Foreshadowed in Jay’s teenage poem and developed more fully in his adult writing, he clearly realized the escalated killing power inherent in the introduction of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. In “Taming the Violence of Faith”, he discussed the history of violence and war over the centuries; tracing how it moved from a one on one, or one on few form of destruction, from which the human race could always survive and recover via procreation, to the modern and very real possibility of mass destruction made feasible with newer weapon systems for which survival and recovery by the human race remains highly suspect.
Even with the dramatic reduction from a peak of almost 70,000 active nuclear weapons in 1985, the triggering of less than 1% of today’s remaining 17,000 nuclear warheads is estimated to be enough to induce an end-game, global, nuclear winter. And even if there were no nuclear option, weapons of mass destruction, from bio-chemical to hijacked airliners, pose a one to massive killing potential, as we recall with solemn certainty on this very day.
Jay’s writing pondered why the very same people who are aghast at dis-organized-violence, the often random acts of violence that happen in everyday life played out on the news and social media, can simultaneously be pro-organized-violence in the name of a religious or political doctrine.
Personally, I am an advocate for a strong defense and I consider myself a peaceful person. Yet, I humbly recall the feeling and desire for retaliatory action, beyond defense, in the heat of 911. History tells us that is a typical response. And it almost always ends in more destruction followed by a seemingly-peaceful lull that belies the battle still broiling in the background.
History also tells us that the violence waged against the human race in the name of religion and politics goes back to nearly the dawn of our civilization. To illustrate, Jay quotes biblical examples of such horrendous violence that I found myself reaching for my bible to see if the brutality he quoted was truly written therein. It was.
- We have been conditioned to operate in a win-lose paradigm. For one to gain, others must lose. For one religion to be the true religion, others must perish. For one political agenda to be the truth, the others must be lies.
Jay Stuart Snelson
As you ponder today's 911 anniversary and consider the turmoil the world is in across nearly every region, Jay would urge that the key challenge for each of us is to ask “can you identify, clarify, and verify which social causes lead to which social effects?”
On this the 13th anniversary of 911, a simple prescription for our violent world, one which Jay would likely applaud as it cuts to the heart of the root-cause issue, actually comes to us from readings of faith; simply, "love your neighbor as yourself."
May peace be with you as we all reflect on the loss and lessons of 911.