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cainAnd the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. 16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.                                Genesis, 4: 15-16 King James Bible

Today I drew from memory the kinds of kids I taught for 36 years: white kids of various ethnicities — Irish, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Scottish, Brits, French; then too farmers, hunters, athletes, Motor-heads, druggies, theater kids and slackers; boys and girls who fought mental illness and chronic diseases of many types; handicapped kids; black kids and Jewish kids and Asian, Indian, Latino, Chinese, South African, Brazilian, Japanese and Turks; Catholics, fundamentalist Christians, atheists, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and for a few years a crew of Wiccas. Gay kids and Trans kids. Smart kids, rough kids, struggling ones, happy ones, and out of thousands, a mere handful of sociopaths. None of them bore anything like “the mark of Cain”, the sign that designates who among all of them is never to be trusted because of color or belief or background or country of origin or gender or sexual orientation. Therefore my experience tells me that Shakespeare had it right: “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face,” for our faces are built to make masks, and the disguise of intention comes to us as naturally as respiration — we barely have to think about changing our face to match the desire we seek. We are duplicitous as individuals, not as races or believers in a creed.

As of this Posting, forty-nine human beings were murdered in Orlando by a man who beat his wife (who described him as “unstable” and “mentally ill”). He hated gay people. At the last moment, in a bathroom with hostages, surrounded by police, he declares that he acted for ISIS. He came from a father who believes that he is President of Afghanistan. Someone tell me where the large pattern is in him that makes him (or the San Bernadino shooters or the murderer of 13 soldiers in Texas) the person representative of a people, of a faith, of a nationality? If so, if all Muslims bear some nebulous “mark of Cain,” some character warping virus that might suddenly make them into creatures bereft of mercy, killers all, then where does the virus stop? Who else might carry it? Those who shield them should they be hunted by a Trumpian police state? Mexicans, men especially, who may carry the rapist “mark“? One hundred fifty years ago, the Irish had caught the sign. One hundred years ago Italians carried it and Germans, Jews too (and anti-Semites believe they do so still). Native Americans had it until we exterminated most of them. So many millions continue to hold that Black people have borne the mark for 400 years. I come from a time when I remember Catholics were accused of being loyal to the Pope, not the USA, and that the nuns who taught us practiced heinous sexual rituals behind the walls of their convents. And for how many millennia in the eyes of how many countless men, have women borne the mark of Eve?

Forty-nine human beings were murdered by a man who believed in despicable, life-destroying, life-denying ideas. Our job is to fight his ideas and to fight those who desire to murder. If we begin to choose entire religions upon which to cast our judgement and anger and grief, we will become monsters for we will perform monstrous deeds, and we will have chosen to do so. We will not be able to blame anyone else.

© Mike Wall

2 Responses

  1. Barbara says:


  2. Cain murdered Abel. You can read the inspired account in the old Authorized King James version. The inspired, infallible “why” is spelled out in perfectly clear terms.

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