The Role of Human
Thou shalt not kill. – Exodus 20:13 (KJV)
I knew Alec Baldwin in Greenwich Village. We met talking about the Judson Memorial Church sign, which he credits with having convinced him to come to NYU and the city long ago. The sign then read something now famous, “Beware the military industrial complex,” by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Alec has since moved out of the role of complex celebrity into the role of human. When that terrible accident happened during a “Western.” he could only say, I’m so sorry.
What else do you say after something like that happen? How do you talk to your children about it? He has a lot of children. Plus, whose story is this? The murdered one or the murderer?
Another old friend ran over his two-year-old child. The child died. He has never forgotten. He is not a celebrity.
Lots of celebrities join ordinary people in having crosses to bear. Things happen to people who live out loud. Alec might get out of the kitchen because he can’t stand the heat. Few people do. More should. He could become a different kind of patriot, like the one he was on Saturday Night Live. He could become the poster child against guns. Maybe movie sets could clean up their acts and fake the noises that kill better. Or let their industry take the lead in keeping guns out of the first act, in the first place, in way too many places in the first place.
Beware the military industrial complex if you want, but beware blaming yourself or others even more. Nobody is perfect, and when it comes to guns, the military and its complexes join guns in being very good at imperfection.
Let us not kill, accidentally or on purpose or in fiction. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Pastor at the Orient Congregational Church on the far end of Long Island, New York. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.