Bathing in the Blood of the Guilty

Saturday night was spent having dinner with a friend, and then hanging out with another friend before she had to leave due to a slight emergency.  Yeah, I was being social.

After I was alone, I watched Deliver Us From Evil, a documentary done a few years ago about a child molesting priest who got moved around from parish to parish as the Catholic church tried to cover up his crimes. 


As I'm watching it I start thinking a lot about revenge.  We're taught early on that revenge is not something we should seek.  We are taught to let the police handle things (because they are so effective).  We are taught to trust those in power to handle things and protect us.

All of that is wrong.

I believe revenge is a natural step in the healing process.  It's not for everyone, but it can work for many people.  The police and the justice system rarely compensate for the pain brought on by, say, a pedophile.  Yeah, it's great that many get caught and are sent away and then have to register once they are set free on society again, but let's face it, if your child was raped, registration doesn't quite cut the cake.

But heating up a screwdriver on the stove and then shoving it down some sicko's throat can really get some of that anger out. 

Watching the film, a theme became fairly obvious.  A man people trusted because of his station used that trust to hurt people.  That is why you don't trust people in positions of power just because they are in those positions.  If anything, you look at them under a microscope.  You examine their motives, and you question them.  When these parents let their kids sleep over at the fiend's house they never thought anything was going to happen.  Why would it?  He was a priest (or cop, or scout leader, or teacher -- fill in whatever blank you'd like).  He would never harm anyone under his care.  Unthinkable.  Unimaginable.  Unfathomable. 


A lot of people who do horrible, nasty things to others know they have little to fear.  People don't fight back often enough.  They call the cops and hope that they can catch the bad guy.  They never think, "I have the power to take care of this."  We are taught to give up the responsibility of punishment and to leave that to the experts. 

It's that kind of thinking that let a priest molest hundreds of kids in California.  It tore apart families, ruined them financially, scarred his victims for life ... and that child fucking monster gets to walk around free in Ireland with an annuity bought for him by the church in order to buy some silence.

He probably lives with thoughts of molesting children in his head every day.  For all I know he may still be doing it.  Guaranteed that if just one of those families harmed by this molester took a pair of hedge clippers to his fingers, those same fingers that forced their way into little girls, he'd be having second thoughts.  If left alive, he'd look down at that stump of a hand every day and think about what led him to such a mutated state.  He'd feel the scars.  He'd remember the pain.  He would be crippled for life and he'd have a hard time hiding it, a hard time coming up with a new excuse every time someone asked him, "How'd you lose your fingers, bub?"

I'm a firm believer in revenge.  Utter and total.  I believe it works.  I believe it is effective.  I believe it can send a message and work as closure.  Had that piece of shit molested me, I would've accepted his invitation to come visit him in Ireland so he could apologize.  I'd listen to the apology and then I'd begin.  I'd give him the choice: cut your own wrists wide open, or watch me watch you try to put your intestines back in.  They're slippery.  It's not easy.  And every time he'd try, every time he'd start to get them back into that wet, gaping cavity, I'd take my foot, hook it through one of those sausage-like loops and pull it right back out.  I'd make fun of the grunting noises he'd be making as he fights to remain conscious.  I'd ask him what it feels like, leaking out all over the carpet like that.  Ask him if he ever thought about what those kids felt like when he was ruining their childhood.  And just before he'd close his eyes from the pain, I'd let him know that I'll wake him back up and we'll start all over again.  "I've got time and a lot of imagination, friend.  And you've got yards of intestines to work with."

Even writing that is cathartic.  And I admit that knowing I'd enjoy it is kind of troublesome, but admitting it is what keeps me sane.  Many people never even think of these things, never examine how they feel about violence.  I think that is wrong, unhealthy and dangerous.  We all have the capability for doing great harm to others.  I believe that those who admit to that, who think of it, who examine it, are the least likely to do it because they know how important it is.  Those who ignore it or pretend they harbor no such feelings are the ones I believe should be watched out for (though there are a few people I've met whom I truly believe could never hurt a fly, but that is rare).  Those who ignore those very basic feelings of justice and revenge are the ones can suffer a disconnect from their actions ... and that kind of disconnect got that priest through his daily life.  He was able to disconnect himself from his actions and get on with the day.

I don't suffer from any such affliction.  I know where my anger dwells and what I can do with it if confronted with such a situation.  I don't go seeking out fights.  I don't beat women or children.  I don't kick dogs.  And I don't lie about my feelings on the subject of violence, revenge and anger.  I don't pretend to be above it.  I would never be so bold.

And that is the key to controlling it.

You may feel differently.  I'm sure many of you do.  I'm sure quite a few people believe they could never do such things, let alone think them.  That's fine, and if it's true you have my respect.  I have no such illusions, and I don't like lying to myself about these things.  It's too important to not be familiar and comfortable with it.  It is there if I need it and that is all it is there for.

Watching those victims and their families made me feel their pain.  Seeing that man walk the streets made me think: If only someone had put a stop to it right away, there wouldn't be a laundry list of victims years later.

Why is it we have little problem with the state putting someone in prison for life or even administering the death penalty, but as soon as we make it personal we are going down a taboo path?

I don't quite know the answer, but I think part of it lies with the fact that people like to think they are better than the monsters they confront.  I would say it's not a matter of being better or above it.  It's a matter of fixing that which is broken. 

Happy Easter.


Jennifer said...

I sincerely agree that everyone has the responsibility to work out their own salvation, or lack there of. I personally attempt to use forgiveness and self education (most of my shit is petty emotional baggage admittidely, not extreme trauma)to let go of my resentments. If immaginative violence in the form of guided meditation is your path to the same place, then more power to you. We end up in the same space in ideal situations.
However, I think the problem lies with the lynch mob mentality that most people are bred with. Your path should remain your path, not five of your friends and their misdirected anger. Thats where the revenge/vengence model takes a nose dive. People don't leave it to the individual to deal with. And that opens up already victimized experiences to group logic and often manipulation. Soon, youve taken on the predator role and whos to say who you are victimizing is deserving? Your homies? Soon, your standing on the corner telling the government to get out of your healthcare with your medicare card in your back pocket. Misled.

Jennifer said...

Wow I can't spell.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

The lynch mob mentality is a huge problem. This is not even just conjecture. History bears it out. What I think needs to be pointed out is that the lynch mob mentality exists with or without the police, and the police exhibit that same behavior, too.

I don't think forgiveness is necessarily a bad thing. I just refuse to rule out revenge.