I was talking to someone the other day, and we were talking about religion, and he tossed out to me that old talking point "there are no atheists in foxholes." And I said to him, that I was an atheist.
(And you know what I do, right? I am a child abuse prosecutor. I've handled cases involving small children who were murdered by parents, sexual abuse of kids, extreme physical abuse. The worst stuff that anyone will see anywhere, ever. Those are my days).
I told him that, given everything that I had seen, I could no longer believe in any sort of a god, because if there was a god, and he stood idly by while a three-year-old was starved and beaten by her parents until she died, well, then he was no god I wanted any part of believing in. And I said to him that I didn't care what he believed, but that I was really unable to remain silent when people talk about their religion and their god in a way that suggests that god is keeping them safe.
Because I've seen dead toddlers on dirty floors.
And, I said, I don't see god doing a goddamned thing about it. God is sitting around, sitting on his hands - if he has hands - and not lifting a finger - if he has fingers. Nope, I said, do you know who is doing something about it?
Me. I'm doing something about it. Me, and a lot of people just like me, who get up every morning, and we fight, and we stay there all day, and we fight, and we go home to bed exhausted so that we can get up tomorrow morning. And fight.
So, when you start to feel like the world is just a mess, and everything is falling apart, and there's apparently no good in a world, stop and look around. Because every place that you see a disaster, you won't just see people running away from it. You will see people running INTO danger. You will see people running into danger to rescue the injured and fight for the endangered. You will see ordinary men, and women, and even children, jumping into rivers, running into burning buildings, tackling gunmen, to save strangers that they have never even met.
And then, when it's all over, you'll see doctors and nurses working all day and all night and all day and all night, over and over and over again, to save their lives and restore them to health. And you'll see the police and the prosecutors holding the bad guys accountable so that they can't hurt anyone else. You'll see ordinary people stepping up to the plate and taking action to make the world a better, safer, kinder place.
You would think that what I do would've caused me to lose my faith in humanity, because it did cause me to lose my faith in god. But, to the contrary, it has made me believe in people more. For every one monster, there are hundreds, even thousands, of heroes who will risk their lives to save someone else.
That's us, guys. We're the fight against violence. We're the ones who will save the world, given half a chance.