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Evil violence / August 17, 2017
Sunday morning as I drove to church, this saying came to mind: “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Most of us have the ability to forgive with time and if the grievance against us is small, yet few of us have such noble ability if the issues are truly evil and cost us the life of someone we love. That is clearly the difference between Christ and ourselves. He forgave those who crucified him. If only we could be that divine. At the very least, let none of us follow those who incite hate based on race.

This thought came about because of the events in Charlottesville. A situation in which many erred in judgement and action. As one side of the trouble makers made errors in judgement, the other side made equally bad errors. This process ratcheted up to the point that three have died and others are in the hospital. Tit for tat situations generally move to worse and worse situations. This time is no exception and where it stops — if it does — no one knows.

Beginning with a movement to remove a statue that has stood for a century with few even thinking about it, the situation has now risen to the level that if the statues are not removed, some claim they will be unable to function in that community. Bickering back and forth brought us to this past weekend, with each side bringing into the state and city people seeking trouble.

Both sides had individuals prepared for physical confrontation. While services were conducted, they did not speak of peace and forgiving, but rather ginned up passion in the crowds gathered. The media gave factions on each side the chance for their moment before the cameras, their moment of fame. Neither mob had any qualms about marching toward each other to create the havoc that appeared on television.

How many of these idiots are Virginians I have no knowledge. Reports would have you believe that many were not Virginians. However, even those who were Virginians lacked the good character to be considered Virginians at heart. All should take the time to learn about the entire life of those honored with statues. Robert E. Lee was more than a confederate General. He was an accomplished military leader for the United States Army who did not approve of slavery. As well, he was an educator.

Some on the left have tried to blame the problems in Charlottesville on President Trump. They claim that his campaign rhetoric empowered this minute group. I would argue that, actually, he simply grasped the frustration of many Americans. Americans who believe that our federal government has grown aloof and uncaring of those who believe in hard work and individual responsibility. The fact that some folks agree with him on some issues in no way connects him with them.

The greater question before us at this time is, how do we ratchet the situation down. To accomplish this, I expect that we will all need to do several things. First, stay away from trouble makers who are seeking to create violent confrontations. Second, relay to your favorite news organization that you will turn off their station if they give these nuts air time. Third, learn the true history of the complete lives of those have been honored by statues. Most importantly, ask for divine intervention in each of our hearts to find common ground.

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Senator Frank M. Ruff, 15th Senate District of Virginia

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