Skip to comments.The night I would have killed (Do not read while eating)
Posted on 08/22/2002 1:42:56 PM PDT by AdamSelene235
The night I would have killed
Death is the last thing we should fear
- - - - - - - - - - - - by Pamela White (email@example.com)
On Saturday, it will be 15 years since I wanted to kill. If I'd had a gun the night of Aug. 24, 1987, at least one man-perhaps two-would have died.
I had just moved into a new apartment here in Boulder that day and was starting classes at CU after a year's maternity leave. My baby was 9 months old and had just taken his first steps. The world seemed full of possibility and promise.
But that night, two young men armed with switchblades nearly put an end to any possibility. They broke into my apartment, using the backs of their knives to shatter the glass of my kitchen window. Had I not gotten a call off to the police, I would have been raped at knife-point and perhaps killed. Who knows what they would have done to my little boy.
CU Police Officers Gary Arai and Tim McGraw arrived in time to prevent a tragedy. As they investigated the crime scene and did paperwork, I wanted to be as close to them as possible because they made me feel safe.
It wasn't their brawn I was thinking of, though I'm sure they're both formidable. It was the semi-automatic in their holsters.
"If I'd had a gun, I'd have shot them both in the face," I told Gary.
I visualized myself doing just that-holding the gun, firing at the filthy, leering smirk on the men's faces, watching their heads split like melons.
Not long after the break-in, I shared those thoughts with a former professor of mine, now a friend and mentor.
"If I'd have had a gun, I'd have shot both," I told her.
While sympathetic and full of compassion, she wasn't impressed, so I explained further.
"I would be better for me to kill them then let them attack me."
Her response, to the best of my recollection, was this: "Certainly it would be horrible if they had done what they wanted to do, but if you had shot them it could have cost you your soul."
Her words stayed with me, niggled me, pissed me off.
What was I supposed to do? Invite the attackers in so they didn't have to risk cutting themselves on glass, allow them to assault me, then offer them cigarettes?
"Hi, my name is Pam, and I'll be your rape victim tonight."
The right to defend oneself against violent criminals is etched into the American psyche. In Colorado, the "Make My Day" law allows citizens to shoot with impunity anyone who breaks into their homes if they have a reasonable belief that the intruder is going to commit a crime in their home or harm them in any way.
Had I blown their heads off, the law would have granted me immunity from prosecution. The men had taunted me from outside before breaking into my apartment, and their intent was clear on their faces. Reasonable belief? I knew what was going to happen if they managed to get a hold of me just like I know my own name. And even though they never laid hands on me, I received minor injuries from glass shards, which cut my legs.
I had no doubt at the time that I would have been justified had I blasted them into oblivion. No one would have blamed me, except perhaps the men's mothers. But then there was my mentor.
It would have cost me my soul?
At the time I wasn't certain I had one.
So many things have changed since 1987.
Gary and Tim still work for the CU Police Department, and I'm eternally grateful to them. The image of the two of them running full-tilt across an open field to get to me in time is forever set in my memory, along with the sound of my own screams. They put themselves in harm's way-one of the attackers turned on Tim, his knife drawn-for a stranger.
And my mentor's words, which seemed at best naïve, now seem crystal clear.
Spirituality is a personal thing, so I won't bore readers with the minutiae of my own perceptions. But the past few years have shown me that death is the last thing human beings should fear. Instead, we should fear the ways in which we fail to live up to our spiritual potential. Worst for us are those times when we deny the humanity of others, whether they be jerks weaving in traffic, thugs intent on harming us, or even terrorists in airplanes.
While I might have kept myself physically safe by shooting those men, I would have been placing my life and happiness above theirs. I would have been falling prey to the lie that they had the ability to harm me in any real way. I would have been forgetting the spiritual truth both about my attackers and about myself.
That truth, as far as I've been able to discern (and I do not claim to be an expert or have the inside line), is that in dying, we risk nothing. We lose nothing. All that we are, all that we've done, all that we love stays with us. When we kill, however, we negate the value of others and put our souls at risk.
This is a recent revelation. It doesn't explain why I never bought a gun, despite the years of nightmares and the paralyzing fear of being alone at night that plagued me for years after the break-in. That choice had to do with my children and my fear that they'd find the gun and become statistics.
The nightmares have ended, as has the fear of being alone. The desire to buy a gun passed long ago. But I've never written about the handgun issue because in so many ways I'm a fence-sitter.
If someone tried to break into my house again, I'd probably still call the guys who pack heat for a living. I won't carry a gun. I let them carry one for me. Second Amendment supporters would say that makes me a hypocrite or even unpatriotic.
And although I consider myself a pacifist, I know what it's like to look at a man's face and see that he's actually happy and excited about his plans for hurting you. I'm not going to tell people, women in particular, that they shouldn't defend themselves just because I believe such-and-such.
Ultimately, the decision to kill in self-defense-or for any other reason-is a personal one. Each person makes his or her choice. As with all other choices we make, we pay the spiritual consequences.
So finally, after 10 years of writing columns, I speak out on the gun issue. And the only thing I really have to say is this: Our anger and fear do more harm to us than those who make us angry or fearful. When we meet darkness with darkness, some of that darkness enters and stays inside us.
You're being too kind, Sir.
This is from the Onion, right?
Translated from the Koran, I suppose! </sarcasm>
Actually, I would call it morally bankrupt. Better her to NOT call the cops. You see, by calling for help, without taking the most basic steps to insure you own security, you place you life above those that would be REQUIRED to come to your aid.
She has a moral obligation to protect herself. Having the cops put thier lives and limbs on the line for you is just shirking your duty.
So her 9-month-old son would have been no worse off with a dead mother? Hmmm, maybe in this instance she has a point.
Farewel happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
Milton, Paradise Lost, book one
Thanks, I needed a good laugh today!!!!!
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