I’ve had to think awhile to be able to write about the latest victim, Peter Kassig, shown in the beheadings that have been videotaped and posted on the internet. I’ve questioned whether to write about it at all, but this is on my mind, and it’s an important topic.
My understanding of Peter Kassig is based solely on media reports. I didn’t know him.
He was honorably discharged from the Army Rangers and then created a non-profit to provide assistance to victims of the civil war in Syria. He was abducted by terrorists while providing aid in Syria, held for over a year, then murdered. The evidence of the murder is a video recording, showing his severed head on the ground.
I haven’t viewed any of the beheading videos, and I encourage others to avoid them. Why? Because the terrorists are putting them on the internet, so, obviously, they think they gain an advantage by doing so. I make an exception for government officials and reporters. Someone has to watch it. I imagine it’s a terrible burden.
The stuff that should be on the internet is the work that Peter Kassig did before he was murdered. There are many more acts of courage and generosity that occur on a daily basis than there are acts of brutality and cruelty. I encourage the media to consider this going forward.
What if the media used the same approach as the terrorists; understanding that content has an impact? Tell Peter’s story, and people like him. By that I mean celebrate and magnify good people. It’s crazy that there are so many people who do good works, struggling in obscurity. Meanwhile, murderers have a large audience, presenting material that would, just a year ago, be unthinkable. And it should be free on youtube, as was the video created by the terrorists.
The terrorist video of Peter Kassing should not be the last comment on his life. Someone needs to produce a film about his life that lionizes him as a hero.
I’ll speculate here about the fact that the video, which I have not seen, varied from the previous videos. There is no video of him submitting to his captors and making anti-American statements prior to his execution.
One of the things that has forced me to think about Peter is the possibility that he resisted his captors, perhaps to spare his parents from the real-time act of his submission and the horror of his murder being posted on the internet.
Think, for a moment, the role his memory might play in the battle between dark and light. He is a hero.