Random Acts of Violence

I saw a news report of a man who approached a perfect stranger and punched him in the face. The stranger fell to the ground, never getting up, while the man walked calmly away.

The man who received the blow later died in a local hospital. The man who delivered the blow is still walking for all we know.

I saw a video of a refugee rubber raft that pulled alongside a large vessel in the Mediterranean Sea. While a sailor on the top deck shot the video with his phone, the refugees scraped and clawed to get off the raft and onto the rope ladders hanging from open doors on the port side of the ship. By the end of the short 10-minute video, the raft was sinking, debris littered the water, and the sailor was calmly pointing out drowning and dead bodies.

A man in Yemen lost 27 family members in a single airstrike that hit his home during dinner.

A church burns in Mississippi.

A woman is taken.

A child is abused.

What is our response? How do we act in the face of these stories? They happen while we sleep, literally and figuratively. They’ve become background noise to our busy and toy-filled lives. Random, unwarranted, hateful, hurtful, devastating acts of violence.

It leaves us shaking our heads, bemoaning the state of the world and asking the question, “What can I do?” Of course, the better question, is one we never ask ourselves, “What will I do?”

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