Mel Gibson - Paradigm of World Peace?

First published 03 Aug 2006

Sometimes, the foibles of an individual are applicable to societal segments. They explain causation, justification and solution. By examining man as a model, perhaps society can see its own foibles and seek a true resolution, not a temporary bandaid.

  • Children who spend a lifetime listening to men in robes spewing venom, asking their children to carry on the hatred, waste their lives in futility for a greater glory which they will never achieve.
  • The solution can only begin when Islamic children are taught to co-exist, not while they are being taught to hate and seek death.
  • They better serve their God by befriending their fellow man, rather than shedding his blood.

In trying to make sense of a senseless world, things sometimes appear related, at least to me, and it becomes obvious that the dilemma of the world can be humanized to an individual. For the past few weeks, the experience of growing up in the South, as a child of the fifties, has been haunting: groups and attitudes, then and now; prejudice and brutality: sense and senselessness; meaning and absurdity. Then, Mel Gibson was arrested for driving under the influence. We heard of his background, his acting up, acting out, shame, contrition and look for future redemption - or downward spiraling into ignominy. And it becomes apparent that the foibles of this individual are applicable to societal segments. They explain causation, justification and solution.

I missed the first two weeks of my freshman year at the first high school desegregated in Alabama. My parents felt that it was too dangerous to be near that building. My first day was on a Monday, the day after the church bombing downtown. Yes, tensions were that high, News clips of the rioting were later used on TV shows topiced with school violence.

I saw KKK walking in robes. They frenzied groups of adults and their children. I heard the epithets, the vows to die rather than submit. Violence of one group on another. The raw emotion of hatred. Bullhorns, water cannons and pleadings did nothing to quench the fire that was burning. No elegant plea, no diplomacy could quell the venom that was being spewed. The eruption quieted only with imposition of overwhelming force and retribution against those who committed violence.


So, what has any of this to do with Mel Gibson? The reports are that his father was (is) a malignant bigot. Mel {I don`t know him, just being familiar for expediency} was indoctrinated with his beliefs throughout his development. He was able to function and became extremely successful and powerful. And, one night, he was acting up, then started acting out. There was the imposition of force and his shame became evident when faced with the reality of his deeds. Now we hear of his contrition, apology and requests for help in overcoming these malevolent traits which threaten his future.

Mel protests that he is not a bigot. Yet, subconsciously, he must have bigoted views as he has asked for help in overcoming these demons. Assuming that he is being truthful about being an observant Christian and is not consciously bigoted, then why the bigotry? It was ingrained. His formative years were spent in this stew and the animosity soaked to the bone. It has been inculcated so deeply that a lifetime of working with -- and probably even being partners with -- members of a group have not bleached that blackness. It`s the same in the Middle East. Children spend a lifetime listening to men in robes spewing venom, asking that children carry on the hatred, wasting their lives in futility for a greater glory which they will never achieve.

What of Mel`s acting up? So he had a few beers and was going 87 in a 45 zone. Why should we care? After all, he wasn`t hurting anybody. Most speeders and most drunks DON`T hurt anyone. So why does society, collectively impose overwhelming force to change Mel`s acting up? Because when damage is done to an unsuspecting and blameless party, more likely than not, it was because a drunk or speeder was acting up. Society imposes force to prevent the harm that may be done when someone is driving recklessly or under the influence. It`s to keep Mel safe and, yes, even to keep you safe. This is the same reason that radical factions in the Middle East cannot be allowed to go on a drunken cruise, whether that drunkenness is due to alcohol or religious zealotry.

And acting out? Mel is reported to have focused his anger and fears at the cop with racial slurs. Some report that he had to be restrained before he was placed in cuffs and taken to jail. Mel was subdued with overwhelming force. If he had attempted to physically harm the cop, Mel could have been killed; a justifiable homicide. No one that I`ve heard has suggested that the cop should have given Mel another six pack and told him to chill-out. But, that would have been a diplomatic way to handle Mel`s acting out. And that would have been as absurd as telling a nation that they cannot defend themselves, that they have to give the aggressors a six-pack and diplomatically wait until the aggressors chill-out. No one would have blamed the cop for the justifiable homicide if Mel had brought out a 9mm and aimed it at the cop, much less if Mel had fired off a few rounds. Would anyone have blamed the cop if Mel had brought out an automatic assault weapon and blazed away? No, we would have all thought that it was tragic that Mel`s life had been cut short by his stupidity. But, we wouldn`t have blamed the cop.

Mel is now restrained with overwhelming force and society will determine the penalty that he will pay. He has the privilege to face the judicial system because he wasn`t stupid enough to try to kill the cop. Otherwise, he would be in a morgue instead of a jail. But, the crazed factions of the Middle East have not relieved themselves of such stupidity. They continue to hurl missies and rockets, indiscriminately attempting to injure, maim and kill eery member of the group that they hate; man, woman and child, without remorse, without any sense of guilt. And, they have been doing it for more than a hundred years. The hatred didn`t begin with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, That was supposed to be the solution to the hatred. If this were Mel blazing away with an assault weapon, he would have been dead, not the protagonist of an action flick who always prevails. While life may imitate art and vice versa, one should never make the mistake of confusing the two. In life, one does not get up and walk away from the grave when a director yells cut. Nor when a diplomat calls for a cease fire.

So how is Mel going to get out of this mess? Someone is going to decide what the penalty is for Mel`s acting up and acting out. Then, Mel says, he is going to examine his ingrained biases and attempt to work through them. In other words, Mel has admitted that his thoughts and beliefs were not in his best interests and that he needs to change. And, this is the only thing that is going to resolve the corruption in the Middle East. A deep chronic abscess is not resolved by the occasional expulsion of pus. And neither will the malady of the Middle East be resolved by a cease fire glossing over the latest eruption of this chronic abscess.

If one compares the hatred of Jews to the racial bigotry of the South 50 years ago, Hizballah is the KKK equivalent. No one has ever suggested negotiating with the Klan. It was something that had to be demilitarized. The Klan was made impotent by the use of overwhelming force, not negotiation, cease fire and understanding the bigotry which motivated their violence. No one spoke of the good that the Klan did in protecting a Reconstructionist South from ruthless carpetbaggers. The Klan was neutered, beaten into submission by the shunning and yes, the FORCE, that society imposed. Nobody blamed the cops and the National Guard and the FBI for crushing the power of the Klan. Neither should anyone blame or attempt to vilify those who are being forced to neuter the Middle East KKK equivalents. No one would have stopped Mel if he hadn`t been acting out, and the KKK is still allowed to exist, to protest and to express their views. But, the KKK is NOT allowed to burn crosses, beat or lynch those whom they hate. Such attempts are met with overwhelming force, as it must be.

President Bush recently recognized that America has not yet cleansed itself of all racial animosity, even after fifty years of trying. Similarly, it is impossible to believe that the Middle East, or even the world at large, will be safe, overnight. The problem is one of ingrained hatred of people and lifestyles. No sane person can prefer war over peace; nor bloodshed over brotherhood. The solution can only begin when Islamic children are taught to co-exist, not while they are being taught to hate and seek death. When they are taught from birth that the sanctity of human life is greater than the glory of martyrdom. That they better serve their God by befriending their fellow man, rather than shedding his blood.

Until then, don`t blame the cops for doing their job to make the world a safer place. Don`t blame Israel for draining the abscess of the Middle East. Otherwise, keep an eye out for Mel`s SUV ruining your life.


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