By Blaney Pridgen
All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.
Have you ever wished someone would die? If you say yes, then you are among the vast majority of us human beings. If you say no, then you are among a small minority that is stricken either with a fear to admit it or a religious sentimentality that forbids it. If we live long enough, we experience a friend or family member who has suffered enough and needs to pass on and may even want to die and say so. We may want their need met for their sake and our own. Then, we experience or know of someone so terribly awful, even satanic, that we are certain their demise would better humankind. Someone or something needs to take them out. Putin is among that terrible group. I would pull the trigger, hoist the rope, or throw the switch with absolutely no hesitation. Sadly, the world has too many of this sorry lot, past, present, and no doubt future.
But somewhere between the suffering loved one and the wicked, who need to find their cosmic exit, exist folk that bother us enough to fleetingly make the awful wish. Take for example the reckless driver, the uncouth littler bug, or the scornful anti-vaccer. What about those religious enthusiasts and political rabble-rousers who seek to foist off their notions on all the rest of us, as though they are privy to universal truth? These and others like them lead me into the dark wish and the forbidden prayer, until my better lights gain some leverage. Afterall, they are some mother’s child and what would Jesus do. We can’t just go around wishing that the jackasses, jackboots, and jackanapes politely disappear since we have no shortage of people,and they certainly slow the progress of civilization. Somewhere between all and none, most lives matter. Putin’s does not.
Admit it. We have our secret lists. It is best not to share them, especially at family gatherings and Sunday School. Keep them to yourself. Ponder them like Mary, God’s earthly sanctuary. Do your best to drop some of those names from your list and wish them as well as you can possibly allow. That’s healthy, spiritually, and physically. But keep Putin at the top of the list. He stays.
We might wish someone dead without knowing the circumstances that made them earn our deepest disfavor. I have heard from two prison wardens and a prison social worker, that half or more of the incarcerated have untreated learning disorders or were seriously abused as a child or both. Does this mediate their victims’ desire that the criminal take the dirt nap? Perhaps some but not much. If we go not quite so far as to wish someone dead, we might come up with a lesser more acceptable wish. I have fanaticized a brisk Sunday punch to the nose causing a crack and a gush of blood. That list of recipients grows and recedes with my downs and ups of life. A loathsome but not life-threatening malady comes to mind or an accident leaving a limp or at least a sunken fishing boat or a pink slip or a termite infestation. Regardless of the probable horrors of Putin’s personal story, he gets no punch in the nose unless it is causing a brain aneurysm and no sunken fishing boat unless he sinks to the bottom with it in some freezing Russian river in Siberia.
Perhaps this bit of confessional commentary makes you feel some better about your secret murderous thoughts. You are welcome, I think. Or perhaps this bit of commentary makes you feel all the worse for the murderous incivility of our troubled culture. You are welcome too. Let’s try to act better, which begins with thinking better. But let’s keep Putin on the hit list.