The Surprising Contrast of Sacrifice and Anger
On Thursday, July 14, 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, bicycled to a rented 19-ton refrigerated truck. At 10:30pm, he drove the truck down the Promenade des Anglais, and plowed into a crowd, which was celebrating Bastille Day. He drove 1.1 miles and crushed people in his wake.
The results: 84 people dead, 202 people injured with 25 still in critical condition.
What caused Mr. Bouhlel to rent a 19-ton truck and mow down people, including children? Officials in France have called it an act of terrorism. But think deeper. How can a man climb into a truck and speed into a mass of people, see their frightened looks and continue a path of destruction? What kind of anger must have been boiling inside of him to totally disregard the lives of innocent people?
Contrast Mr. Bouhlel’s actions with Irena Sendler. When the Nazis invaded her native Poland, she saw Jews rounded up into concentration camps. She got credentials as a nurse so she could sneak food and medicine into the camp.
Each visit, she and her co-workers came with sacks and toolboxes for work in the camp. But as she and her co-workers saw the plight of the prisoners, they devised a plan. They began to sedate children and placed them in the bottom of toolboxes and burlap bags. Each night as they left, they were able to smuggle children out past unsuspecting guards.
Through their efforts, over 2500 children were rescued.
Eventually, Sendler was caught, imprisoned and tortured. She had both of her legs broken. When the war ended, Sendler continued her mission of mercy and sought to reunite children with their families.
Query: what causes one man to barrel a massive truck and see the fear and despair into a crowd of people and still carry on? On the other hand, what causes one woman to see the fear and despair in the lives of people and risk her own life to rescue and save some?
What is the greater virtue? Sacrifice or anger? When we consider those words, I think we intuitively know the answer.