Friday, December 13, 2013

Monkey Santa Wants Revenge

Last night was my older son's choir concert, and it was woven into the great swirl of seasonal scurrying that makes up this time of year.  The younger spud needed to be at a rehearsal in Vienna at 6, and the choir concert was at 7:30 in Annandale, which meant I was slogging through the worst traffic in America for a good solid hour and a half at the height of rush-hour.  One appreciates the Prius for the traffic-appliance it is at such times.

I made it to the big guy's concert on time, and settled in near the back so's I could book out at 8:30 sharp to go back to Vienna for a 9:00 PM pickup.  The school choirs filed in, and like their high school, they were a wide and hopeful slice of contemporary America.  It was a veritable United Nations, with equal portions of kids of European heritage, Latinos and Asians and Africans.  They were a mix of all faiths, Christian and Muslim and Jewish and whatever they wanted to be.

The singing started, and unlike concerts in elementary school, this wasn't an endurance contest.  They were great.  These kids cared about what they were doing, and were having fun doing it, and it showed.

Well, it did for most folks there.  In the very back of the auditorium was a row of individuals--"students" seems like the wrong word here--who were not there for any discernible reason.  They hooted and catcalled at the girls choir when they came up.  They talked without stopping, through the quiet reflective pieces, in between the songs.

When asked to be quiet, they responded with aggression, to the point where they had to be asked to leave in ways that made it clear the adults involved were quite willing to press the matter.

The rest of the concert was lovely, although I had to book out right before the last song to race back to Vienna to get my youngling.

When I touched base with my wife to debrief, I heard that things had not ended well.  Evidently the group that was asked to leave had not left through the main entrance, but had all filed down the hall towards the choir room before slipping out a back door.

The choirs returned to the choir room to find it ransacked, every bag gone through, dozens of items stolen.  Cops were called.  Police reports were filed.

Happy Holidays.

It was interesting meditating on my reaction.  My primate-self responds in a fairly consistent way to such things, mostly pitching out suggestions that involve Louisville Sluggers and unusual criminal sanctions from late medieval Germany.

My liberal and libertarian selves argued briefly about personal responsibility and the impact of socioeconomic status on social behavior, but considering that most of the choir members victimized were of the same ethnocultural and socioeconomic background, ultimately left and right started listening to my monkey brain as it talked about the how-to's of drawing and quartering.  Who do we know that can lend us us some horses?  Hmmm.

But then, for me, there is always the voice of Jesus.  Pesky, pesky Jesus, who always forces me to consider those places where the bright binary equation of retribution never has a positive result.  Meaning, reality.

Reality, where the role of the one true law is to protect those who are victimized, but also to avoid harming an aggressor--physically or spiritually--to leave open the possibility that they can change.

Because closing out the possibility for change shuts out the whole purpose of Advent, now, doesn't it?