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A look into the mind of a killer

You’ve heard it said, “thou shalt not kill.”  You’ve read it.  You’ve watched TV shows and movies that iterate that value.  So many things that we hear and see may question moral values that we have, but seldom is this one touched.  Ever since Cain killed his brother Abel, mankind has known that killing another person is not like killing anything else.  Even killing animals for sport, which some consider intolerable, is debated by many.  Killing a person, however, is still considered murder. 

 

Or is it?

 

I met a young man this week.  He is a little younger than I, and he recently returned from working overseas.  He is a nice guy, respectable, clean cut, and generally all-American.  Yet he tells me that he has trouble driving.  Not the actual steering, braking, and maneuvering of a vehicle, but rather the controlling of his thoughts toward other drivers who may ignore his little car or even drive recklessly around him.  This bothers him a lot because in his last job, when people drove erratically around him, people died.  I don’t mean that people died because there were accidents.  People died because those in the other vehicle were vicious and malevolent, intent on hurting and killing him and his companions.  You see, my friend here was a sargeant in the US Army. 

 

In his job being on patrol meant being constantly vigilant and always alert to the traffic on the road and things off to the sides.  Killing “the enemy” is rewarded with congratulatory praises and the knowledge that one has also prevented injury or even death of oneself or one’s comrades.  Though he has been taught all his life that one should not kill, over there a switch was flipped, and killing became part of his job.  Now he finds that it is harder to flip the switch back off, even though he is not in a war-zone and he knows that it is wrong to kill.  How difficult must that be to be encouraged for so long to do that which has always previously been taboo.  How hard must it be to go from a place in which killing another meant surviving another day to returning to the “Civilized world” where killing another may cost one’s own life? 

 

Now, odd as it may seem, I think I understand why David was not allowed to build the Temple, while Solomon was given the task.  David was a man of war.  David was a warrior-king.  Solomon was not a warrior.  Solomon had never flipped that switch- David could not flip it back.  As much as he loved God and worshipped Him, he was a killer, and as such not chosen for the same tasks as his son Solomon. 

 

I feel for my brothers in arms, those who have been forced to flip that switch and are now trying to flip it back and keep it there.  I know that with God’s grace they can persevere, but it will never be as easy.

 

On that same note, I find that same principle at work in every other area.  Once a decision has been made to do something not previously done, it is always easier to repeat it than it was to do it the first time.  Whether this is skydiving, rock climbing, taking drugs, or stealing cars, the first time is the most exciting and the most challenging- after that it is at least a little easier to repeat (by the way I have only done one of those four things), and a little less exciting.  This is why it is easier to not do something than it is to quit doing that same thing.  Just ask Paul.

Comments

Comment from jv
Time: 25 October, 2006, 4:19 pm

slippery slope? pandora’s box?

how do you turn it on and off…
Guess we’re all recovering from something in someway

Comment from M.
Time: 25 October, 2006, 9:55 pm

And then there’s the renowned and experienced climber who fell 500 ft. to his death on a climb in Yosemite yesterday. No more easy repeats.

Comment from the Travel-junkie
Time: 25 October, 2006, 10:07 pm

Thanks for the news, as I will want to read about it. On the other hand, this was about how easy it is to kill (or do anything else) after having done it before, not how easy it is to make a mistake, whether through carelessness, poor planning, or just misfortune.

The list of activities could have included anything at all from flying to driving a car to robbing banks to swimming.  Whether immoral or not, the point is that it is easier to not ever do something than to quit doing something that one has already done many times.

Comment from dennis
Time: 25 October, 2006, 10:51 pm

The clilmber fell while on a rapel down. So far the cause of the fall is not known (other than gravity). He was a great climber too. It must have been a really small thing that he may have assumed was secure when it was not.

Comment from Laurie
Time: 26 October, 2006, 11:56 am

This was a great post. I’ve never considered the possibility that David was not allowed to build the temple because he was a warrior. Very interesting stuff to ponder…

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