July Road Notes, Day 7

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July 11, 20201, Tulsa- All good things come to a pause, to be continued later. After a leisurely breakfast and final survey of my items, I bid farewell to son and daughter-in-law, with the common knowledge that we are always welcome in one another’s homes-as it should be with family.

My first stop, north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, was in the city of Sherman, southern gateway to the Lake Texoma area. Sherman is important to me for two reasons: A riot of white tenant farmers and townspeople occurred on May 9, 1930-in reaction to a black labourer’s having attacked and raped the white wife of a man who owed him money. The labourer, one George Hughes, freely admitted his misdeeds and was initially subjected to due process of law. A mob soon gathered, and succeeded in breaching the Grayson County Courthouse, chasing everyone except Hughes out of the building and cutting into a vault, in which he was hiding, then killing the man and treating his corpse atrociously. https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/sherman-riot-of-1930

This occurred nine years after the Greenwood Massacre that took place in Tulsa (1921), and the Sherman rioters took a page from those in Tulsa, and burned the business district in Sherman’s Black neighbourhood to the ground. The Sherman case, however exacerbated by conditions resulting from the Great Depression, stained the good name of the town for several years. To be fair, it was only one of nearly two dozen such riots, in every part of the country-not just in the South. Modern Sherman has largely moved past the nightmare, but there are remnants of the past two centuries, including the Confederate Monument outside the present Grayson County Courthouse. My personal hope is that such monuments serve as reminders of where we went wrong, as a people, and that no person, of any racial or ethnic group, ever again seeks to circumvent the law-even in, or especially in, cases of personal injustice. Vengeance always claims a great deal of innocent lives.

Grayson County Courthouse, Sherman, TX

The second reason for my stopping in Sherman was that, ten years ago, a young woman from the town had moved to Prescott, and became a friend-whom I advised on several occasions, whilst she worked as a server in a couple of area restaurants. With encouragement from me and others, she moved to Tempe and entered Arizona State University. I have lost contact with Summer, but have never forgotten her gentle spirit and determined drive. In her honour, I stopped in for lunch, at Old Iron Post, which appears to be Sherman’s answer to Raven Cafe. The ambiance, and the fare, did not disappoint,

Old Iron Post Restaurant and Bar, Sherman, TX

There was one more stop for me, before leaving Texas: The Birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower, in Denison. The small, unassuming town, near the Oklahoma state line, helped form the character of one of America’s greatest generals, who became a fairly good president.

The building itself was closed, but as with the Birthplace of Harry S. Truman, in May, I was able to get a few photos of the exterior and the grounds.

Statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Denison, TX
Birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Denison, TX
Mimosa trees, Eisenhower Birthplace State Monument, Denison, TX

That was it for meandering for the day. I continued on towards this fascinating, and often troubled, industrial and commercial center of northeast Oklahoma, and locus of the Greenwood Massacre of 1921. It is to Greenwood that my own focus will be drawn, tomorrow morning.

Say No To Vengeance

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March 19, 2021-

Say no to vengeance, for with it, comes only sorrow. Say yes to reconciliation, the way to a brighter tomorrow.

With vengeance, comes only further bloodshed, as each one wishes to fight back. Reconciliation and forgiveness, do not excuse the wrong, yet show the valour of ending the culture of attack.

Say no to vengeance, with its twists and turns, its innocent victims, whose survivors’ hearts slowly burn. Greet the warmth of reconciliation with its gradual healing. The song of forgiveness with its heartfelt love is appealing!

Set down your weapons, and take up your plowshares, that the dark clouds may part, to a sky calm and fair.

No Quarter

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December 6, 2019-

When one has an adult child serving in the military, there is a particular degree of attention paid to the circumstances surrounding that child’s safety and well-being, day to day.  My son entered the United States Navy in July, 2011.  He will finish his regular active duty, in January, 2020.  Then he will serve in the Naval Reserves, for several more years.  I will keep watch on his environment, throughout.

As his final weeks on active duty ensue, three attacks have been committed, on U.S. military property, within days of each other.  One, at Fort Story, VA, was an act of vehicular homicide.  The second, at Pearl Harbor, only days before the 78th Anniversary of the infamous attacks there, by the forces of Imperial Japan, was committed by someone who apparently snapped, after a disciplinary notice was issued him.  The third, which may also have been committed by someone who snapped, happened today, at Naval Air Station, Pensacola.  ended with four dead.

There is some speculation of terror ties, in the first and third incidents, but not-as yet- in the second.  There can be, simply put, no quarter given to any terrorist, regardless of ideology.  The whole subject of the origins of terrorism can fill several volumes.  It basically boils down to sustained inhumanity of one group against another, leading to ongoing acts of retaliation and revenge.

Yet, revenge just leads to more chaos, and the cycle goes on.  I read this morning of the summary executions of four men suspected of raping a female veterinarian and burning her corpse, near Hyderabad, India.  There is no less sympathetic criminal than a rapist.  I can understand the rage of the men who captured these four.  If anyone ever sexually assaulted, much less killed, any of the many women who are close to my heart, my emotions would boil over, privately.  I would then have to  leave the punishment to the authorities, expecting them to fulfill their duties.  In the event they didn’t, I would, following the law, be a broken record, until justice was served.

Vengeance, though, is not my way.  On the rare occasions when the woman I met 39 years ago today, later married,  and then laid to rest, after nearly 29 years of wedlock, was taunted or sexually harassed, I stood up to those who exhibited their animal instincts but never once did I feel the need to beat someone down.   This was fortunate, as I am perfectly capable of flying into a rage.  It just has become less of a potentially useful method of dealing with such matters.  Our society, many parts of which dabble in false equivalency, might too easily fall for sad origin stories of  rapists or other sexual predators.  In the ensuing judicial chaos, no justice is served.

I maintain that, in each case of assault on peaceful, law-abiding citizens, regardless of the assailant’s motive, there needs to be a doubling-down on adherence to the sanctity of human life and safety.  Those who commit acts of terrorism, including sexual terrorism, must face justice, in its fullness- without mindless vengeance.

 

 

Blamecasting

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November 10, 2019-

In examining Jordan Peterson’s remarks on what he sees as the Eighth Rule for Life, essentially “avoid vengeance”, it occurs to me that the basic issue stems from being other-focused, with regard to the  quality of one’s life.

This is a recipe for disempowerment, in the sense that  giving people, even those we love most, responsibility for what is good and bad in our lives.  Christ used the construct He called “Satan”, or “the devil”, to illuminate the lower nature which leads people to act in ways that are of a disservice to self and others.  People have taken that construct and used it as a scapegoat, as an actual being outside themselves, on whom to blame when they make bad choices.  God, Himself, also gets blamed, when there is misfortune in the lives of many people.

The choice, that those who give others control over their affairs often make, following a misfortune that is laid at the feet of another, is taking revenge.  This, of course, prolongs and most often deepens the agony.  I can think of no problem that I ever faced, which was solved by blamecasting or looking outside myself for resolution.  Indeed, when Jesus was tempted by His own human lower nature at Gethsemane, He gave us a road map for overcoming such weakness, with the words, “Get thou behind me, Satan!”

It is, simply put, up to each person to put the lower nature behind them-not often an easy task, but one which must be done.