Roving Bands Of Thugs
I lost a friend yesterday, a Brother.
Details are a bit sketchy, but it seems that his home was invaded by thugs, seeking to rob him, and when they encountered him they beat him to death.
If they are ever caught, it will probably be plea bargained down to something like assault. It seems that is how things happen far too often now. Serious crimes that actually harm people are punished more lightly than crimes where it is darn hard to ever identify a 'victim.'
I remember many things about my friend. Mostly involving smoking. I'm not addicted to cigarettes, but I do enjoy having one on rare occasions when I'm with a smoker.
Well, he was a guy who loved his cigs. I remember standing outside of plenty of Lodge buildings with him, smoking and talking. Discussions about Masonry, discussions about our mutual friends within the craft.
I remember spending a day with him over in the Tri-Cities, when I was Junior Grand Warden and he was Grand Steward. The rest of the Grand Lodge team headed for home, they forgot us, so we had lots of time together, time in which to discuss, and of course solve, all the problems of the world.
I will badly miss my friend.
He lived well though, for he has died regretted.
We need to recognize that this nation has fallen into barbarism over the past few months. Riots rock Portland every night, Seattle almost every night, and quite frequently Olympia. Watching these things, common thugs, like the ones who murdered my friend are naturally emboldened.
It is funny to me that some deny that these things are actually happening. I've heard said for example that Olympia has had no riots. When I hear that I wonder why then is downtown all boarded up? How can there be so much broken glass if windows haven't been shattered? What are those videos shown on the 11 PM local news depicting if not rioters in Olympia? Can something be called 'peaceful' or 'mostly peaceful' while the fires are burning right behind the commentator making that claim?
Masonry demands that we find the truth.
The truth is that we have two things going on at the same time. We have protests, but we also have riots.
Protests are good, they can make us better as a people. Riots however are nothing but barbarism.
The moment a window is smashed, the moment looting begins, the moment violence is used against another, that is the end of a protest and the beginning of a riot. The actual protesters go home, and the barbarians take over.
Violent thugs are destroying businesses and hurting people in our cities, just as violent thugs murdered my friend.
Civil society can not tolerate violent thugs. They need to be locked away from society, kept where they can no longer do harm.
The Weimar Republic fell because the government was unable or unwilling to deal with roving bands of thugs doing violence in the streets. During this time of nightly violence, we should all reflect on what happened back then, and realize how easily it could happen here if we are not careful. As the old saying goes, if we don't learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.
Throughout its long existence, Freemasonry has stood as the world's great peace society. Teaching tolerance between all men. Freemasons stand for peace, for civility, for honor, and for justice.
As Freemasons, we must, each in our own spheres of influence, use that influence to encourage civility, civil dialog, and a just civil society.
Those are the things my friend and brother stood for.
Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington
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