He could not believe that any of them might actually hit somebody. If one did, what a nowhere way to go: killed by accident; slain not as an individual but by sheer statistical probability, by the calculated chance of searching fire, even as he himself might be at any moment. Mathematics! Mathematics! Algebra! Geometry! When 1st and 3d Squads came diving and tumbling back over the tiny crest, Bell was content to throw himself prone, press his cheek to the earth, shut his eyes, and lie there. God, oh, God! Why am I? Why am I? After a moment's thought, he decided he better change it to: why are here. That way, no agency of retribution could exact payment from him for being selfish.
I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions--poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed--which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished. It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.
Karma has been a pop culture term for ages. But really, what the heck is it?Karma is not an inviolate engine of cosmic punishment. Rather, it is a neutral sequence of acts, results, and consequences. Receiving misfortune does not necessarily indicate that one has committed evil. But it is a sufficient indicator of something else. And that something else can be anything, as long as it is a logical consequence of what has come before. Consider: if you fall into a well, you are not a bad person who deserves to suffer you are merely someone who took a wrong step. Or someone who had one drink too many. Or got a head rush due to poor circulation. Or forgot to wear your glasses. Or The reasons are plentiful, and all plausible. But the chain of cause and effect goes way, way back into the deepest hoariest recesses of your personal past. So never rule out retribution. But never expect it.