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Page One of Amish People

A Amish Horse and Buggy heading down the road.

A Amish Horse and Buggy

A young Amish girl waiting in the buggy.

A concerned young Amish girl in her buggy watching a man pulling along his dog.

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From My Blog

The Madness of Revenge and Violence

It's been such an unbelievably sad and tragic couple of weeks in the news. The complete evilness of some people and their ability to inflict their twisted sickness on others staggers the mind and the ability to cope with it. The sick person who chose girls out of a school in Colorado, with his plan to torture, assault and kill them who managed to kill one before the police came in. The sick creature who took out his rage against the most helpless people he could find in a one room Amish schoolhouse. A rambling, mentally ill creature who somehow rationalized his unspeakably evil plans by apparently saying he'd been tortured by things in his past. Both of these beasts had sent suicide notes to family members which boggles the mind, that they on one level cared about other people but still could plot and plan such evil. But the madness doesn't stop there, the so called church that pickets the funerals of young dead soldiers with their signs saying 'thank god for ied's' and 'god hates fags' and the like, unspeakably evil in their lack of care or concern for others and the feelings of others. Those beasts were going to picket the funerals of the young dead Amish girls and who have been seen on tv smiling and saying that those little girls are in hell and it's a good thing they died young because it saved them a longer stay in hell. It's as if madness has finally descended.

Not even considering the madness and evil violence that is islam. The suicide bombers in service of their vision of a coming apocalypse. The madness of violence against people who say only the truth when they say the 'religion of peace' is anything but. Madness, madness everywhere.

I think about the people who have a desire for revenge against the world in general and who take their madness to innocents. You know, many of the movies and a lot of the popular culture that is promoted and viewed as entertainment contains a lot of themes of violence and horror. Madmen killing terrorized teens and women are made into cult heros and are the stars of their own series of movies. The purveyors of this blood and death porn hide behind misinterpreted versions of freedom of expression and their manufactured and celebratory movies of violence provide the mastubatory release and how to tutorials for those who aspire to Columbine/Bailey or Lancaster Pennsylvania activities of their own. The violence doesn't only manifest in such large and visable displays of course. Less prominant news flies across the airwaves and newspapers every single day. Someone who kills their family, kills their wife who tries to leave them, kills their girlfriends who try to leave them. It's every single day in every single area of the country. Violence as an answer to grievances, violence and death and guns and death.

I see and the world sees the way that the Amish react to this senseless death and violence. Amazed news people interview an Amish grandfather who was there to see two of his family members die and he has no hate and says he has forgiveness for the shooter and the Amish themselves, who have received some 500 thousand dollars from around the country have insisted in putting part of that money for the family of the man who committed this violence. Such compassion and unwavering forgiveness frankly stuns and amazes everyone who hears it. The reporter asked the grandfather how it was possible for him to forgive, and he said without hesitation at all that he forgives with the help of God.

My eyes welled up and the tears flowed from me. Seeing the funeral procession of Amish in their buggies made me cry and I still am emotional every time I see or thing about all of this. Wherever the Amish live in our country they are treated like treasures, and indeed they are all the goodness and faith and steadfastness that we all wish we possessed. You could see it in the police who shut off the public roads and protected the Amish in their privacy and in their grief. The media circus was for once greatly curtailed and a people who carry all the good we aspire to be were spared from us for a moment.

