If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while you know that one of the reasons I became a cop is because I detest bullies. I don’t care if it’s the physical bully who conducts a reign of terror on the playground or in the barroom, the boss or co-worker who goes out of her way to make others miserable during their daily grind, or any other petty terrorist who routinely makes life difficult for others in some feeble attempt to prop up their own ragged ego.
During the course of my daily life I’m sometimes struck by some of life’s immensely pleasurable scenes. Driving through a park, I see a Mom and Dad swinging a small child between them, as the tot laughs delightfully; a young woman opens a door for an elderly man; a couple slowly strolls along the sidewalk hands clasped.
Last week I was enjoying a spectacular weekend in Cannon Beach, Oregon with my wife. During our long walks on the beach I observed many people of all makes and brands enjoying the gorgeous surroundings, but even more—each other’s company.
I watched a young mother playing with her children, teasing the foamy surf in an attempt to keep from soaking their feet, in the shadow of the magnificent monolith, Haystack Rock, and a thought occurred to me. In my profession the idea that terrorists might strike anywhere at anytime is not an alien one. However, as I watch these peaceful people going about their quintessentially American pursuit of happiness, I experience a sudden, visceral awareness that people exist in the world who, because of religious and/or political ideology, wouldn’t hesitate to kill these people if given the chance, and in the most horrible ways possible.
How does a person, a horde of zealots, whip up such an all encompassing blood-lust toward other people they don’t even know, who’s only “crime” is going about their lives peacefully, enjoying and loving their friends and families, and working toward building civilized society rather than, like the terrorists, destroying it?
I don’t know the answer. I can barely conceive of such an evil, but people are foolish to doubt it exists, and do so at their own peril. If we want to make sure scenes like the ones described above continue, we must lend our wholehearted support to those leaders who make fighting such evil a priority.