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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Darkest Knights Of Evil

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: July 26, 2012
Original Link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\26\story_26-7-2012_pg3_3

The darkness of a dark man in a dark movie theatre here in Colorado became glaringly obvious when he opened fire at unsuspecting spectators. To them, he felt like part of the show, for a moment. But soon they were shocked beyond their wildest imagination to witness the ‘darkest knight of evil’ among themselves. There were 12 dead, dozens wounded, multiple lives and families shattered. The debate on who, when, why and how rages on. The TV and radio talking heads, the print and electronic scribes will rip it apart for the next few days and then some other story will earn the glory to replace this maddening yet very tragic news. The Columbine massacre from the same state is still fresh in many minds. A high school, 13 years ago, in broad daylight saw a similar mayhem, and now this. The same questions are being asked: whether gun control is needed or not, whether Congress needs to take any decisive action or not, can the National Rifle Association allow any restrictive measures or not. All of this will be fiercely debated but at the end, as the citizens of the United States of America, we expect not much will happen. This fatal trend of ‘domestic terrorism’ will play itself out, repeatedly. The only change one will witness is the date, time and the venue.

One has to live here to understand the absurdity of certain quarters. People quote the Constitution left and right, and yes, as much as I disagree with their interpretation of its context, I have very little choice but to obey it. There is a huge and powerful lobby behind the right of citizens to bear firearms. Whether James Holmes could have been stopped by tighter gun or ammunition control, I cannot argue definitively. However, what begs a question is how someone can just load himself with so much firepower and walk into a movie theatre. That is the catch. All eyes and heads should be focused on prevention and security at movie theatres, malls, schools, ballparks and airports — for that matter, any place that holds a crowd. Ample measures should be in effect at places of entry to prevent such madness repeating itself.

The opponents of controls argue that loonies are loonies and they are everywhere. One cannot alter one’s lifestyle to that extent, as it will be in essence giving in to the fear of such characters. We heard the same lines post-9/11 too, that it was an attack on ‘our way of life’. It is a threat to the freedoms that most Americans enjoy. I disagreed with that simple assertion back then and I disagree with this simplistic explanation for such evil acts now. In my humble and perhaps, utterly flawed opinion, evil is just evil — without any race, colour, creed, national origin or religion.

Whether people like Timothy McVeigh bomb the Alfred P Murrough building in Oklahoma in 1995 or Ramzi Yousuf and his companions attempt to blast the World Trade Centre in 1993, to me both are evil. To me they represent no faith, no religion, no cause, no justification, no clarification and no basis. They are the real axis of evil. They represent nothing and have no leg to stand on. Whether it is Atta and his companions hijacking commercial planes to do the unthinkable or people seen around in our neck of the woods blowing others to pieces, all have one common denomination — dark and ugly evil.

What people fail to understand and often miss is the ‘American way of life’ is actually the ‘human way of life’. People around the world in many countries just do what all of us love to do. Play sports, enjoy art and movies, volunteer, congregate to pray or go to learning institutions. These are not only what can be singularly termed as ‘American freedoms’. These are more or less ‘universal freedoms’. All human beings strive to enjoy these tiny little joys that life has to offer. The characters that unleash their anger, disappointments and warped anxieties in the name of this or that neurosis, it does not matter who they are, where they are, what they are known as at birth. They are the darkest forces of evil. They are the worst of everything that life has to offer.

What these darkest knights of evil fail to realise is that not only many lives perish because of their acts, many more are impacted for life. The spouses who never get the comfort of their beloved partners, the children who are put on the path of emptiness, a sibling who can no longer relate to his or her family member and expect a shoulder for some much needed strength. All the scriptures, all the stories and movies, all the reality in front of us have proved one thing over and over again. There are only two sides, good or evil. We the people carry these within ourselves. We the people have the power to step out of the abyss of darkness and offer a ray of hope to one another. That ray of hope can be nothing more than a smile. A smile is all it takes to change this world. Just a simple act of smiling can alter the course of this entirely complex yet so simple a world.

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