Vengeance as Virtue

The 17-year-old who slaughtered his schoolmates in Santa Fe, Texas, was on a mission of retribution. According to news reports, he confessed that he selected some kids to survive the massacre so that his “story” could be told. His narrative, if it’s ever made public, is not likely to find many sympathetic listeners, but it should be heeded. It can be expected to differ only in its details from the stories of retribution we welcome in our fiction and in our expressions of national policy.

It was revenge, after all, that motivated us to support our armed attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of September 11, 2001..