men when they feel the best way to further their cause is to kill innocents, to assault an institution of learning? What cowardice lies latent in mankind if we even hold the capability to seek our own safety by killing 300 children and running? These men represent true evil: perhaps in the only way true evil can come to exist.

For, you see, these men were perfectly normal. A local shopkeep, farmers, and other pleasant townsmen. But, as seems to happen all to often, the group got too massive. In one of the most awesome psychological phenomena, like drunk college students at a football game, the terrorists became, effectively, a mob. And this is the only time the normal checks of society and conscience have a chance to lose their hold.

For their has never been a truly evil person: someone who does things against his beliefs as to what's right. Hitler attempted genocide because he thought they didn't deserve to live, and this was not some half-hearted conviction. Stalin was ruthless because he truly believed he was doing the best for the USSR. Yet in these situations, when mob mentality is allowed to overcome the restraints we place on ourselves, when we let peers and society decide for us, when we stop thinking, and just let the tide of the mob carry us, we can see true evil. The scary thing is, every one of us has stepped on to this road.

Every time we make a bad decision because "everybody's doing it," we begin to embrace evil. Every time we stand by and watch as something terrible happens, as a woman is mugged, beaten, raped, as a thief breaks in to our neighbors house, we begin to embrace evil. Every time we see a car slammed into by another, knowing we could help, aid in some small way, but drive on by because we have somewhere to get, we begin to embrace evil.

Keep this in mind the next time you pass someone you could easily aid, or perhaps even someone whose life you could save, were you to simply take a few seconds. Keep this in mind, but keep in mind also that doing so does not make you evil, that you are only human, and that God knows that you will make mistakes, and that you will sin, and turn aside from your fellow man. Most of all, know that you have done so, and will continue to do so, and repent, and be forgiven.

God bless you.

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." -1 John 1:6-10




Here follows a transcript of the first part of an email conversation between myself and Michael Smith. It contains his original epistle to me, and my reply. The conclusions will follow, one per day, if I can manage it ;).

(Editor's Note: I've removed the log, because it's taking up space. I can't imagine that you'd need it, but I have it.)




There ya go! A glimpse into the internal workings of the IVIC staff. Notice that we're really not very serious at all... ever ;).


By my hand,

~Michael Akerman

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