Beyond Good and Evil

Every once in a while you wake up and you learn something that you didn't know before. A bit of information that gives you pause. Someone you know dies. A shock, a tragedy, something not expected. You feel bad, shaken and upset. What if somebody dies that you don't like. Do you cheer? If you are religious do you think about the will of god or the workings of karma? Would you feel smug about it as the death of someone you don't like confirms your vast and secure theories of the universe? That would certainly be arrogant and self delusional of you to think. What if that person who dies is someone you wished was dead. What if the level of dislike and distaste you have for the person is as high as can be, would you feel happy, vindicated, triumphant over the death of the person you despise? What kind of a person would that make you then? Would that make you an evil person? If you felt your life had been destroyed by that person, now dead, would you be an evil person if you felt happy with the knowledge of their death? What is the level of harm that one person can do to you that makes you alright with being happy they are dead? What if you believed that the dead person wished you dead? An eye of the beholder sort of determination? What if you knew all of that and had fleeting feelings of happiness or whatever you might want to call it and then seeing yourself in that instant, felt remorse and afterwards felt bad for feeling good. Perhaps you could then detatch yourself from any feelings and you went beyond good and evil over it. How on earth would that even be possible? Is it possible to feel enough Buddhist detatchment over the whole thing that you could remove yourself from judgment over it?

From My Blog

A good friend lost
Now Playing: Caroline Néron - Dans Nos Yeux

As happens once in a while, a friend from a few years back contacts me to catch up, touch base, say hello. My website and my listing in the alumni page at the University of Dayton School of Law leave a trail there for anyone who might care to find me and speak with me. Careful planning makes it so, unfortunately and for a number of reasons I don't often try to find old friends and old classmates. A LexisNexis search, a run through Google or a look through the alumni directory would be sufficient for me to find anyone I would desire to find but I don't do it. There is always time. Time sometime later to make that small effort. So as a result I don't look up people. There is always time right? Yah. Well a friend of mine, Marc did take the time to look me up and it was good to hear from him. In our emails back and forth he mentions a fellow classmate, Andy Johnson or as was the running joke for us "Andy's Johnson."

Andy was a tall, gangly fellow with the disposition of a puppy. We'd constantly make our "Andy's Johnson," clever remarks and he'd smile and never took offense and we never meant any. He was a fellow who seemed not to have a hostile bone in his body and it seemed to me that it would never occur to him to say a bad word about anyone. When he would talk it seemed like he was always laughing even when he wasn't. A smile on his face and he'd always be genuinely glad to see you. When he would tell a joke it was like he was a little kid saying something he knew that grownups would disapprove of so his jokes or something funny were told only after he looked around to make sure that someone who might take offense would be out of earshot.

At the end of a long hard week in class he'd come down to the local watering hole that some of us had taken as our own. BW3's on Friday after class was where we would grab some hot wings, some happy hour beer and we'd pull some tables together, enough to accommodate however many of us would show up. Andy would laugh with us and we'd talk about what funny things happened in class. Sometimes he'd get a bit excited, a beer or two down the evening and when he wanted to say something and his words were tripping around on his tongue his eyes would sparkle and the smile on his face would broaden as if to acknowledge that he thought he was being a bit foolish or silly. But we would slap him on his back, laugh at his jokes and generally do the things that friends would do with each other as we recognize everyone who would want to be in the conversation and who would likewise have a patience and joy with us.
I can't begin to tell you how wonderful a person Andy was or how everyone instantly liked him. It's like you can instantly sense who is a good hearted person and who you would like to think of you as a good hearted and good person. I know I thought very well of him and he was the kind of person you hoped thought well of you. He was also the kind of person whose friendship you didn't have to buy. This speaks to a character flaw of mine, I took it for granted that he would be there with a smile and a happy hug for me whenever I did get around to seeing him or contacting him. I know he was the kind of man who would be there for me if I was the kind of person who asked anyone for help or support. A good man with a good soul and a huge heart. My friend Marc told me that he had finally gotten a nice job in Ohio and was on his way to work one morning when he got in a car accident. Andy died that morning. Marc tells me that he thinks about Andy often. I haven't stopped thinking about Andy since hearing about this untimely end to this good young man.

There is no question in my mind that life is not fair. Evil people live and prosper, good people who struggle and fight to get ahead in life die in car accidents. Life is short and brutish and it's a sack full of misery, pain, horror and suffering. A person like Andy makes you almost believe that isn't true, his warm smile and good heart carved a bit of hope and kindness into the world and he will be missed.

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