Vengeance Is Not Mine…

…nor is vengeance yours.  The dedicated Peace Officers looking for two persons who may be implicated in today’s heinous act in Baton Rouge are not likely to be thinking of vengeance.

In my life I have known a great many criminals. Only a few were preachers and even fewer were apprehended.

In my life, I have known even more Peace Officers. I do not know any who got up in the morning, reported for work and went out thinking, “Today I will get to kill some citizens.”

As proof I offer the many unguarded moments when Peace Officers bragged openly about their twenty, or thirty years of service, or more, and punctuated their anecdotes by saying, “And I never drew my weapon.” I do not recall even one who remembered drawing his or her weapon with happiness.

Peace officers are not drawn that way. When citizens die, Peace Officers give up their weapon, write long reports, face strenuous reviews and wake up sweating at night. They are not Pigs, as my generation called them; nor are they good haters.

So, I argue, the two persons alleged to be intimate with the other Baton Rouge shooter, will be treated as all suspected criminals. If they surrender peacefully, Officers of the Peace will not execute judgement against them.

Ordinary citizens, neither criminals nor Officers of the Peace, must not call out for Vengeance, even if we call it Justice when we cry. Justice limits Vengeance, it does not multiply wrath.

We must eschew Vengeance, because:

  1. We are not very good at Vengeance. We often end up shooting the wrong persons, or punishing the innocent, while all full of wrath.
  2. We cannot tell when Vengeance is requited, in full or in part. We need the punitive; punishment of a lurid nature. The Unintended Consequence is the result. God did not kill Cain, but only marked him and sent him away, though God was offended by the second son of an offending father. Surely, God could see what was coming, and yet executed Justice, not Wrath.
  3. We fall into the habit of the practice of the offence of Vengeance. In so doing, we become that which we ostensibly decry. We become the Violent, the Vicious, the Vengeful.

Then, for these reasons, we ought to follow the example of our professional Peace Officers. We ought to practice Justice.

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