Today I read a quote that caused my heart to catch in my throat. I was reading about Rome in the first and second centuries AD when the wealthier patrons of the city, thinking that if they simply turned their eyes away from the unrest and ongoing dangers in their midst, erected gated and guarded communities. Tacitus, knowing this would give them a sense of security but knowing human nature asked them but one pointed question: “Who will guard the guards?”
History cannot but repeat itself; be it in ancient Rome or modern-day Florida there is no man-made gate, no security door and no pane of glass to keep out a dark heart.
Are you a guard? Are you a citizen? We are all one or both. We are not helpless here. We can keep our own hearts free of malice, an ongoing exercise. Unexpressed anger, grief or any extreme emotion will eventually work its way out – sometimes in ways that can only be described as tragic.
Second, guard your sensitivity against injustice and violence. If someone had told you, when you were five, that you could watch a man die and not turn away would you have believed him? When you last saw a movie, how many people were killed and how graphically, in the name of “entertainment?”
That you are what you ingest and “garbage in, garbage out” are true maxims that I believe are not limited only to the food we eat. I believe they apply equally if not moreso to the images and the instances that we allow ourself to be de-sensitized to. YOU are the guardian of your conscience. That it is confronted daily with being degraded is a given but you are the only one that has to answer for yourself is it worth it?
Someone, after all, has to guard the guards. If we are all so stupefied and used to violence and mayhem how then can we be shocked by actual death?
Can you guard your house and be safe? Sadly, no. But there are things worth infinitely more than your house. Start guarding those.