TKS on National Review Online


Geraghty has more on the grief of Mehmet Ali Agca, attempted assassin of the Pope. Geraghty is astonished:

Sad to say, the greatness of spirit to declare a man who tried to kill you “your brother” is almost impossible to imagine – at least to my modern, post-9/11, you-hurt-me-I’ll-hurt-you-worse mentality.
Is it really that strange? It makes perfect sense to me.
How white their steel, how bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave,
Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave...
The hour when death is like a light and blood is like a rose, --
You never loved your friends, my friends, as I shall love my foes.
Perhaps Geraghty loses track by misunderstanding forgiveness and brotherhood for an end to combat. But you should love your enemy. It is in them that you will see the other edge of humanity; it is only through them that we can see the whole of what Man can be. It is, as it ought to be, a vision both terrifying and awesome.

They may yet have to be defeated. I argue below that some such men -- rapists, to be specific -- should even be destroyed. It is worth noting that we all have the capacity for evil. It is in rejecting it, in fighting it, that we achieve what we can of good in this world.

But we are brothers. Any of us can feel the temptation to evil; that is no theology, but a plain fact that we can observe in our daily lives. When we lift that sword against the cruel, we lift it against the cruel parts of ourselves. As you would strike down your own drive to cruelty, you may strike down the cruel.

Here many fall astray, saying: "But you are a hypocrite! You feel the same drives as he does! How dare you strike him down?" Yet nothing could be more evenhanded and honest. It is because of our familiarity with the nature of evil that we strike with a ready blade. It is because we know so well where those roads lead.

Therefore it is only healthy to love and to pity the cruel, even as we love and fear our own will. It is only honest. And it is only proper, as in the poem, to feel love and joy at the striking.

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