… And Justice For All

Right now I’m watching a japanese film that goes by the name of “The Machine Girl”.  The film is based around a revenge plot between a girl and an entire group of families whose bullying kids murdered her brother.  In the process she loses her arm to the leading bully’s father.  There’s actually an inordinate amount of blood in this film to the point that it becomes comedic.  Imagine if someone turned on something similar to an indoor fire sprinkler and blood sprayed everywhere.  That’s actually what I’m watching right now.  Several bizarre implements have been used like a prosthetic machine gun arm, a scythe and a chainsaw.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m absolutely damaged for laughing at such things but, seriously, watch this movie and tell me the severed limbs aren’t somewhat funny.

This movie got me thinking a little bit.  Aside from the unbelievable amount of blood that gets used in this movie, I wondered what it would be like to be so hell-bent on revenge that you would kill any and everyone involved.  It’s one of the most basic plot devices you can use and can be done well with a little bit of work.  But how much anger do you have to bottle up to be able to do that?  I am almost certain there have been real people that don’t have prosthetic machine gun arms to aid them that have been hurt in unbelievable ways who seek revenge and think they get it.

In movies like these, revenge is seen as some sort of final justice.  But as some of the finer ones point out, getting back at someone for their transgressions isn’t justice at all.  So it boggles my mind when people hold these dark and ugly feelings towards people that have hurt them for extended periods of time, sometimes their whole lives.  I’m sure we can all remember times when we have held a grudge or harsh feelings for someone we feel has wronged us.  This is only compounded when the wrong we feel is suffered doesn’t suffer themselves.

For a long time I felt this fire in my gut like a wood-burning stove had replaced my stomach.  We have to go back a few years on this one, maybe 8 years or so.  I don’t remember for sure.  But I know that I was a very angry individual and maybe I had a right to be but I don’t think I did.  I wasn’t exactly the most popular kid in school and it was compounded by the fact that I went to a smaller school so everyone knew everyone.  I got made fun of, teased, mocked, you name it on a semi-regular basis.  I was always angry because I was too much of a wuss to do anything about it.  I watched a lot of movies around that time where the social outcast somehow became the winner in the end.

Take the move “Angus” for example.  It’s a movie about an overweight teenager who has a crush on the most beautiful and popular girls in school.  He gets elected homecoming king or something along those lines as a joke by the popular kids and has to stand as part of the homecoming royalty with, you guessed it, the girl he had a crush on.  The scene I remember most is when the douchebag jock punches Angus in the face at homecoming.  You think he’d be defeated but Angus got back up and fought back and says he’ll just keep getting up again and again because the freaks actually outnumber the jocks and they’re sick of it.  And in the end we find out the really attractive, popular homecoming queen is a freak herself because she’s secretly bulimic.  It left a nice warm feeling in your heart because the geek became socially acceptable somehow.

Oh, how cool it would have been if life actually worked like that?  Unfortunately, such ideas were few and far between at least in the high school that I went to.  But that is a bit of a digression.  So, with the thought in my mind that somehow I would win out over the people who treated me like garbage all those years.  What I really wanted was justice and it wasn’t until many years later that I learned about grace and forgiveness.  There’s this unbelievable concept that I learned from Jesus that we are supposed to forgive people because we are not the dealers of true justice but God is.  God says in Deuteronomy 32:35 that vengeance is his and that he will repay it. All that is to say that Ami in The Machine Girl should have learned this and she wouldn’t have had to suffer all so much to deal out vengeance for her brother’s death.  God would have taken care of that for her in the end.  He did for me as well and so all my tormenters back in the day, whom I never bested by proving anything about geekdom or myself.  In fact, I’m still just an outcast and I still get flack for being myself but it doesn’t much matter to me anymore.

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One thought on “… And Justice For All

  1. I think there is a difference between revenge and vengeance, let alone justice and retribution. Revenge is petty, it is small. It is what you dream of as an angry, angsty teen, to” get back at” people. Vengeance is much like vendetta, it is vast. It can take over everything. But it is, in the end, letting yourself be a tool for retribution. Vengeance and vendetta are patient, if personal. Retribution, like justice, is impersonal, and anyone can inadvertently be it’s tool. Justice is a part of the law, and is doled out by the society who makes it’s laws. Retribution is more organic, it happens naturally. Nature abhors imbalance just as much as it abhors a vacuum. Retribution is the balancing of the scales.

    When speaking of scales many people in the West think of Blind Lady Justice. But that is only because the Greek Goddess Nemesis is seen as only a deity of revenge, or enemies, when she was in fact more about keeping the balance. She gave you what you deserve, which is quite scary if you think about it. Impersonal retribution was her domain.

    I think I aught to explain that living with that kind of anger within you is easier for some than you might think. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons why I identify with Anita Blake so much, because I know that kind of anger intimately. The kind that rears it’s sleepy, monstrous head and wants to watch humanity be wiped off the face of the earth. The kind that makes people become just obstacles to your goals. The kind that fuels Ami because someone hurt what was hers and that is not allowed. That anger is not a burning ember in the pit of your stomach, it is as sweet as if it were candy coated, and is as much an integral part the person that holds it as your skill at humor is a piece of you. You can’t cut it out of yourself, and even more so, you don’t want to.

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