June 19, 2004

Paul Johnson

I have spent the last hour and a half thinking about Paul Johnson. It's 4:53 a.m.

I knew Mr. Johnson would die. I knew how he would die. As Kevin Alyward posted, "As noted here earlier in the week Johnson's fate was sealed from the beginning and he may have even been dead for days. The demands of the kidnappers were a ruse."

Normally, I don't touch the weighty topics. Too emotional to form an argument. But with an hour and a half of thought organization, I think I can eke out a few points.

We - citizens of the Western world, Americans especially, are individuals. We see each other as such, which is why the kidnap/beheading tactic is so horrible and therefore "effective." The victim is a person, and then, at the hands of al Qaeda, he suddenly is not.

This isn't about any war. This is about crimes of opportunity - al Qaeda's aims are met in any event. If a Western nation caves to the demands of terrorism, surely more terrorism will ensue. We all know the flip side to that also resolves the same.

Paul Johnson is an American. He is also a husband, an employee, and many other things we will maybe never know. He may or may not have been a good person. He is dead. He is dead at the hands of those who would seek to do the same to you and me if given the chance. How long before one of us is plucked from American soil and subjected to the same fate? And how will America react to the beheading of the first female victim? These are real possibilities.

There is pure evil in the world, and in this instance, it hides itself in the name of its god. That sickens me.

But America, in all of the projection of its vapid culture, is still a nation of individuals - people who matter, not a citizenry that's expendable, disposable, and ignored. And when we band together in support - in churches, in families, as a nation, we are one mighty and powerful force. And that force is not malevolent.

As a civilized people, we try to find compassion and understand those who seek our destruction. Give it up already. There's nothing available within your psyche to understand. Ask yourself what it would take for you to group with people to snatch a person, depersonalize that person in the sake of "political gain," and then brutally murder that person - a human being. Can't go there? Nothing comes to mind?



Posted by hln at June 19, 2004 05:13 AM | War | TrackBack

One thing and only one thing comes to mind --
Eli Wiesel's Night Trilogy. He explores that issue in depth in Dawn, the second book of the trilogy. Though, while he is forced to execute a British officer in the name of the cause, he doesn't depersonalize his victim:

“I said that I wanted to go down before the time was up, to see the fellow, and talk, and get to know him. It was cowardly, I said, to kill a complete stranger. It was like war, where you don’t shoot at men, but into the night…To execute a stranger would be the same thing. If I were to see him as only he died, I would feel as if I shot at a dead man.”

Posted by: John at June 19, 2004 09:50 AM

I was raised to embrace all colors, cultures and any lifestyles of people as well as thier religion. I am a probation officer who sees true evil sometimes but no where near the evil exibited in these ruthless, SOULless killings like that of Mr. Johnson. I used to believe the Muslim faith was kind and good, or atleast human. I no longer believe this. My heart has hardened toward these people. I hate to lump an entire group of people in this sub-human category, but it is getting harder and harder. We need to get out of there, protect our own people and go back to the days when we were not scared to show them we will not tolerate this. That's what we did to Japan and the Japanese were not as a whole, nearly as sick and heartless as the group we are up against today. And my grandfather was fighting them on the ground in WWII. We have got to get rid of this group or all Muslims will someday be viewed as I and many others are beginning to view them now. And I have friends who are Islamic.

Posted by: shawna at June 19, 2004 10:45 AM

All I know is that they have the blood of a innocent man on their hands........ Who ever their higher power is? Will one day make them pay for such an act that can never be explained to an adult, child or their family members. My prayers go out to the family and friends and God help us all when the world is turing to this.....

Michelle C

Posted by: Michelle C at June 20, 2004 11:24 PM

Thinking on how horrible these two beheadings have been, I find myself wondering why are our people even over there... After Nick Berg's death, we should have loaded up and moved'em out.. These people think they are makeing some kind of statement? I feel like shouting, "GUYS, YOUR KILLING INNOCENT POEPLE!!!" How many more innocent people will have to suffer this same fate? I pray for the families of these men, and pray for no one else to have to endure that kind of torment.. Mel.

Posted by: Melinda at June 21, 2004 03:07 PM

first i'll say a pray for those in despair......Angel's east Angel's west,North and south just do your best to gaurd and watch them,while they rest.....god bless all the stolen sole's...and GOD WILL HAVE MERCEY ON THESE MURDER'S SOLE's.

Posted by: Chelsea Edwards at June 25, 2004 07:11 PM

:and the Japanese were not as a whole, nearly as :sick and heartless as the group we are up against :today

This should be researched some if you believe it to be true.. It is not.

Posted by: JCase at July 9, 2004 11:43 PM