As this Lenten season draws to a close, I seem suffocated with the death of innocents, from Afghanistan to Florida. It wounds my spirit, but it can no longer shock me, this pouring out of the blood of the blameless, wherever we find violence valorized and guns made holy.
In the background, we hear the murmurs concerning a poor man who was completely fractured by too much exposure to the horrors of war, finally turning his confusion, rage and self-loathing onto the sleeping citizens of two villages in an occupied land. Closer still, we hear the guilty plea of Deryl Dedmon, a bewildered and disconnected near-adult in Mississippi who drove his truck over and killed a black man. He proclaimed, "I was young and dumb, ignorant and full of hatred" as he confronted the dark place inside him that urged him to find a black body he could destroy. And in our face, day after day, night after night, we see the pretty young boy, holding the baby up and smiling in the camera. We see the trembling mother and barely focused father asking, "What did our son do? What did he do?"