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May 22, 2014

When Will It Stop?

I got off of the phone with a client. Some unnamed, irresponsible person had scratched her new car while she was getting a sandwich at Subway. The store had said that they would get her the license plate # of the vehicle from their security video tape, but it never came through. My client was upset…to the max. We could help with the repairs (estimated at $1,300) because she does carry physical damage protection. The car could be fixed, but she would have to pay the $500 portion of the bill that is her selected deductible. She does not have $500. She lost her job, had health issues and corresponding surgeries, and is barely scraping by. So she just unloaded on me about the unfairness of the whole situation and the grief that she feels every time she sees her car and knows that, while she did not mess it up, she will have to pay if she wants it repaired.

“I am just so tired of this,” she said. “But maybe it is better that I don’t know. This town is changing. They could be in a gang and they could REALLY do something bad if I pursued it.”

“I am not trying to sound like some kind of super hero or anything,” I replied. “But I think we should always try to find who is responsible and if they are criminals threatening violence, the last thing that we should do is let them go ahead and take the turf that is ours.”

“You don’t know how vicious these people can be!” she said.

And I listened with a growing sense of horror. This woman lives in a nice home in a nice neighborhood and, until recently, was an educator. She is not ignorant or uninformed or unskilled. But she is scared and willing to back down and concede victory to the bullies out of fear.

If you have ever watched The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, then you know what happens to a community when its citizens tolerate a thug and bully. (Hint: you would not like it.) Just the thought of lawless creeps terrorizing good citizens makes me want to strap on my holster (if I had one).

Like Pavlov’s dogs, we have been conditioned to run and hide and just hope we don’t have anything worse happen to us. It spills over into how we live and how we think about our liberties and freedoms. Government looms larger and larger, casting a shadow that begins to feel sinister and threatening as well.

Ronald Reagan said: “We can’t socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.”

I do not like bullying of any kind. In that, I am my father’s daughter. An adamantium spine has developed in me. I know what cowering is. I have done it hoping to appease. Appeasement never stops a bully from further encroachment. They have insatiable appetites and will gobble up whatever you fail to defend.

I guess the question is, what are we willing to feed to the crocodile and what will we determine to defend?

Psalm 17:6-7, The Message (MSG): "I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer. So – answer! bend your ear! listen sharp! Paint grace-graffiti on the fences; take in your frightened children who are running from the neighborhood bullies straight to you.“

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