Lately it seems that more and more of today’s movies and television shows focus on the protagonist getting revenge for some hurt they’ve received at the hands of another. In one t.v. series it’s not just one episode, but every episode that details the ins and outs of making someone pay for something they did, or said at some time in the past. All that bottled up rage intent on settling score after score for various ostensibly despicable infractions, meaningful only to the show’s lead character.
I’m as much a fan of the notion of an avenging karma as the next person, but to spend hours and hours of viewing time at the altar of Vengeance gives me the willies. Can we spend that much time vicariously planning and carrying out payback with impunity? How must it affect each of us? And how does it affect the whole of us?
A couple of days ago I read about a man who showed up on another man’s doorstep, rang the bell, and when the owner of the house answered and identified himself, the first man shot him five times. It seems some thirty-five years ago, when both were in middle school, the dead-man-to-be put a jock strap over his future murderer’s head in gym class. Every human I know has at one time or another been the recipient of bullying, and I’ll be the first to say that it is never okay. But give me a break. A jockstrap over the head warrants the cold blooded murder of a husband, father, and grandfather? And to hold on to that level of toxic anger, that truckload of self-poisoning vitriol this man harbored throughout all those years? That’s just messed up.
Somewhere along the line we’ve allowed, and even promulgated, the kind of thinking that says, “I’m more important than anyone or anything else in the whole world.” I can’t help but wonder what kind of world that mind-set will build. Sadly, I have a feeling that it doesn’t build anything at all – it only destroys. One has to wonder what society in our lovely land will look like in the next fifty years.