|Grimjack created by John Ostrander and Timothy Truman. One of the most complex and original of the "anti-hero" heroes in comics.|
In the course of my duties and is part of my job I have frequently interviewed or talked criminals. Some of these interviews only last for a few minutes and some are held over the course of hours and over several days even. It is inevitable that when you spent a great deal of time talking to somebody you begin to find common ground, even between criminals and law enforcement. Eventually the criminal will look at me, dead in the eyes and try to tell me that we're not that different. Bullshit.
Around my neck are three generations of dog tags from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard. There are missing dog tags for the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy. My family also includes police officers, firemen, educators, nurses, train engineers and homemakers.
When we are born and brought into this world some people believe that we have inherited some form of Original Sin. I don't believe in original sin. Sin is a choice, you have to choose to do wrong by whatever rules of your society follows. I do believe in and accept what I refer to as Inherited Debt. This is not debt due to any bank, institution, government or god. When we are born and we are all little and helpless, someone or somebody cared for us. Someone fed us,bathe us, clothe us and trained us to at least get this far. It is in this way that we inherited a level of debt to those that cared for us when we were little and to those that we bring forth ourselves.
If we were lucky we had parents that did right by us and took care of us until we could take care of ourselves. Some of us had a tougher time of it, parents that failed in their duties or just plain bad luck. However the Inherited Debt doesn't change. This isn't about what's fair or right or just. This is just life.
My parents brought me into this world, taught me the best they could and then set me free. When I got older it was my turn to bring children into this world, and follow their example. As my parents get older, it will be part of my responsibility to assist them where and when I can. The elder people in my community I also assist when I can, along with the younger people in my community that need leadership and role models. When my elderly neighbor needs help with his lawn or the kid next door has a flat tire on his bicycle I try to help. This is all part of the Inherited Debt. Nobody can assign this debt to me, I chose to accept it. This is where I differ from the criminal that I'm dealing with. These men and women deal poison, they rob, they steal, they lie, they hurt and they murder. They default.
One of the men that I will deal with this week has murdered at least two people that I know of, he has beaten a woman almost to death with a pistol in his hand and only stopped when the toddler witnessing the assault cried out. This man has set fire to the homes of other people in the name of greed and rage. He has sold narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine and prescription medications to men, to women, to children. He has participated in and lead gangs of ignorant young people in armed robberies. This man has also tried to tell me that he's just like me. This isn't true. He abdicated, defaulted on the Inherited Debt. Regardless of the trials and traumas of his life there came a point when he had to make a choice to do the right thing or the wrong thing. He'll say he didn't have a choice, that he didn't have the opportunity to do the right thing. He'll say his father was an alcoholic or that his mother didn't really care for him.
And maybe that will be true but somewhere along the line, somebody did.
Later he will say it's because he is black and I'm white. And the world is just not fair to black people. Conveniently forgetting that it was a black police officer that made the initial arrest and brought the case before a black prosecutor. He'll throw out the Race Card as an end-all for his argument conveniently forgetting all the black people in the community who didn't default on the debt they owe their fellow man. It's not a race thing. It's a human thing.
We would never make it out of infancy if nobody cared. But for each one of us that is here, each one of us that has survived and grown-up, it was because somebody, at sometime, cared. Somebody that carried the debt, the Inherited Debt of humanity.
And for those people, we have to accept and carry the debt forward.