Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Karma and uncertainity

Not to be overly dramatic, but I might have saved a life Friday. A gangbanger bigger and heavier than I am was choking another against a table. I peeled him off and spun him to the ground. He started to rise and I yelled "Stay down!" with the sensei voice and he did... there was blood everywhere from a cut on his chin.

Hence the karma question- if you save the life of someone whom you know to be a violent criminal, is it a good thing? Do you take on responsibility for his future predation?

The lotus-eaters, the ones who talk about enlightenment as if it was joy instead of understanding, will say 'no'. They don't want to believe that a good act can have evil consequences. It can, and you are responsible for it all, good or bad.

So why did I do it? Because I wear a uniform. Because I want to live in a world where the people in uniforms do the job expected.

Uncertainity, too. Tomorrow I will be teaching jujutsu. I will show them how to put down a 220 pound person without hurting him because this incident reminded me and I don't think I've shown that in a long while. The young ones will think it is cool. The teenagers will fantasize about being in that position. They won't notice I won't be sparring. I won't be sparring because I don't have the results from the criminal's blood test yet. He's been cleared of HIV but not Hep C, not yet.

Until I know, certain aspects of my life will be on hold.
All to save a criminal.



Kamil said...

If a dam has a flaw in it and you add that one last drop of water to the reservoir, did the damn break because of the flaw or the last drop?

I would say that as bad as saving a criminal is (the last drop), his future actions (the busted dam) have more to do with how his life was built (the flaw) than any good thing you do to him. Every good thing we do (protecting life) might come to a bad end. That seems like an awful reason not to do them.

You saying that you take responsibility for his future predation means nothing. In a society we all have responsibility to each other, whether we like it or not. If anyone grows to be a killer, we all had a part to play either through our actions or our inaction.

Anonymous said...

Although I've always associated enlightenment with understanding, I think I've also always assumed that that understanding would be accompanied by omnipresent joy. It never occurred to me that it wouldn't. Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Thank for having years of your writing available here. I just wanted to let you know I am enjoying it and happy to have much to look forward to. It is rare, for me anyways, to find authors that resonate so strongly at times; a phrase here, a thought there.

Thank you