In Memoriam: Stephen T. Johns
I urge everyone who reads this to learn the lesson that was enacted again yesterday, in minature. Hatred is a destructive force. It accomplishes nothing but killing. It deserves only enough attention to understand why it must be avoided. The important story is that of Stephen Johns, who gave his own life in order to save others. That is a legacy which is worthy of being remembered, and I urge all of you to keep Stephen Johns and his family in your thoughts and your prayers, and to remember his sacrifice.
Although what is important was how Mr. Johns, as an individual, acted yesterday, and although I know most of my readers understand this anyway, I do want to make one other point. Mr. Johns happened to be a black man. His murderer was white, someone who endorsed the absurd belief that that single fact, the colour of his skin, made him somehow superior. However, his own actions and those of Mr. Johns yesterday give the lie, once and for all, to that belief.
It is ironic this bigot proved exactly what he would have liked to disprove, but I think it is important to take note of this. A white man, convinced this fact alone made him superior, proved by his own actions he was inferior to the black man he confronted. Superiority is not conferred by skin colour, race, heritage, or anything other than what each of us, as individuals, chooses to do and how we choose to act. And the fact a self professed "genius" could overlook the way in which what he planned to do would demonstrate how very wrong he was illustrates, clearly, how little anyone really learns who chooses to blame all their frustrations on a scapegoat.
I'm very, very sorry Stephen Johns had to die proving that lesson, which most of us already understood, once again, but I'd like to think, if it had to happen anyway, he would be pleased to know his actions did affirm just how dreadful a lie racism and bigotry really are. And if even one person who reads this finally understands the reality of this important lesson for the first time, perhaps some small good can come out of such a great tragedy.
And, although I hardly dare hope so, if this incident, which so emphatically establishes just what pathetic losers all those people are who believe in any sort of racial supremacy, reverses the spread of hate groups through our society like cancer, I hope Stephen Johns will at least be remembered as the man whose heroism brought it about. Whatever the outcome, he deserved better. From now on, when I hear the phrase "only the good die young", the name of Stephen T. Johns will be added to the list of those who come to mind. May God bless you and may you rest in peace, Mr. Johns.