Sunday, January 09, 2011

Where Is the Line?

Like everyone, my heart breaks for Gabrielle Giffords, her family, and the families of those injured or killed in the shooting in Arizona. A 9-year-old child was murdered. A 9-year-old child!

Like many, I wonder about Sarah Palin's map with crosshairs and her exhortation to "RELOAD." I ask myself when and where we, as a nation, will draw the line.

I also ask myself where I should draw a line. From time to time, I work in a coffee shop close to my home. Nearly every time I'm there, so is a small elderly man who continually rants and raves about politics and the government. He's convinced "9-11 was an inside job," a statement he repeats to everyone he can engage in conversation. He is so loud and his views so ignorant, so vile, that I usually leave when he arrives.

Thursday, I needed to finish what I was doing when he showed up. In that time, he began to carry on to anyone who would listen about how Scott Roeder is his hero. Yes, Scott Roeder, who killed Dr. George Tiller because he performed abortions. This little man considers Roeder a hero and martyr to a vital cause.

I've long believed this little man to be unbalanced. Thursday I began to wonder if he's also dangerous and whether I should tell someone in authority. But what would I say? It's not illegal to be stupid. It's not even illegal to make a hero of a murderer. He doesn't make overt threats against anyone, or at least I've never heard him make any.

The suspected shooter in Arizona was well known to have strange views. He repeatedly disrupted a community college math class with "nonsensical outbursts," according to someone else in the class. He talked about "mind control" and "brainwash methods."

The words of that news story echo so loudly in my head this morning, I can think of nothing else. The little man disrupts the whole coffee shop with talk about how Americans are "brainwashed" and how their minds are controlled by the liberal media.

Did anyone speak up about this young man in Arizona? If not, could anything have been done? Can I do anything here? Should I? If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them.

All blessings to those killed or wounded in Arizona, and to all who love them.


kario said...

That's a tough question, Jerri. Even if you did "alert" someone, there's not much likelihood that they could do anything, anyway. My (very passive) approach is to intentionally offer love and light to those who are so consumed by confusion and anger (including Sarah Palin) and hope that enough of us will send good thoughts their way that their energies will begin to turn.

Carrie Link said...

I know, I have the same questions but no answers.

Deb Shucka said...

Sometimes there are no answers except to believe in love and to shine as much light as possible into the darkness. I don't know if that terrible shooting could have been prevented, but I believe there is opportunity here for a shifting of consciousness and an increase of love.

As for the little man in the coffee shop - he sounds a lot like my father-in-law and some other family members, and I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to prove them dangerous.

Thank you for this well-written and thought-provoking reflection.

Colleen said...

Good Morning Jerre,
You could speak to someone at the Police Station about your concerns. Perhaps a policman would visit the shop & witness first hand how this fellow behaves. Course I wouldn't want the policeman to interviene or in any way cause the disturbed fellow to thnik he needs to retaliate against anyone or against the coffee shop, but he could be identified & be aware of his antics. Might be important information for them to have down the road.
Best Regards,

Nancy said...

I have seen a man around our town that walks a stuffed dog. That might sound silly, but he seems like a normal man and this tends to draw the attention of children, in fact, at our town fireworks he drew quite a crowd of young followers. I felt sick in my stomach that he may be dangerous and my husband trailed behind him to see if he engaged the kids, which he did. We did speak to the police who said they were aware of him, however he has not commited any crime so they just "keep an eye on him." I suppose the police are "aware" of your little man and it wouldn't hurt to share your concerns with them. Sadly, unitl people actually commit a crime, real intervention that might prevent tragedy is usually not possible.