“I was raised to understand and know
the difference between right and wrong.”
– Curt Schilling
music Tasveer by Mooroo, Pakistan
THE MARCH OF ONE
written & edited by
Kendall F. Person, United States
originally published January 15, 2017
There is a difference between right and wrong.
The concept is not simply taught, but instilled in us at a very early age. Tests of sanity versus criminal intent are based on rather we know the difference between the two. Right from wrong is not a zero sum game, however. There are certainly degrees, but none of them are free, when we choose wrong consciously. No one may ever know, the small degrees of wrong, so minimal they are to the universe. We are not perfect people, by design as well as choice; free will gives us even money on every wrong decision we make, and conscious assures, that the piper is paid.
“Right is right and wrong and is wrong,
and when people start getting it confused,
that means, they need to sit down with
some real people.” – Chuck D
On August 5, 2012 Wade Michael Page and Sadwant Singh Kaleka, would meet at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin. It was on that day, at the moment their eyes met, the difference between right and wrong could not have been more profound.
A 65 year old President of his temple was preparing to deliver Sunday Service within one of the world’s truly peaceful faiths, when he was ambushed and forced into combat. But in the split second before he was gunned down by the 40 year old man carrying the 9mm semi-automatic pistol – who had already amassed a body count of one – Sadwant Singh Kaleka would try to stab the attacker, and although he was unable to save his own his life, nor the five more that followed, Wade Michael Page – seeing the righteous stand of an elderly man armed only with a knife – had to know that he was wrong. Wrong in ideology, wrong in his target, wrong in his ill-conceived hate, wrong in his inability to gain control of his life and wrong about how right he thought he would feel.
As children, we are shaped into thinking individuals by the right and wrong decisions and choices made by our families, our elders, our communities, our schools, our churches and our government. The teenage years offer what we believed to be the first real resistance to authority, but in actuality, they are testing parameters, truths, limits and internalizing for themselves, the hypocrisies in religion and war and politics and love and peace and self.
But if the guidance instilled in us since birth – God from our Grandfathers, education from our Mothers, self worth from our communities, humility from our peers, and an unbending belief in liberty and justice for all, entrenched in us every day of elementary school – regardless of our divisions – then right and wrong, when clearly defined and contrasted with all that we know and with all that we are, should lead to discrepancies of high emotions and raised voices in worse case scenarios.
Wade Michael Page was not born a mass murderer or a hate mongerer or white supremacist He was not born predestined to give up on himself nor to give up on right. Did he become a victim of his own profession? Did he seek out and receive mental health support as a veteran? Important questions that deserve answers, but more importantly, on August 5, when he walked across the parking lot and into the Oak Ridge Sikh Temple and killed all those innocent people, why was that not enough, for us to stop pretending, that our terrorist problem is not home grown? Michael is part of greater societal issues of race, immigration and class, that must be addressed on all fronts.
But the march of one, however, is an individual reckoning. And along with a sense of purpose or fear of God, we must force ourselves to search for and understand right, for there are times when wrong cannot be stopped.