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Thursday, December 13, 2007


I have a few quibbling problems with Christianity, such as the story of the virgin birth; but fundamentally I just can’t accept the idea that God has a mysterious plan to help each and every one of us. For example; on Sunday, last July 26th, off Deerfield Beech, Florida, thirty-six year old Steven Wilson was scuba diving with three friends. At about 3pm, just as he surfaced, a bolt of lightning materialized and was instantly drawn to the highest and most metallic thing on the ocean surface, which at that micro-second was Steven’s oxygen tank. After the strike his friends saw him go under and quickly got him to the surface and back aboard their 20 foot boat. They preformed CPR, radioed ahead for help and headed for shore. An EMT squad met them on the beach and rushed Steven to the North Broward Medical Center’s Level II Trauma Center, where…Steven Wilson was pronounced dead. Now, I’m certain Steven’s family and friends all believe that God had a reason for hitting their loved one with 150,000 volts, and in an odd way I hope they are right. But I have doubts.
I also have doubts about the whole association of sin and punishment. It doesn’t seem just or fair that a 34 year old sheet metal manufacturer and weekend rugby player such as Hiroshi Miyamoto, who had undergone simple surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, was then gunned down while recovering in his 2nd floor hospital room. He had a wife and two sons, and an aged mother who lived with them. What the hell kind of a moral plan accommodates that type of “final reward”?
At about 7:40 am on November 8th, a nurse at the Saga Orthopedic Hospital heard gunshots and saw a man between 5’3 and 5’7 tall and of medium build, running down a stairwell. A patient looking out a window saw the same man wearing a black wool hat, a brown jacket and beige slacks get into a white Toyota, which then quickly pulled away driven by a woman. Back upstairs the nurse found poor Mr. Miyamoto lying on the floor with “several” bullet wounds to his back. About 40 minutes later he was pronounced dead. The cops were puzzled until a check of the records revealed that the previous occupant of that particular room had been Shigeki Koiga, leader of the Kyushu Seido-kai mob, which has been engaged in a turf war for over a year after splitting away from the Dojin-kai, one of the 39 recognized gangs that form the “boryokudan" (violent groups) of the Yakuza.
The theory that poor Mr. Miyamoto’s sin was in just being in the wrong place at the wrong time gained credence a week later when Mr. Koiga was gunned down outside another hospital in Omuta. And a couple of days later Mr. Fumio Imada, a soldier in Dojin-kai, and his moll girlfriend were arrested on gun charges. Police said he was the “shooter” of poor Mr. Miyamoto, and she had driven the getaway car, his white Toyota.
These guys are not romanticized master criminals, like the “Crazy 88” from Kill Bill Volume 1. These guys are violent thugs, as greedy and stupid and ruthless as any white supremacist gang here in the United States. And being murdered by them by accident carries no moral lesson, except that random murder is a lousy foundation for a social structure and pretty inefficient as a gang methodology as well And that remains true whether the society claims Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, or Shinto traditions. There are in the human world a handful of truths that are always true. They supersede religious morality, even though they are often mistaken for religious morality, like the eternal truth that going through life drunk off your ass is not a good idea.
On American Thanksgiving of this year, humanity received yet another lesson of this latter “truth” when the Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an early morning 911 call in the town of Nicholson, Georgia. At about 1am a middle-aged couple completed a night of drinking by getting into an argument. And at the some point the husband accentuated his position by describing his 43 year old wife with an expletive (presumably the “B” word) and she responded by throwing a raw potato at him. And, by some amazing coincidence, the potato struck the lucky hubby right on the bridge of the nose and knocked him cold. In a panic the wife dialed 911. The police and the paramedics arrived shortly there after. But, since he was not dead (yet), and since she insisted she had not meant to hit him (this time), and, since he quickly came to and was not permanently injured and refused to press charges, the deputies and the EMT’s went on about their duties. No arrests were made, not even a ticket for disturbing the peace was issued and thus no names were recorded for posterity. But I feel certain that, God willing, the whole gang will be meeting again this holiday season at their house in Nicholson, on New Year's Eve if not before.
And that’s a truth.
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