Thursday, August 04, 2016

It Matters Every Time

I get why people are so surprised when a quiet man -- or woman -- living just down the street or next door is ultimately revealed as a serial killer. "He was such a good neighbor, always kept his lawn neat and his car washed."
"She was kind to everyone. Someone in your family died and she would come over with pie or cake or a pot of the best tasting stew. She offered to watch your house, take care of the kids, even water the house plants and take in the mail."
They are the kind of friends, family, neighbors, and people you want around -- until the truth comes out that Mr. Good Neighbor has been raping children and feeding their bodies to the mulcher that keeps his lawn so green or his garden flourishing. Ms. Kind Spinster had buried pensioners in her basement until it was too full of bodies and then she started burying the bodies in the basements or under the sheds of everyone whose house she had so graciously watched while you were away.
The disclaimer is always the same: "S/he is always nice to me." That is the ultimate stamp of approval -- how s/he treated you. No matter what s/he did, the yardstick always comes down to how you are treated spite of the fact that you have no children to watch the next time the itch needed scratching and there is no one vulnerable in your care. Every smart predator knows not to shit where they eat -- or where they live.
We need a different measure of who matters. We need to be more aware of the smell in the basement that isn't the plumbing backing up or the red mulch and actual bone mixed in the fertilizer that is human rather than bat or vermin making the roses flourish and the grass is always so green and lush.
Or simply the fundamental awareness that evil done to another is always evil done to us. It matters. When one person, no matter who, is abused, killed, maimed, or crippled it happens to each of us a little bit at a time. Family matters. Neighborhoods matter. Counties, townships, countries, and lives matter -- each and every one -- and should must matter to us.
I seem to remember a saying: "When we harm one person, a universe is destroyed." Or some such. It's more than what goes around comes around and more profound than s/he was always nice to me because ultimately when one of us is hurt, we all are diminished when all we watch is our own patch. Yes, we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers. What happens to the least of us happens to all of us -- and we are all diminished. S/he may have kept you in the dark by being nice to you, but every victim, every one of those hurt matters, whether you know them or not.
I am my brother's and my sister's keeper, whether or not I am personally aware of them. They matter. Their lives matters. All life matters . . . every single time.
That is all. Disperse.

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