I am a peaceable man. I have no affection for guns, have never owned one, and never would. The thought of killing an animal, let alone a fellow human being, is anathema to me. And yet, had I had a gun in my hands with this man in front of me, I swear I would have put a bullet in him.
This powerful reaction came to me as I watched the video put out by Boko Haram, the group responsible for the kidnapping of those hundreds of school girls in Nigeria. There they were, first of all, scores of them, covered head-to-toe in the Muslim manner and forced to chant verses from the Koran--young girls whose greatest crime was to seek an education. That sight alone sickened me. Then came the image of the leader, or the spokesperson for their captors, arrogant, aggressive, and proud, it seemed, of his own inhumanity and the power afforded him by no more than the assault weapon slung over his shoulder.
I'm not exaggerating when I confess that a surge of pure rage and hatred burned through me, prompting that thought: I would gladly have given him a taste of his own medicine, with a burst of lethal gunfire. I would gladly have used his own brutal tactic, to wipe that expression of smug self-assurance from his face. I surprised myself with the virulence of the venom that I felt in looking at him.
I find myself hoping that some special forces unit finds and destroys the men whose distorted sense of religious empowerment permits them to impose their will by force on innocent young women; that they will receive punishment appropriate to their crime. As I say, I am a peaceable man. In theory, I do not even condone the implementation of the death penalty in this country. And yet I must acknowledge that these most un-Buddhist of feelings arise. I should be grateful, perhaps, that I do not possess the means to translate them into action.