Have you ever known a dog that had to be put down? One that was mean and viscous? Did you celebrate it’s death? Or feel sorrow for the circumstances that would create such a creature?
I feel like America is like the horrible pit bull owner who created a mad beast. Making it mean and sharpening it’s claws to fight. This animal fought other dogs for us while we rubbed it’s belly and threw treats into it’s cage.

But over time the dog realized it was being caged. It saw through the manipulation of its master. The depth of abuse he and his litter had suffered was overwhelming.

So the dog answered the injustice in the language it had been taught: Violence.

When the beast attacks it’s owner, the owner has two choices: Stop treating creatures so cruelly or put the beast down.

Actually there is a third choice: Spend 10 years and obscene amounts of money to spill 20 times the blood of that first bite.
I will not claim to understand the financial or political objectives of those 10 years of violence. Clearly powerful men made fortunes while poor men bled. And everyone in between paid for it. That we were manipulated by the circumstances is obvious.

But now that the dog has finally put down, I feel no glory or joy. I feel no sense of justice. I certainly don’t feel like the violence is over. I only feel pity for a mean dead dog, frustration at the landscape of war we are now imbedded in, and intense sorrow for the 10’s of thousands that died along the way.

-john halcyon
may 2, 2011

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • E. Catherine Tobler


  • DhammaSeeker

    Eloquent and poignant. Thank you.

  • Matt Westgate

    Well said. Violence begets violence and we’re none the wiser for taking pride in a sorrowful means of resolution.

  • Halcyon

    well said as well. <3

  • Lori-Lyn

    Yes. Thank you.

  • rachael

    well said, it’s exactly how I feel about the situation.

  • Gesine

    Finally, thank you. As a non-American I felt so intimidated to say something because everybody seemed to celebrate his death.

  • Dejá

    I agree. I’d like to share something with you — I’m not religious but this verse is good, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.” – Proverb 24:17

  • Halcyon

    Love the proverb. <3

  • wsm

    The dog analogy does not apply here. Not even close. Horrendous.

  • Halcyon

    Thanks for the spell check, Walt. How did you find you’re way here, btw? (just kidding, YOUR, YOUR)

  • amy

    This is a lovely post. Thanks for sharing and esp. the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, just perfect.

  • Mitchell

    People like you are why Burning Man will change the world.

  • Brent

    I’ve enjoyed your Burningman tips over the years but this is one tip I
    wish everyone could see. Although I have the same thoughts, putting
    them into words has eluded me. Thank you.

    Hope to see you on the Playa.

    Spokane Wa

  • Halcyon

    Thank you so much, Brent. See you on the Playa!

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