What Doesn’t Kill You…


When I was ten years old my step father cold cocked me out of a chair because I had improperly screwed the lid on a jar of peanut butter. Punching me square in the face didn’t kill me, but it did leave me with this nagging itch-to this day-when I see a jar improperly screwed on. I try to correct the lid and winch a little inside as I remember…then my life goes on.

I do not agree with the old adage “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. It does not make you stronger; it warps and molds you, but doesn’t always make you tougher. It’s like when a bone breaks. The bone will heal but the mend will never be as strong. Survivors of mass shootings aren’t made stronger, they just survive and go on with a head full of pain and misery. Survivors of war in Europe and Asia, women being raped and abused in African countries, the torture of fellow human beings…when it doesn’t kill them, I can’t see it making them stronger. What I see is it fucking with their minds for eternity. It fucks with the minds of anyone who sees it or reads about it. The most recent story coming out of Spencer, Indiana about a twenty two year old man raping and killing a fifteen month old child sickens me. Another pebble has been thrown into a river of evil and hate, which ripples and grows all over the world. Each time someone is hurt, whether physical or emotional, direct or indirect, the ramifications scatter in dozens of directions. The world is beginning to compile a lot of those ripples, folks. Survivors of gunfire in a theater or a school, thugs hitting people in the head with a brick for a few dollars…people who get punched in the face for screwing the lid on a jar wrong…the initial suffer grows and mends over broken bones, but it will never be as strong.

I hold sorrow for the people in Spencer, Indiana tonight. I am saddened by the loss of a young girl who didn’t even get to see her first birthday….life’s last images for her were violent and terrible. I feel sympathy for the law enforcement officials who have to deal with this case up close. This is the kind of work no one wants to face, but someone does it, and we should all be thankful for that because that kind of sick shit, witnessing the up close and personal on an infant death…that won’t kill you, but it won’t make you stronger; it will make you test your sanity over and over.

My great hope is that more people will recognize and appreciate the seen and unseen pain and scars most of us carry within. Every day the globe compiles more tragedy and we seem to be ripping at the seams of tolerance for one another. Gun enthusiasts support their right to hold weapons as shootings add up. Scary stories of nefarious tribes of foreigners, baying at American borders, put citizens on alert before they can even investigate the validity of a purported terrorist incident. We’re getting strung tight; larger numbers of people need drugs or liquor or weapons-or all three-to cope. Everyone wants justice and there are so many brands of justice out there but most our issues deal within some semblance of logic. This Spencer tragedy is outside the realm of logic. This rape and murder of a child is unspeakably harsh.

So now that I read the story and keep searching for updates on this story, I know that reading it didn’t kill me…but it didn’t make me stronger. In fact, I think it made me a little weaker.


1 Response to “What Doesn’t Kill You…”

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