My friend Nephi Leiataua was the subject of the story, “SWAT team shoots tattoo artist using daughter as shield,” and follow-ups. If this were the Middle Ages people might assume he had been possessed by a demon.
Now we are more sophisticated, in this video-game, cop-show world: Comments like “I would never do such a thing,” “good shooting officer!” and other things so ugly I wish I’d never seen them.
The sniper who shot him has more empathy in his finger than some of those people have in their whole bodies. For the rest of his days that man will remember and wish it had never had to happen.
The fact is my friend was possessed by a demon - it’s called drugs. Police have seen good people go crazy and do things nobody in their right mind would do, such as threaten the thing he loved most in life.
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How could anyone celebrate that this brilliant man’s last work of art was blood on a door? Are they are better people? They aren’t.
How many have driven under the influence, slightly buzzed or distracted, or have done something so stupid it should land them in the Darwin Awards, or taken some drug, intending no harm to anyone but themselves? How many have gotten away with relatively minor transgressions that never took a turn into some horrible tragedy?
Nephi wasn’t perfect. He took a drug. He was not accustomed to it, and it took him. But nobody was a better person.