Developing immunity vs the new kind of virus PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 October 2014 11:51



There have been SARS and its variants. Now we have MERS-COV and Ebola. These are all viruses that used to be in the systems of animals but have crossed over to the human system. Understandably these viruses  generate a lot of apprehension and fear among people, especially those who travel to or from places in the world where these viruses have caused much  suffering and so many deaths.. None more so than the dreaded Ebola which has a mortality rate of something like 50% of all those who are infected, especially in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

International travel, in spite of efforts to identify those who are likely sick with the virus, has sparked fears of a true world-wide epidemic of Ebola.  A number of cases have been discovered in the US among the health workers who attended to the Liberian who traveled to the US for a visit after he had been infected in his country; he died in Texas some days after his infection was confirmed.

But more than the Ebola virus I am concerned with the “virus”  that drives people to violence against other people. It is the kind of virus that makes people take a gun or a knife or a hatchet and kill other people who are either complete strangers or those who are family members or friends. What provokes the violence? Sometimes it may be as a simple as a teenager’s feeling of having been rejected by a girl he had a crush on, as in the most recent incident in a Washington State high school. Sometimes there may be that mistaken notion of joining the noble cause of jihad,  as in the case in the attack in Ottawa, Canada. Or it may be a case like Pemberton’s killing of Jeffrey Laude – anger caused by the feeling of having been fooled.

When a virus goes rampant we might not have immediately the medicine that can counter it.  But active research centers like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia and other research facilities in other countries will soon after develop the needed medicines for treatment and immunization. This was how measles and malaria and polio were practically eliminated in our world.

But do we have available medicines to treat the effect of the  other  kind of “virus”  that leads to mass killings and other types of violence?  Unfortunately no, if by treatment we mean administering something through a pill or an injection. Countering this kind of virus is not a regimen of days or weeks of medication. It is a lifetime of developing character that leads to respecting and valuing of life;  a lifetime of developing inner peace in the person; a lifetime of developing a genuine relationship with one’s God.

Our relationship with God evolves from what we know of and about Him as taught by our religion.  But the converse is not true: our religion is NOT our relationship with God.

This is the reality  we have to face – our homes, our schools and other institutions, our communities- are the centers in which we develop the immunity against violence to self and to others.  And, as previously stated, the regimen is not in days or weeks but over a lifetime. When do we start?