Posted in a small train station in France.
I remember talking once with a scientist who worked for the US Department of Defense about his job. I don’t remember his name but I will never forget his answer, “I design weapons that will do the most damage to human targets. Such as bullets that will shred skin as they make their way through the body.”
Later, I talked with a man about the software that he designed for law enforcement to track criminals. His comment that “only a thin band of blue (law enforcement) stands between the average citizen and criminals” was chilling.
It felt horrible to consider that a portion of humanity’s time, talent and energy must be assigned to combat evil in all its faces. What progress, what a wonderful world we could create if these talents were harnessed for solving problems rather than destruction of one’s enemies. I was young. I was naive.
Last year, I took a class at my church on Handel’s “Messiah”. I recall a ninety year old women commenting about how awful World War II was for her generation. It turned their world upside down.
I did not appreciate her comments. I do now.
It is a terrifying and yet a fitting sign of our times that the poster above was affixed to the door of the bathroom at a small train station in a small town in France. When I saw it I wanted to say to somebody in charge, “I’m on holiday! I don’t want to think about terrorists!”
I don’t have an answer but I do have a prayer. ” O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forebearance and respect.” BCP
And of course, the lovely words of St. Francis.
“Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” BCP
I have a commitment and I have a choice. In the midst of terror and uncertainty, to uphold the values that make me a good citizen of the world.
Thank you SNCF for creating this poster. I hope no one ever has to use it.
Posted under “Living Everyday” as this seems to be the new normal.