He was wearing camo pants and combat boots, a vest and camo cap with a big American flag patch. With narrowed eyes, he was watching the Leesburg Target exit, a well-worn Glock strapped to his hip. I always felt safe at that Leesburg shopping center, but not this time. It was the way he moved. Everyone else was flowing out through those exit doors. I thought he’d be right behind me, that he’d walk outside. He didn’t. He was casing the joint, looking for trouble.
Is this the future? Are we going to have vigilante thugs policing our public spaces, ever ready to “stand their ground?” I hope not. As I passed him, I wanted to say: “Hey dude, no offense, but you don’t make me feel very safe.” I stopped myself. It was the look on his face. Grim, he looked right past me: A white guy with a picture frame; not a threat. He was looking for something else. His expression reminded me of people I see in the SPLC Intelligence Report.
As people celebrate Christmas, remember that the birth of the baby Jesus lead to the “slaughter of the innocents.” We don’t need more centurions, we need more saviors. If I have one Christmas prayer, it’s that we, as a nation, understand the difference between the two.
I don’t say this naively, as a so-called “liberal” fantasy, but as a statement of faith. “People are basically good. Love conquers all.” I understand that we live in a real world. There is a real God out there, and he isn’t a one-sided God of miracles and bliss. He’s also a God of suffering and blood. But let’s leave the suffering to Him. We don’t have to unleash our fear on our brothers and sisters. We mustn’t condone thuggery.
Let the Light shine.