Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The Spirit of Herod in Connecticut
Think carefully. Think carefully before writing.
It is not time, while parents are still numb with shock, to begin the political debate about anything. It is not time to divide among party lines. Guns, abortion, amendments, medications, mental illness, security, autism, blame and so much else...can wait. It can all be discussed, but it can wait, just a bit.
It is Christmas.
It's is a terrible season to now be plagued with memories of death. It's unimaginable. Yet, Christmas, itself, is associated with the shedding of the blood of children.
Christmas cannot be understood without including Herod.
Herod, envy inflamed beyond all reason, gave an order that has echoed its evil shrill for many centuries. It is a shame that Nativity sets do not include the mercenary soldiers that were willing to do the unthinkable, just to satisfy a politician's whimsical emotion to wipe out any future threat to his rule.
Herod reminds me, somewhat, of Joseph Stalin.
Stalin, at times, made the murderous killer, Hitler look good.
His purges left his military weak and befuddled, even while his theft of grain "for the people" made for the slow, painful starvation deaths of millions "of the people" of the Ukraine. The numbers are all too much to grasp to seem real. How could anyone simply draw a line on a map, and declare all the food to be confiscated, year after year, leaving only enough to allow the farmers to stay alive a bit longer in order to farm? How could anyone deliberately bring slow, painful, cruel death, to millions of civilians in this manner?
I don't know any more than I know how Hitler could grant orders to systematically exterminate a single people.
But it was Stalin's penchant for envy that stood out to me, recently, while reading a biography of him.
He sent off one of his "courtiers" (advisers) on a trip, had the secret police interrogate the courtier's wife, get her "confession", only to have his courtier return being invited to dinner. He would then watch the newly widowed courtier squirm under painful silence, and be forced to toast Stalin in an after-dinner drunken sing-song.
It sent quite a message. It was up close and personal killing which Stalin took perverse pleasure in it. He did it whenever it suited his emotional desire, to whomever
Herod's envy caused him to issue a personal and up close order which, I imagine, took a certain type of guard to carry out. These guards would have to be Nazi-like, in our language, cruel and inhumane, who would have to go through the land and kill all male children, 2 years of age and under; not with an assault rifle from a distance, but with a sword, along with a fighting, screaming, clinging mother, and a father who could also lose his life fighting for his son.
I wonder how the soldiers, themselves, survived the massacre. In Connecticut, the killer took his own life.
I have read of the suicides of the Nazi rank and file who were forced to shoot to death Jews in the "holocaust by bullets" period of time; which was up close and personal.
The slain children of Herod? Perhaps in the thousands. It is unimaginable, yet it is part of Christmas as much as the story of the Incarnation in the lowest of locations, with those, of the lowest of vocations, privileged and honored to have a role in.
No, it is not time for politicians to fall over each other in demanding this or demanding that. It is not time to seek political gain or to divide people.
It is time to hurt.
The reporting has been shameful, even as I review the 'facts' of the case, I am glad I did not write about it, lest I repeat things such as "the mother, teaching in school, was shot..." and so on. Shameful rush to be 'the first' was quickly replaced by assigning blame
Even those who watched football as a distraction were hit with political rants. Gladly, I was not one of them.
It is a time to hurt, and allow the parents to hurt.
There is another time, later, when the politicians can begin to seek personal gain, or political advantage over their rivals, but not today; not now.
Those who turn to the government for their answers are often sorely disappointed.
If they only knew.
If they only knew in whom they put their trust for answers where, perhaps, answers cannot be found.
The killer targeted children, specifically, and used means he had been familiar with, to accomplish his hatred. Like others who hate children, he took away their lives, and all the promise that died with them. He took with him the very heartbeat of the parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and all those who loved their children.
He did it at Christmas time as well.
He left many bereft of all comfort. Let them be.
"In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
They would not be comforted in their pain, anguish, and sorrow.
The spirit of Herod is the hatred of children; irrational, flaming hatred against the most innocent of mankind.
It raged 2,000 years ago, and it raged recently, again, in Connecticut.
Perhaps our politicians can let things be, even if only for a short time.
They don't have all the answers.
Perhaps, as suggested, we can talk about the heroes in the school.