Every morning when I drag my weary bones to the gym for a vigorous cardio workout, I usually listen to music on my iPod, but once in a while I’ll watch CNN, Headline News, or MSNBC to catch up on world and local news. I don’t read the newspaper, nor do I watch any news-related TV shows, so the only way I get my “fix” is at the gym, and to and from work when I listen to NPR.
This morning was one of those mornings that I preferred the news instead of music. Big mistake. Two stories caught my eye, neither of which had consequential effects on world peace, the economy, or healthcare. Nonetheless, these little stories walloped me with a profound sense of sadness and intense anger.
The first story was about a young father—a Marine—who was playing a video game when his 4-month old baby started crying. Enraged that the crying infant was interrupting his game, the father shook the child so violently that the baby died from massive injuries.
The second story was about a puppy—a beautiful chocolate Labrador. For no apparent reason, its owner almost choked the dog to death. The news channel showed a video of the puppy on a respirator struggling to breathe.
I have always claimed to be a pacifist; I abhor any kind of violence. In spite of this, I have to admit that I find the thought of physically hurting this young father and the owner of the puppy quite appealing. I could actually envision myself beating them bloody with a Louisville Slugger. And you know what? I don’t think I would lose a moment’s sleep over it.
We are taught to turn the other cheek, and to forgive even the unforgivable. But aren’t there some instances that make this nearly impossible? I may have a few strikes against me on judgment day. But I can’t find it in my heart to forgive anyone who would senselessly harm a child or a defenseless animal. If that is a flaw in my character, then so be it.