Look down the barrel of a gun
What stares back at you
Way down lies death, steely, insinuated
In between life’s nothingness
Look into your future
Threatening deep depression
Your own death at its end
The dreaded nothing in-between
written by a very young Hans Muller
Hans was a teenaged, non-practicing very assimilated Jew living in Austria when he penned this poem. It was written in German and he said it rhymes better that way.
A Nazi officer had pointed a gun in Hans’ face and ordered him to go to a nearby headquarters to scrub and clean an office. Did Hans have a choice? Being precise, the officer gave him a paper stating he HAD given that ‘service’. Hans showed it to me. Obviously, we haven’t learned much since WWII. Hatred continues in many ways.
Hans did survive and escaped to the USA, where he served in army Intelligence. His language skills, German — French — Italian — Spanish — English and goodness knows what else, served his adopted country well. He witnessed starving prisoners being released from German Death Camps, but managed to put it behind him.
Recently patrons at the only gay bar in beautiful (and very conservative) Colorado Springs found a gun pointed at themselves. Five were killed, seventeen wounded. Their crime? Either being born as part of the LGBTQ community or straight friends and relatives of same.
A new year begins. An opportunity to all of us to be better. How about loving each other just because. We need not be so insecure that we pretend others aren’t as good as we are because of whatever colour, religion, or being born just who they are.
Let our New Year’s resolution be to celebrate the wonderful differences that make life so much more interesting.
And while we’re at it, pray for an end to all those many guns getting into the wrong hands.