She's a young mother. Her husband was away serving our country. Two of her children were asleep in her home, another was away for the night. A man knocked on her door. He told her that there was an emergency, something to do with his wife and children. She let him in. And he stabbed and raped and beat her and left her for dead. This happened a few miles away from my home.
She was a hiker, a poet, a lover of nature and of dogs. She went to the mountain on a clear winter day and was spotted walking with a fellow dog owner. Several days later, her dog turned up without her. A few days after that, we all knew why.
She was a soldier. She claimed that she was raped and in danger. She was pregnant. A few days ago, their burned bodies were found. An investigator can't get the image of the tiny, curled hand out of his mind.
Their father argued with their mother. He put them in his car. He drove to a bridge. When I think about the feeling of falling, the icy water, it is all I can do to keep from wailing over the deaths of these four children.
Enough. I have had enough.
I don't want to live in fear. I don't want to worry about my son playing in the front yard. I don't want to lock my car door as I drive down the street. I don't want places I consider sacred to become places where evil prowls among the trees.
A friend told me, "I'm getting a gun."
It's not about guns. A gun you keep hidden away in your home so your children won't hurt themselves with it is not going to stop evil from knocking at your door.
My brother said, "Get a security system."
It's not about security systems. All the alarms in the world won't stop evil from raping me as I go to my car while grocery shopping.
My inner voice says, "Find a goddess to invoke."
It's not about my Faith. Evil doesn't know the names of my goddess or god.
It's not about your Faith, either. I don't care to whom or what you pray in your darkest hours or if you pray at all. Neither does evil.
We must become more basic. We must become more HUMAN. We must stop thinking as if we are not newly born from Chaos. The Chaos has not been tamed by fire and clothing and roads and cities and satellites. If anything, it has been goaded to a frenzy by them.
We thought by naming it, we could make it go away. We thought that by acknowledging Truth, the Falsehood would fade. We thought that if we banished evil--to hell or to a prison cell--that it would stay put. We were wrong. It exists.
It stalks us. It feeds on our fear and ignorance and egoism.
It loves that that we don't know our neighbors, that we aren't squatting around communal fires in our caves. It loves that we don't pay attention to the signs of things to come, be they beach erosion or the nightly news. It loves that we pay only half a mind to the dictates of our Higher Powers. It loves that we hate.
It might be argued that for as long as there have been people, there has been fear. There has been murder and rape and ignorance and greed and all of the things in which evil wallows.
I won't deny this. I won't deny that death and injury and grief are parts of the human condition. But I REFUSE to run toward them. I refuse to turn a blind eye to these things as they sniff around my home...around your home. I refuse to shake a useless fist at the horrors that go on in this world or turn off my television or talk about something pleasant at the dinner table. No more.
The things I'm going to suggest we do might mean nothing to the Chaos. They will not end the capacity for evil to exist. They might not, in the end, protect us from anything. But they are ACTIONS. They are, at the very least, better than hiding under the bed and waiting for evil to find us there:
Speak to the Truth and listen to what it asks of you. Call it prayer. Call it meditation. Call it talking to yourself--the name of it doesn't matter. The doing of it does.
Educate yourself. Know your neighbor. Know your neighborhood, your city, your state. Pay attention to your body. Pay attention to the weather. Pay attention to the government. Connect with the ins and outs of our society.
Find safety (and comfort and joy) in numbers. Build relationships that would stave off Chaos if you lived in a cave. Know exactly who you would call if you were in danger, if you were lonely, if you wanted to take a walk in the woods. Reach out to people who are in danger, who are lonely. Make a community for yourself in which you are a loved, integral part.
If you see something that isn't right, don't close your eyes. Open the eyes of someone who can fix it. Look to see if you can fix it yourself.
Think about these women, these children. Think about the millions like them. Think about the slow, grinding Holocaust that our willful ignorance is causing. Ask yourself if you can allow yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbor, a complete stranger to be caught up in the devastation.