If we feel powerless we behave badly: people who crave power are usually people who feel in some way inadequate on this earth.It doesn’t seem to matter if we are seeking power through control of a few others, or one other person, or an entire country, it is a bad idea if we do not recognize why we are doing it.
I live in a condominium development where the people who are in charge are very focused on not allowing anyone to make any choices about their surroundings. They reserve the right to oversee almost every detail from where a new tree gets planted to where and how one can park a car. In the beginning I paid little attention to these people finding it is better in life to ignore anyone who seeks to control the lives of others. I have found in my life many people who enjoy positions of power in small communities as perhaps they feel powerless in the overall scheme of things. Yesterday I was lying in bed reading the paper with my small dog beside me when I heard a commotion outside my window. As I looked outside I saw a few men climbing the tree on my patio and trimming the boughs of this lovely old tree. When I moved into this place I was sold on the idea of condo living because of the privacy I found here. The trees outside my window afforded real privacy for me and I loved the beauty of their graceful limbs.Once I saw this beauty being destroyed by workers who had no regard as to how the tree was growing I became angry and yes, fearful. I felt powerless. I called the management office and asked to speak with whomever was in charge of this work. The men outside told me the head person had been told of my upset at the trimming and had told them to ignore me and keep on cutting. When I reached this man later on and expressed my thoughts on the trees and mentioned it would have been correct to speak with me about the trimming rather than telling the men to continue the work, he had no answer. I knew this man was indeed a victim of powerlessness. In his life somewhere there had been an angry woman who had turned him against all other women who he viewed as attempting to control him.This may sound like a pat diagnosis of bad behavior but in my heart I know it is true. There was pleasure for him in this power over me.
It is my reaction that I am still surprised at as I continue to think if I just keep trying some day I will not react to bad behavior but I always do. I react to people who ignore appropriate communication and go with the way of power.I react to feeling controlled by anyone.
Yesterday a woman I know was raped and killed by a man in Puerto Rico where she was vacationing. She was five months pregnant, happily engaged to a man she was in love with, and out for a morning jog. Probably she was thinking about nothing but the morning air, what she would cook for lunch and how the baby within her was growing. Maybe she was talking to the child in her own way, telling him or her about what she loved to imagine. She was running along, noticing what was around her, probably listening to her IPOD, and enjoying her life. A man noticed her running and opened the trunk of his car. When she grew closer to him, he grabbed her and stuffed her into his trunk. He was a big man and she was a small woman with delicate bones and a delicate face. This man stole her and took her to a place not far from where they started. She made a couple of calls from the trunk of his car, describing the man and his car and asking for help. The people she called couldn’t help her fast enough. This man did things to her that will never leave my mind as they are so violent and so obviously hateful of women. Violent things that I hope she never felt. I hope she was long dead before he started his disgusting and sick acts. I am afraid she was not. To say I am shocked by this crime would be too light a description. Everyone who knew her is shocked and deeply wounded by this single act of terrible violence. I can’t understand where this desire to hurt women comes from. How could a man decide in the blink of a morning to abduct a strange woman, happily jogging along in the morning light, stuff her in his trunk, and take her to a place where he could torture her and kill her. The police caught the man and he later confessed. He said he knew it was wrong and that he had a daughter.The press announced his mother had killed two of her children almost as if it were genetic, this murder trait. Even as I am writing this I am aware of how simplistic it sounds. Where does this killing streak begin? Where do men and women become so deranged that a life becomes so meaningless it can be extinguished in a second? Where and why do human beings commit murder as easily as they spit or go to the bathroom?The real question is how do the many friends and loved ones of this young woman continue to live their lives? How do her parents recover from losing their child in this way? I think I am a Buddhist but at time like this I wish our criminal justice system punished people who commit these crimes by doing to them exactly what they did to their victims and making certain they feel all the pain their victims felt. Shocking? Yes. But it is how I feel.