Learn To Be Lonely.


Charles Hart wrote the haunting lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber the music for “Learn To Be Lonely.” The words refer to a tragic figure — a fictitious figure — hideously disfigured, abused, and isolated — rejected by his mother — sired by a father who never saw him — leaving him to perform in carnival freak shows, leaving him to develop skills that relate to a solitary confinement — skills that would nourish his descent into evil.

Child of the wilderness
Born into emptiness
Learn to be lonely
Learn to find your way — your way in darkness
Who will be there for you?
Comfort and care for you?
Learn to be lonely
Learn to be your one companion
Never dreamed out in the world
There are arms to hold you
You’ve always known
Your heart was on its own
So laugh in your loneliness
Child of the wilderness
Learn to be lonely
Learn how to love life that is lived alone
Learn to be lonely
Life can be lived
Life can be loved

In truth, while these lyrics concern a storybook character, they relate to Everyman — every person whose life is foreordained by a childhood of abuse, abandonment or abnormality. Out of this cauldron of despair, however, certain children do survive to carve out purposeful, productive lives as adults. Some become giants. Driven by demons from a dark past, they surprisingly light up the lives of others. They become benefactors to generations. They are members of a splendid, exclusive minority. Their counterparts, also a select minority, also provoked by childhood adversity, are no less successful in building empires; but their impulses have nothing to do with brightening the lives of others. Power is their God. Coercion is their MO. Dishing out their own brand of abuse is their payback for childhood scars inflicted by either suffocating poverty, or beatings, or rejection, or all of the above. You recognize many of these people — the living and the dead. The famous and the infamous. History chronicles their legacies. You see them on the public stage, old and young alike. One of the most recent, Nikolas Cruz, could be called a “child of the wilderness.” Here you see the product of an addicted mother’s one night stand and unknown father. Here you see a person physically abused and intimidated by brother Zachary who sadly was born in prison. Here you see a person who eventually could not conceal his rage. He continually publicized that rage in person and on social media before shooting 17 people in Parkland, Fla. Cruz was a “broken child.” Just as Charles Whitman was in the 50’s and 60’s before stabbing to death his mother and his wife, before randomly murdering and wounding 45 people at the University of Texas. And Blanche Taylor Moore, daughter of a Baptist Minister and womanizer who forced her into prostitution to pay his gambling debts. Her payback for childhood abuse was to feed him and several husbands arsenic, earning her the nickname “Black Widow.” And John Wayne Gacy, Jr., continuously beaten and belittled by a vicious father, was compelled later to sexually assault, torture and murder at least 33 teenage boys and young men. And Theodore Robert Cowell (aka Ted Bundy), born in a home for unwed mothers, never knowing his father and raised by a violent grandfather. All his life, he held a grudge against his mother as he would murder at least 30 young women. And Gary Ridgeway who witnessed inflamed arguments between his parents, was dyslexic and fantasized about killing his mother. Instead, he became the most prolific serial killer in American history. Predictably, in the aftermath of Parkland, parents cast blame — at guns, police, teachers and government.  Yet the people most responsible for Cruz and teenage violence are none other than  parents themselves. Ignorant parents. Immoral parents. Single mothers who invite boyfriends to the marital bed. Drug addicted parents. Alcoholic parents. Absent parents. Promiscuous parents. Profane parents. Parents who funnel Johnny off to institutional care. Parents who choose divorce over children. Parents who blame teachers for unruly children. Parents who are responsible for the inexorable regression of America’s culture and values. Parents — rich and poor alike — are primarily to blame for resentment, rage and violence — not weapons. You will continue to learn about the likes of a Cruz and Bundy. But many more thousands, anonymous and unsung, inhabit gangs and prison. Many more at this moment reside in the incubator of broken homes and families. The vast majority will dig their way out and make a life — some, against all odds. They are the ordinary souls who go about their business of survival — their pursuit of happiness. You cross their lives and they cross yours. Their childhood details, like yours, are locked away in the closet. In memory banks. Not forgotten.  Seldom visited. Except perhaps in those rare moments of revelation. However they are able, in the conduct of an average, well-lived life, average people face their demons. Privately. Peacefully. Alone.

Empirical Thought.

