“Blessed are the peacemakers; they will be called the Children of The Eternal One.”
By RAs Don Rico Ricketts
December 14, 2012
Written in Honor of those, especially Parents and Families, Impacted by Killings in a School, in Connecticut…and any other location, anywhere in the world.
Usually, barring some kind of intervention, it seems we do reap what we sow. And karma appears to be real; because whatever goes around does appear to have a curious – even mystical – way of coming around.
Cause and Effect. Things and Time. Ever Revolving. Like a ‘revolver’ — the barrel-of-pain with the old-timey name…for a killing machine.
Today, again, as yet again we hear news of another mass killing — in the US, the Land of Exceptionalism — I am recalling an incident that took place about forty (yes, forty) years ago, in Jamaica, involving a gun. A very pretty gun. A toy gun. But, nonetheless, a gun.
The incident took place at the birthday party for a beloved little boy, who was about three or four years old at the time. It was the first birthday party that his parents, after much debate, had decided to have for their first child. It was a small affair, as appropriate to the limited means of the young parents, who were still recovering from the demands of a too-large wedding, and the fact that the father had not long before been fired from his job. There weren’t many invitees at the party, and those consisted mainly of female friends of the little boy’s mother.
Came the time to open the presents – as gifts were called in Jamaica in those days – and immediately a problem and an argument developed over one of the beautifully-wrapped presents that one of the couple’s female friends had brought. It was – surprise! Surprise!– a gun. A toy, but nonetheless, a gun.
A toy designed to continue and ensure the tradition of making killing into‘a game.’ But wasn’t a gun the ‘must have’ toy that every little boy –certainly in the Westerned World – is expected to want? Isn’t that ‘the thing’that makes every boy really a boy, and proves that a man is Really A Man? Like dolls and toy cooking sets are supposed to assure appropriate girliness?
But which loving parent wants to see his or her child be a killer, or be killed by another parent’s child? How limited must love be?
“So, today we are continuing to reap the whirlwind of violence, from seeds sown in the wind by our own hands; as yet another angry, confused, and cowardly youth kills dozens of unarmed children. Just like the ‘grown-ups’ do, at home…and especially abroad.”
Humans claim to be a higher (even the highest) form of intelligence on this planet. Ok. So, when are we going to stop glorifying killing? When are we going to stop teaching our children to make war? When are we going to give the poor youth of our planet other the choices apart from starvation, prison, or killing?
Forty years ago, toy guns – first the cowboy-type revolver, then the army and gangster-style automatic weapons – were the simple precursors of the extremely violent virtual-reality video ‘games’ of today, whose success are, for the most part, predicated on killing.
In fact, ‘games’ that are predicated on the ‘fun’ of mass killing. Killings, not only abroad, over there, somewhere, elsewhere; but ever more certainly circling in a deadly spiral back to ‘the homeland.’ Cosmic Karma is sure. And we are all accountable.
Over the ensuing decades since my own youth – growing from the the ever-increasing sophistication of physical real-world war ‘games’ — came the precursors of increasingly computerized, remotely-controlled, distanced-death-dealing; and came too the precursors of the distanced-and-dispassionate 21st-century drones of death.
Eisenhower’s war-bitten heads-up about the ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ – a cute term that really meant Fascism – was not speculative, given his own grim experiences in warfare and government.
By the 70’s, ‘games’ featuring guns shooting paint pellets were a mere ‘childish’ and ‘entertaining’ (but profitable) sidebar; merely another money-spinning niche in the massive money-spinning industry of making killing into ‘play,’ just another ‘playful’ niche in the fast-developing and religiously-justified (remember the outcry at Obama’s ‘guns-and-bibles’ comment) socio-economics of delivering death.
So, today we are continuing to reap the whirlwind of violence, from seeds sown in the wind by our own hands; as yet another angry, confused, and cowardly youth kills dozens of unarmed children. Just like the ‘grown-ups’ do, at home…and especially abroad.
Killing children– whether with dispassionate drones, or random bombings, or artillery, or rifle, or handgun – is, above everything else, a declaration of cowardice that belies any claim of insanity. Because, usually, children are unarmed and do not shoot back. Even the supposedly ‘confused’ or ‘insane’ are careful enough to notice, and take advantage of, that simple unthreatening fact. The self-preservation instincts of even the confused or insane do work; up to that point, anyway
So do we next ‘defensively’ arm babies, to take the insanity to its deadly illogical end? Then What?
“The universe – or God – or SomeThing — surely has a supreme way with irony, or an often-grim sense of humour. Maybe both. Maybe that is what the scripture meant; God ruling with a rod of irony..?
That evening, some forty years ago, I was in complete and open agreement with the young father of the little boy; a father who was adamant that no way was he going to allow his boychild to be given a gun for a toy. He stood his ground, alienating his wife’s friends, and enraging his wife– who was as strong-willed as he was. Not surprisingly to some, since the couple’s own birthdays were on consecutive days.
Years later, the husband would point to that toy gun incident as another piece of evidence that they, a young couple, were spiritually, philosophically, ideologically, and socially incompatible from the beginning.
Many years later, the little boy had grown into a fine young man. He had grown into being one of those seemingly ever-confident Jamaican men. Tall, big, and handsome, he had excelled in all manner of sports at university. He had graduated from medical school and serving his internship, destined to become a successful professional; a doctor embarking then on what would inevitably lead to him starting his own family, with a attractive young wife.
And with twin sons.
The universe – or God – surely has a supreme way with irony, or an often-grim sense of humour. Maybe both. Maybe that is what the scripture meant; God ruling with a rod of irony.
I met the Birthday Boy again a few times, after many years, during a few of his many trips to Florida; trips often financed by a loving and indulgent uncle, his father’s brother. Our meetings were often strained and strange, and we always had some difficulty figuring out just how to maneuver around, or through, the mine-filled landscape of a really peculiar friendship.
We gingerly negotiated mindscapes made treacherous with the huge and risky empty spaces formed by time and a distancing that neither of us really knew how to safely, or kindly, navigate. Somehow though, it seemed Love was always there, somewhere nearby, waiting in the wings, calculating when and how to intervene, when necessary, to save us from ancient suspicions and quiet animosities.
It often seemed that we were never quite sure about how to assess each other, to determine what was safe to be open about, and how to relate. I had tried to be a father-figure to him for most of his young life.
My experiences with his mother — who was a continual, dependable and faithful, but domineering force of nature in his life — and which had colored his view of me (maybe irrevocaby) were always waiting to highjack my intentions, and maybe his.
No doubt he also remembered my own terrible relationship with her. He probably also remembered how many times I had sided with her against him…for his sake, I always thought…in the absence of his runaway father. He probably never stopped wondering about my role in his mother’s life, and in his. Maybe he was trying to reconcile what kind of man he could, or would, be – and my own role, given my own dubous role, as a male, a mentor, a teacher, a coach, in his development since before that birthday incident, some forty years ago.
Then one day, during one of his visits, he told me about incidents involving him, guns, machismo, politics, and gangsters…and women.
My heart trembled.
And that was before he told me that he was “bi-polar.”
(to be continued)
In Part 2, I tell you about that story, and other stories involving guns, and babies, family, and contradictory feelings of children about mothers; some stories involving that man who, as a child, was told by his father, in no uncertain terms, that he wouldn’t be allowed to play with weapons.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called the Children of The Eternal One.”
SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DO:
Join me (RAs Don Rico) on facebook to learn about how we can mobilize and utilize MAGIC…Real MAGIC…and MoMAGIC to bring about the societal change we all need.
Peace and Love.