Eric, the 1/2 troll left a couple of comments that suggest he sincerely aspires to ”PEACE” (here and here). Peace is a good thing, but we cannot make peace by sacrificing other values such as justice. In addition, we cannot make peace by trusting people who have proven untrustworthy. Unfortunately, my earlier posts seem inadequate to explain these small truths.

Sometimes where a lengthy explanation just doesn’t seem to explain, a short and simple story will. So here is a story for Eric, the 1/2 troll.

The New Principal

He had a Harvard degree. He spoke eloquently, and he seemed so wise.  Was he? A few weeks after he arrived, everyone had chance to see for themselves.

You could have heard the noise from the athletic field blocks away. Surrounded by an excited crowd of their fellow students, two boys fought. The crowd egged on one of the boys, the bigger of the two. They even helped him occasionally by trying to trip or punch the other boy from behind. Nonetheless, the smaller boy fought tenaciously. Quick and agile, he somehow managed to get the best of his opponent.

Because of the noise and the crowd, it was only a matter of time before the new principal, Barack Obama, and a couple of teachers arrived on the scene. The two teachers promptly broke up the fight.

Then Obama spoke, “Boys — I want the two you to make peace. I want you to apologize to each other and shake hands.”

One of the boys, David, objected. “But he started it. I was just minding my own….” Obama sternly interrupted. “That makes no difference. The important thing is to make peace.”

Then the other boy, Muhammad, grinned and spoke up. “Of course, the important thing is peace. I apologize, David.” Then Muhammad extended his hand to David.

David looked at the principal in surprise. Obama smiled and nodded, indicating David should shake Muhammad’s hand. David, gritting his teeth, said “I apologize.” Then he extend his hand. Muhammad, still grinning, took David’s hand in his own, gripped it, and start to shake David’s hand.

Then Muhammad surprised everyone. He started slugging David with his other hand, partly stunning him. Fortunately, before Muhammad had killed David, the two teachers separated the two boys again.

What happened next, however, was even more surprising. Obama again insisted that the boys apologize and shake hands. Muhammad, obviously pleased by this turn of events, promptly apologized to David and offered his hand. David, however, refused. David knew that once Muhammad got hold of him, he could not get away. Although Muhammad was slow, he was big and strong.

Yet the principal insisted, so David tried to explain. “Once Muhammad gets hold of me, he is just going to…”. Obama sternly interrupted again. You must apologize and shake hands.”

David did not know what to do, but he feared Muhammad would beat him again. So he refused.

Obama did know what to do. Determined to have peace, he suspended David from school, and he threatened to have David expelled if he ever caught him fighting again.



  1. Eric the 1/2 troll

    Tom, Your previous posts weren’t inadequate. They simply ignored what I had to say on the matter. Your little story posted here is just rather silly.

    I would love to discuss these things with you but you refuse to even acknowledge the arguments I make. The crux of it is that (to use your story metaphor) Muhammad is not some big bully – he feels that he has been harmed by David. There is a valid argument to be made that David did indeed do harm to Muhammad and forcing Muhammad to just accept that and walk away is also not fair to him.

    BTW, David is pretty much stronger than any of Muhammad and his friends and has been for years. In fact (to stretch the metaphor) David has been treating Muhammad like something lower than a human being, makes it so Muhammad can’t get a table in the cafeteria, and pretty much has moved all his stuff into Muhammad’s locker as well. No wonder Muhammad is so pissed off.

    In the end, you (as the teacher) just want to walk away from the fight and let them duke it out until one lays in a pile of blood with the other standing over his body. Furthermore, Barack (in your story) is not just saying “shake and make up”, he is saying “let’s figure out what is REALLY at the heart of your conflict and see if it can be resolved because, you know, violence won’t really solve anything and you all have to attend the same school together. Sit down now and do not get up until you have BOTH resolved your issues with each other. It is time to grow up.

    I think that is what Jesus would say as well, Tom.


  2. I am constantly amazed by those who endorse the nonsensical notion that there is no such thing as irreconcilable difference. Even more amazing is their unjustified attitude of moral superiority, when a more apt posture would be one of moral indifference.




    1. Barbara – Thank you for your concern.

      Whether Eric is an authentic troll or cyber-stalker I do not know. However, I do regret you had an unpleasant experience with him.

      There is a Bible verse that rather obviously applies to this sort of thing.

      Matthew 7:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

      “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

      “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

      “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

      When Jesus spoke of judging others, he knew we all judge each other. We must judge each other. What He asked us to do is to is judge with mercy. Because we are each so flawed, He knows we need mercy.

      When someone has a log in their eye, it quickly becomes obvious. Even the bearer must know of it. Yet that poor soul has carried their log so long they have become accustomed to it, and it would be so difficult and painful to remove.

      Instead of removing their log, perhaps a troll deals with the shame of carrying that ugly log by looking for logs (and specks) in the eyes of others.

      What of Eric? Eric does not generally behave here like a dog or a pig. So I do not intend to treat him like one.


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