by Kevin D. Annett
I used to spend my days trying to convince people to do what should come naturally to them. And when they wouldn’t do it, I figured it was up to me to. But that didn’t work either. I suppose this repeat failure is all because of The One Who isn’t Worth the Trouble, since God forbid that any of us take the blame for what is happening under our very noses.
Normally, nothing should make an issue clearer than the merciless descent of a sharp ceremonial blade into the entrails of a four year old, and the splattering of her blood to the four directions. But things are hardly normal anymore, if indeed they ever were. Even if the gore wasn’t carefully washed away and the remains of the latest innocent secretly shoved under the ground, the paradox would remain. Not even the daily, accurate news coverage of the slaughter or the arrest of the killers would resolve the mystery, which lies like a tumor at the heart of who we are.
The issue isn’t so distant from you and me. For who of us hasn’t felt the real or imagined assault of the other barnyard animals as we struggle to fade into obscurity to avoid being pecked to death – and thereby turn away from the unfortunate one who can’t escape the death blow? We all know what we must do to avoid becoming a statistic ourselves. The One Who isn’t Worth the Trouble is in truth the surrogate sacrifice who stands in our place, to allow us to hide and cringe for a little while longer, in what we like to think is safety.
You and I are not as ignorant or as apathetic as we pretend to be. Each of us intuitively knows the bloody score more than we will ever admit to ourselves. At the first approach of the killers we step back and allow the weakest among us to be taken. As three and four year olds are grabbed and caged and dragged off to be strapped down and raped and then hacked to death, we preoccupy ourselves with anything but their fate. We allow ourselves to think of the horror as part of a bigger and distant issue, sanitized by language and politics, hermetically removed from the irrelevant shit we call our lives. And so we are able to sleep at night as children die in agony.
But The One Who isn’t Worth the Trouble endures, nevertheless, even as she dies alone, butchered and betrayed: for the mystery yet remains unsolved. Perhaps as Job experienced, Eternity must continue to experiment with us, probing our worth, testing our capacity to become something more than squawking and frightened barnyard chickens: struggling to perfect us, and always failing. Maybe that is why the killings go on and on.
It really shouldn’t be difficult for any of us to break down a door and save the life of a child, regardless of who or what is wielding the sacrificial knife. Then why won’t we? And where will you be when the atrocity happens again?