Ronald N. Neff: Remember the victims' victims

This observation first appeared in the Recon section of the April-May 1995 issue of The Last Ditch, p. 2.

  Remember the victims' victims



Naturally, all over the United State people are deploring the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. And in churches the following Sunday there were plenty of prayers said for the victims of the explosion and their families.

The Alfred Murrah Building housed offices for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Social Security, Veterans Affairs, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as military recruiting offices. The names themselves tell us that much evil was planned or committed within those offices.

The bombing reminded me of Tolstoy's remark on the assassination of King Humbert of Italy: "Kings and Emperors should not be indignant when such murders as that of [Tsar] Alexander II or Humbert occur, but should, on the contrary, be surprised that such murders are so rare, considering the continual and universal example of committing murders they themselves set the people."

And of Thoreau's: "They who are continually shocked by slavery have some right to be shocked by the violent death of the slaveholder, but no others."

I do not wish to minimize the suffering of the families of the victims, and I do not include the children murdered at the Murrah Building in what follows, but this is a good time to recall also the victims of the victims, who can probably be counted in the tens of thousands over the years, and to make a place for them also in your sympathy. And to those inclined to prayer, I urge that you not forget to include the victims of the victims in your prayers.

And speaking of prayers, it is not at all uncommon for prayers to be offered in churches "for the nation's leaders that they may make wise and just decisions concerning...." and you can fill in the object of the preposition yourself. The TLD Standing Liturgical Committee offers the following petition for inclusion in public litanies and intercessions:

That we may be delivered from the tyranny that daily oppresses us.

Response.  Lord, hear our prayer.


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