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Peter Paul Rubens: Massacre of the Innocents (1611–12)
" … getting even only leads to slaughtering innocents …"

They goad. They spout gibberish. They firmly believe in flimsy fictions and claim to be prepared to lay down their lives to defend them. I imagine that they performed poorly in school and so felt demeaned there. The elites who harshly judged them in class became evidence of an upper class to which they would be forever denied access. They took menial jobs, ones which only almost paid the bills. They did the heavy lifting whenever an elite got a bug up his ass. They actually fought the wars without purpose. They witnessed their comrades' deaths. Perhaps they acquired a first class case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which just added another layer onto an ever-growing grudge. They believed that owning guns was both an honor and a right, a little something to equalize what had always been an unfair fight. They vowed to fight. They exclusively slaughter innocents, innocence.

They goad to take the upper hand.
Their enemies can only be engaged with on terms they define. Any other, and they're out-classed again, and playing by rules only elites understand. Laws mean nothing beyond unfair subjugation. The courts, a continuing joke. Elections must be rigged because they seem to continually do the upper class's bidding. Sometimes the police side with them, but even then, they hardly qualify as friends. The activists, those who lawfully assemble to air their grievances, seem like so many wusses, privileged, armed with banners and candles, parading their dubious freedoms, hugging freaking trees. They are the enemy of TheEnemyWithin.

TheEnemyWithin seeks not resolution, but revolutionary upheaval. Not peace but unceasing turmoil, mirroring their own experience. They found no safe haven and so perceived every promise as a threat, every opportunity another losing bet. They get it that they always get the short straw. They aspire for everyone else to experience their sense of futility. They know that they cannot succeed and pray that their failures might infect those who neglected them. They became nihilists the old-fashioned way, by simply failing to thrive day by day by day. Out of other options, they concluded that God might be on their side. Him, and their innate whiteness.

Their innocence was the first slaughtered, wounded then lingering long near death. They never qualified for a social safety net never intended to catch them. If they seem the enemy of the people today, perhaps that's because they were the enemy of The People way back when, when they still carried their innocence just as every child certainly must. They were never welcomed here with open arms while others, many not even from here, seemed to step into their rightful place. The education necessary to successfully compete was not denied them, they denied it for themselves, for they well understood where they were not wanted, and left. They left to find a home worth having, one which didn't demand such demeaning initiation. They found each other, recognizing brothers and sisters rejected and so also rejecting. Excuse them if they had no prior experience collaborating. They created primitive communities. What must that mean to finally find others who, like yourself, had never before found any sense of brotherhood anywhere, except, perhaps, for a short time in the military.

Of course I cannot understand. I became a fortunate one. Sure, I snuck in through the bathroom window and so I live with my own brand of imposters' guilt. I might have become just another displaced one had good fortune not found me and propped me up. I was ultimately not rejected when it really counted. I felt no more worthy than the least among us, but I still managed, through little personal initiative, to somehow gain acceptance. I helped a few along. I could never see myself carrying a long gun into any metropolitan center to hunt down any enemies, but, you know, I've harbored my own dark fantasies. I never tried to make even the least of them real. I feel in no way superior, and perhaps that's my check. This life seems fundamentally unfair in almost every way, but getting even only leads to slaughtering innocents, and innocence. This was never about guilt or innocence, but something else. Gilt, perhaps.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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