This morning I was finishing up some research on my home state. As usual I meandered through a heap of news stories dating back to the dark ages (1990s). In Georgia there was one event that captured attention. The murder of Sara Tokars. It’s been over twenty years since she was murdered in front of her two boys, and as we all know her husband, Fred, was instrumental in her death. He was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life. He is currently serving out a federal sentence, as he did turn snitch regarding a drug money laundering scheme, and will perish in prison.
Here’s a television show: Tokars (about 40 minutes)
In the aftermath the two sons moved to Florida where they lived with their mother’s family. They were raised by loving grandparents and aunts. One of the brothers, Ricky, went on to become a firefighter in California, and the other, Mike, became a journalist writing for Florida newspapers. They were both very young when their mother died, and the trauma is something that will not vanish. I read Mike’s piece about their lives since those days that appeared in the Atlanta Journal (2012). I am struck by something.
Humans are resilient creatures. We can suffer enormous amounts of psychological and physical stress, but if we come out the other side, there is a smattering of hope. We end up scarred, but we move on. Sometimes we turn to our darker nature, and sometimes we muddle our way through to a better life. It’s 50/50. Choices are made, plans are initiated, and deeds are brought about. In the end people are either satisfied, frustrated, or scorned. I am amazed by the ones who come through. The Elie Wiesel’s, Solzhenitsyn’s, and the Tokars, all came through and became something more than their circumstances. I wonder why others do not? Granted, the Tokars had a support network, but many do not and still manage to come out of dark places.
Cormac McCarthy looked at these dark people in “Child of God”, which will be a movie soon. McCarthy’s version doesn’t have a happy ending, there is no struggle to tunnel out. The protagonist/villain wallows in the filth and struggles to become more evil. Which one is human nature? The rejection of the bad things? The suffering of them? Or is it taking the the good and the bad, and flipping a coin?