An Eye For An Eye

By Christopher Zoukis

“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man.”  Genesis 9:6

“So ye shall not pollute the land wherein yea are:  for blood it defileth the land; and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.”  Numbers 35:33

 ________________  Photo courtesy goodreads.com

His name was Paul Jennings Hill.  He was born in Miami, Florida in February of 1954.  Hill grew up in Coral Gables, which was an affluent city with white stucco buildings, red tile roofs, tennis courts and swimming pools.  There were very few minorities in Coral Gables.  It was pretty much a white enclave for rich people.

Paul Hill was a nice boy, who lived in a nice city.  He went to nice schools, where he was an average student.  Considered popular, he had a lot of friends.  Some of his friends smoked dope, popped bennies and snorted cocaine.  They thought it was cool.  Like most teenagers, Paul wanted to be cool too.  So he started using drugs. 

Paul’s father – who flew planes for an airline and whose name was Oscar – found out Paul was using drugs.  Oscar confronted his 17-year old son.  “What the hell are you thinking?” asked Oscar.

Paul looked at the ground and shrugged. 

“Don’t just shrug.  Answer me!” commanded Oscar.

Paul slowly raised his eyes until he was staring into his father’s face.  Viciousness bubbled inside Paul.  His hands clenched into fists.

“Well?” asked Oscar. 

Paul hit his father, knocking him down.  Stunned and angry, Oscar scrambled to his feet.  Paul hit him again and again and again.  Then Paul walked away.

A few hours later, the police found Paul walking down the sidewalk in Coral Gables.  They arrested him and took him to the police station, where they told him he was charged with assault.  Oscar had filed a complaint against his own son.  The police put Paul in a cell, where he waited until Oscar arrived.

When Oscar arrived, his face was bruised and swollen.  A policeman led Oscar to Paul’s cell.  Oscar gazed at his son, who was sitting on a bunk, looking at the floor.

“Paul,” said Oscar.

Paul didn’t move.  He kept staring at the floor.

“What’s come over you?” asked Oscar.  Then he added, “Are you crazy?’

Paul still didn’t move. 

Oscar turned and walked away.  There were tears in his eyes.  He told the police he was dropping his complaint.  The police asked him if he was sure that’s what he wanted to do?  Oscar nodded sadly.

The police told Paul he was free to go.  They unlocked his cell and gave him back his personal belongings.  Paul walked home.  As he walked, he was careful not to step on any cracks.  He didn’t want to break his mother’s back.

One week later, Oscar informed Paul that he was being sent to a military school.  It was the first time since the police station that Oscar had spoken to his son.  “It’s for your own good,” explained Oscar.  “You need self-discipline and balance in your life.  Maybe you’ll find it there.”