I live in northern Arizona. My brother lives in Tucson. When I heard about the shootings in the Safeway parking lot I calledhim immediately, especially since he shops at Safeway and lives in thenortheast part of the city. I was so grateful to hear his voice. In a family ofbroken ties and shared tragedies we are the closest. I then concentrated on the news flashes on the television. As each piece of information appeared on the screen, my heart grew heavier and heavier, especially regarding the fate of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford. Upon hearing that the nine year old girl who had been killed was born on September 11, 2001 I wondered about coincidences and how they always bring messages. I told myself that God took her because he needed an extra angel to guide the others who were killed into heaven. But it all still hurt, the kind of hurt that makes you feel the world is a bad place and nothing is ever going to make it good.
Years ago, when my life started falling apart, that philosophical part of me searched for answers to murders. It started with Jack Kennedy, then Martin Luther King, then Robert Kennedy. That last one hit the hardest. My husband and I had been at a dinner given for him only a few days earlier. It seemed the world had gone mad. How could there be so many murders in a world that claimed to be searching for peace? How could one human take another human's life, especially for no obviously understandable reason like defending themselves or their loved ones? I can barely stand to swat a fly. The idea of ending a life is beyond me.
I was struggling with the aftermath of incest and severe brutality and what lay ahead of me was decades of domestic violence relationships, sexual assaults, living in a woman’s shelter, suicide attempts, nervous breakdowns and time in
psychiatric wards. So I spent many days and then weeks, months and years pondering why, why must there be murder? It seemed I had to find an answer if for no other reason than to be able to maintain my optimism in the midst of what I was already going through in my personal life.
Finally, I developed the Cain and Abel Syndrome. God created people in his own image. God patterned them after himself; male and female, he created them. One day, God accepted Abel’s offering of several choice lambs but he did not accept Cain’s gift of farm produce. Then, Cain became angry and killed his brother Abel. When only four people existed in the world, one of them was a murderer and another was the victim. And this was in a family. Brother killed brother. Why?
If God made man in his own image and there are good people and bad people, then does God have a dark side and a light side and it manifested itself for the first time when Cain killed Abel? After reading the Bible, cover to cover, it became obvious to me that the Old Testament had a dark and angry God, one who would even ask one of his people to kill his own son. The Old Testament not only had murder, it had incest and rape, theft and deceit. It contained everything that is dark and evil. In my mind it represented that dark side of God. But the New Testament was about Jesus, the son of God who brought forgiveness and brotherly love to all mankind. This, I decided represented the light side of God. Perhaps murders happen so that man will learn how to be good, how not to hurt others. One thing I know. Since Cain and Abel, there have always been murders. I don’t think it will ever stop. The world will ebb and flow with its happenings. World War II brought the murder of millions of innocent people. And there have been so many other wars before then. If you travel backwards through history so many billions of people have lost their lives by another.Ironically, more people have been murdered in the name of religion than for any other reason. Is this the hand of God trying to teach us that we have not learned the lesson that Christ brought to the world: Love one another as you have loved me. Do good to other people as you would do to me.
My eyes and ears continue to follow what is happening in the Tucson area but in the back of my mind I see Cain walking in the fields with his brother and then killing him.