Three days ago was David Koresh’s birthday. He would have been sixty years old.
It leaves a pit in my gut that won’t close, like an ulcer or a tiny black hole. It tears me up in little ways that I sometimes don’t even notice, until I stumble across a holiday or an interview I wasn’t expecting, some random sad thing on the internet, an odd reminder at a moment when I am already feeling vulnerable.
Maybe some of you haven’t heard this phrase, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I’m one of those immortal devils, much older than I look. I heard it a lot growing up and always thought I was melodramatic and gaudy until I realized how much it accurately describes so many. Applewhite wasn’t a madman until his partner died of cancer, and Jim Jones wasn’t always planning on putting cyanide in the Flavor-Aid. Things become derailed so easily. One moment or incident, one loss, one comment taken the wrong way, and the trajectory of something beautiful can take a violent turn for the strange and – eventually – infamous.
So how do you make sure you don’t go too far? Error can be so difficult to see from inside, with only your own thoughts and emotions for reference. Things can be amplified or negated by your own mind. Things become unclear when a person is blinded by what is perhaps an irriational desire for something, some goal, something they are compelled to attain. The balance lies in the dynamic of a family or support system – and in the willingness for people to speak up, out of love, when something becomes strange or begins to go awry.
We all rely on each other, here, for checks and balances. For honesty.