Resurrection is  the preeminent topic of Easter. Worldwide, Christianity rests its case on it. Hundreds of millions of people of every race believe in it. The Church celebrates it with special events, often accompanied by extravagant musical performances. Television devotes many hours during many days to broadcast landmark films that recount the life and time of Jesus of Nazareth. From every pulpit, theologians proclaim the Good News — “He lives.” No subject has undergone more scrutiny than the Resurrection. Centuries of scholarly research have translated and dissected every aspect of Biblical documentation. And yet no event has been more enthusiastically repudiated as a fabrication by fools for fools. Even among devoted Christians, you hear subjective discussions about the “literal” interpretation of the Resurrection. Even among Christians who want to believe, you hear that uneasy equivocation, the expressions of doubt — “no one knows what the truth is, no one can know, but we have to have faith.” Anyway, they say, even if the Resurrection didn’t happen precisely as The Bible says, the teachings of Christ and the works of Christ’s missionaries have transformed the world for the better, spreading the gospel of brotherly love and salvation. Isn’t that true? This work can’t be disputed. Still, a growing secular society views Christianity as an absurd illusion. In fact, for millions, believing in a God is nonsensical, much less believing in the deification of Christ. However, few scholars, atheist or otherwise, doubt that Christ was an historical figure. Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence — no CCTV, no DNA, no fingerprints, no soil samples — that prove He left His final resting place to reunite with His followers. All you have are written accounts, unsubstantiated by legal authorities of the day. You can understand why human beings want to believe. Christianity offers salvation — eternal life — a reason to have hope in a spiritual realm — a reason to live a life worthy of deliverance. But people of sound and reasonable minds still must ask — why should anyone believe the unbelievable? If God gave you brainpower to think reasonably, how can you deny your intellectual endowment, your rational thought? Exactly. You can’t. You must approach the Resurrection with common sense, much like a cop approaches a crime scene. As an investigator, you must rely on the evidence of human behavior — on motives, on self interest. Begin with what you know. The Resurrection survived well past the event itself. Not just for a few days, weeks or months. But for millennia. Ask why. If the event never happened, what possible motive would perpetuate a lie? Reasonably speaking, there had to be a premeditated conspiratorial hoax on the part of a relatively small number of ordinary people — who, by the way, suffered needlessly — toward what end? These people had to convene in a back room somewhere and say: “Let’s do this. Let’s pull off the hoax of the century.” As an investigator, you then must ask, “Why?” Who was the hoax directed against? What was the motive? Was there material reward? Fame? Wealth? World domination? What did the disciples have to gain, except certain death? They weren’t trying to win an election. There was no powerful Catholic Church to fund a political army. No, somebody — Matthew, Mark, Luke — dreamed up this idea — let’s steal His body and pretend He’s still alive — that would be neat — and maybe we can become heroes and get interviews on CNN — and even negotiate a book deal. As an investigator, this is what you know: Jesus lived and was crucified. Biblical literature records his Resurrection. It is reasonable to conclude that the people of His day — His disciples — were ordinary people with ordinary lives and ordinary hopes and dreams — just as pragmatic as you are today. What they accomplished at the time they were living was to die agonizing deaths. For what? As an investigator, you must face the essential question and demand a credible answer: Was the Resurrection a lie — and if so, why was the lie told? You can immerse yourself in scholarly tomes and search for answers. But this isn’t a question reserved for religious hierarchies. This is a question reserved for you alone — individually. It comes down to motive, after all. Forget everything else. The Resurrection is more reasonable to believe than to disbelieve — because not to believe doesn’t square with simple, uncontaminated reason. This issue isn’t a matter of emotion, religious dogma or prejudice — it’s matter of simple empirical thought.


The Attitude.

Feeding what appears to be rampant hunger, the entertainment industry continues to dish up crime stories 24-7. The most popular entrees are weekly law enforcement dramas. You know the kind. The team of dedicated cops always includes a cover girl. She’s either the boss or the chief forensics whiz. The team must solve a series of vicious homicides. The criminal is always an evil genius whose sole purpose in life is to inflict pain and suffering in the cruelest, most imaginative of ways. The team meets every day. The cop dialogue is carefully designed to allow every member of the team to make an adult remark, right on cue. And the set design is always dramatic, making law enforcement offices look more like the set of “America’s Got talent.” If you tune into network cop melodramas or Hollywood action movies on a regular basis, you come away with one undeniable fact: someone in your family, likely your favorite uncle or sweet grandmother, is a serial killer. Or you’re convinced that thousands of former CIA, Green Beret, Army Ranger or Navy Seal operatives are roaming the streets to rid the world of evil villains who invariably are white pharmaceutical plunderers, white dirty cops or white Southern racist mobsters. You’re dead certain that one of these vigilantes works undercover at every Home Depot where he uses axes, drills, industrial staple guns, saws and other household tools to gruesomely liquidate dozens of sociopaths. Everyone’s favorite super gladiator — Jason Bourne — is unbeatable in hand to hand combat, in the use of weaponry, in electronic device manipulation and in the scaling of high places bare-handed. With his superhuman prowess, however, he mysteriously spends the better part of four movies risking his life in a stolen taxi or motorcycle, to escape from assassins like himself. He prefers, for instance, to free fall down a four-story stairwell, in mid flight, to ingeniously shoot his assailant, rather than wait in hiding for the assailant to come to him. But you must remember he was trained how to land on stone floors of building lobbies. Sorry, you should cut moviemakers some slack. This is entertainment, after all. No one takes it seriously, do they? Course not — except perhaps for a few thousand adolescents and teenagers who think killing is cool. But not all television is pulp fiction. True crime documentaries and true crime reality TV dominate cable networks. This programming doesn’t rely on super hero action but on real life interviews with victims’ families, victim survivors, cops, attorneys, jurors and felons. Unfortunately, many of these documentaries suffer from movie making theatrics — true crimes in their own right. The idea is for actors to simulate murder and for narrators to use words like shocking, startling, stunning and striking. Most often, murder is one on one. Most often, murder is about money, drugs or sex. Homicide methods run the gamut — shooting, stabbing, strangling, bludgeoning, poisoning, drowning. Ironically, entertainment media rakes in billions through broadcasting all the juicy details of every imaginable type of violence — yet the very same media that creates and glorifies this violence leads the parade of militant activists calling for the repeal of second amendment rights. You must avoid the knee-jerk tendency to call these people idiots. You must restrain yourself. You must conclude they are either confused, misinformed or unobservant. Surely, they must understand that self defense — protecting one’s own life and property — is a universal, fundamental right. Surely, they must understand. The Founders wanted the people to defend themselves — not simply against individual evildoers — but against the biggest evildoer of them all — their own Government. Surely, they must understand that. But no, they don’t. Because they choose not to understand. This is their attitude — yes, say it — the attitude of idiots.


The ranting and raving of critical Dick.