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We Have Met the
Enemy ... and He Is Us!
Tim McVeigh and America's Soul
By Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi &
10100 Roe Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66207
Timothy McVeigh went to his death Monday June 11, 2001, with the same flinty look he showed the world when he was first arrested for killing 168 people in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He blew up the building by detonating a truck loaded with 7000-lb of explosives. At Terre Haute prison, Indiana, USA, McVeigh received a chemical injection from the government he despised, and was pronounced dead at 8:14 a.m. EDT, becoming the first federal prisoner executed in 38 years. He died silently, with his eyes open. A federal jury condemned Timothy J. McVeigh to death for the April 19, 1995. He shattered a complacent nation's belief that the face of random political terror could never be American.
Timothy McVeigh is treated like an aberration - something outside us. Timothy McVeigh is only one symptom of a national disease we all have. That disease is that we have collectively forgotten that we are "sacred," that life is "sacred."
How ironic that at a time when our government wants to spend more and more money on so-called "defense" and a star-wars system that will suck our precious resources away from protecting our environment and educating our children - we have just executed a man who has inflicted more terror on us than anyone else - and he is an American, trained by our own military machine. We do not need to pour our money and consciousness into fearing distant enemies abroad, because the greatest enemy is right here - often within our own minds and hearts.
The greatest damage done to American society again and again is "self inflicted." 70% of illness is caused by unmanaged stress - or in other words, our body and mind attacking itself with worry and FEAR, as average people struggle to survive in an economy of exploding wealth. The 6 leading causes of death are stress related. Our rivers are poisoned by the drugs we pump in our own bodies to hide from our stress or treat the illness that stress causes, and the toxins we pump into our foods to raise crop yields so we can gorge on unhealthy amounts of food, and our children are poisoned with the violence, and cruel comedy that uses hurt and put-downs for laughs, pumped into their minds day after day through our un-imaginative entertainment media, that often advertises foods and drinks that further destroy their health.
The great chief Seattle (Seathl) of the Suwamish Indian Tribe wrote a letter to the United States President in 1854, saying that they would give up their precious land, because if they didn't the US soldiers would come with guns and take it anyway. But, Chief Seathl cautioned - "love the land as we have loved it. Care for it as we've cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it was when you take it. . . . Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste."
Our culture is poisoned from our lack of nurturing ourselves, our environment, or our children, while we pour our precious resources into building weapons to protect our land from foreign invasion, while our children are undereducated and suffer a lack of hope and vision as the US imprisons more of its young than any nation on earth except one (we spend $500 billion annually on crime). And now our government seeks to destroy more of our precious natural resources so that we can suck more of the earth's bounty from her heart, at a time when the endless consumption of that bounty is strangling earth's ability to create oxygen and cool itself.
Our lives are out of balance, but rather than facing this, we aim our fear outward, to external enemies in other countries or we hang all of our dis-function on the shoulders of a Tim McVeigh, thereby avoiding the dis-comfort of looking in our own hearts. Our enemy is in our hearts, it is forgetting that we and our children are sacred. Timothy McVeigh felt that the pre-school children in the building he destroyed were expendable collateral damage. BUT WE are not so different when as a society we believe that the poison we eat and drink, the children who lose hope, and the prisons (monster factories) we fill and overfill, and the precious earth we consume (the US consumes 25% of the earth's resources with only 5% of the earth's population) - is acceptable collateral damage so that we can continue to pour obscene billions into more and more weapons of mass destruction.
Our lives are out of balance, as we over-eat so much meat that our bodies bloat and our hearts thicken with the strain. Our enormous appetites require an obscene mistreatment of animals in what's called "factory farming." Chickens raised their entire miserable lives without ever feeling the warmth of sunlight or ever having room to stretch their wings, being tortured with lighting systems and arsenic to stimulate them to lay more eggs, because they lay more eggs when continually stressed. Chimpanzees, because they are most like us in the animal kingdom, are infected and tortured in horrid living conditions, crying their lives away in sadness and depression. All of our technology offers so much hope for creating a good and loving world - but we squander it.
We would do well to remember what Chief Seathl told our president in 1854. "Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every Shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people."
Our culture has made fun of Indian culture in its movies and books and television. We have completely dishonored perhaps one of the most civilized cultures in the history of the world. It is time to listen, to reawaken, to find balance and harmony within our own lives and own minds. The enemy is not "out there," it is within each of us, and we can make peace right now by becoming sacred - reawakening to the sacredness of life. Let Tim McVeigh's death, and the sad and unnecessary death of the Oklahoma bombing victims have more meaning than some visceral shallow satisfaction in seeing another sick puppy like McVeigh bite the dust. Let's let this sad national journey lead us to some real meaning in our lives. Let's see through this sadness to remember that we are sacred. Our country, our land, our children, all sacred. And from this realization a healing can spread across our land, and through the world. America can inspire the world toward more than endless armament. We have the power to shine a precious light that can lift the world to new meaning, "if we can find that new meaning in ourselves."
"The devils of the world are in our own hearts - and that is where our battles must be fought." Mahatma Gandhi.