Champion of the Light
posted at 1:01 am on April 26, 2010 by Doctor Zero
By now, you’ve probably watched the death of Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax on video. In the early morning hours of April 18, on a sidewalk in Queens, he stepped forward to save a woman from a mugger. The mugger had a knife. Multiple stab wounds to the torso didn’t stop Tale-Yax from trying to chase his killer down. His blood ran out before his spirit did.
Twenty people walked past Tale-Yax as he lay dying on the street. One of them used his cell phone to snap a photo, then continued on his way without calling for an ambulance. ABC News found a psychologist to offer the insight that “we love violence in this culture.”
What a shallow and stupid analysis. Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax didn’t die because those pedestrians loved violence. He died because they didn’t love lifeenough. They saw it broken and fading before them, but their instinct to protect and nourish it at all costs – which ran so strongly in Tale-Yax – was hopelessly diluted. The dying man was homeless, and had nothing to bring to the endless war against evil except his heart, and the fragile body surrounding it. The callous bystanders carried marvels of communications technology in their pockets, and could think of no use for them except snapping a couple of digital photos as souvenirs.
There is nothing more to say about those people, and the anemic culture that led them to treat life and death as problems for someone else to solve. We gain nothing by studying the flocking behavior of sheep. Let us remember, and honor, the sheepdog who died in their midst.
The shadow of murder has crawled through every human generation. Sometimes it rears high above us, spreading dragon wings and roaring promises of conquest, holy war, and final solutions. Other times it becomes small and dull, living in the static of a petty criminal’s thoughts, or burning as dark flames of rage within those who offer their souls as kindling. Killing is easy. People break easily. A bit of sharp metal makes the task almost effortless.
In the moments before murder, Heaven sounds its horns, and calls good men and women to battle. Those horns are not always easy to hear. Their music rolls around caves filled with beasts who worship death as a god, through streets dotted with improvised explosive devices, and past locked doors that serve as uncertain shields between decent families and barbarian gangsters. Last week, it swirled through the early morning air of a street in Queens, and a man with nothing to lose sacrificed everything to answer the call.
He was not the first, and will not be the last, to die in the defense of the innocent. Whatever mistakes and misfortunes led him to spend his last days on the streets of New York, his final deeds earn him membership in a great company of soldiers, rescuers, protectors, and saints. He lived a broken life, but he carried a priceless treasure of courage. Let us all pray that if, someday, the horns that called him to destiny sound in our presence, our ears are as sharp as his, and the same spirit fills us. The world has too many hollow men.
God bless and keep Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, champion of the light.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.