When I was young, how much I was in trouble was marked by what my mother would call me. If she called me Darren, I realized I was in a bit of trouble and should change my ways. If she called me Darren James that was an even sterner warning. Smarten up now.If she called me DARREN JAMES LIEPOLD I knew I was in great trouble and even an apology and rapid change of my ways might not save me from punishment. And if she called me by my older brother's name or my father's name, it was time time to abandon all hope. I was facing punishment no matter what. At a young age, I came to realize that names were powerful.
This is a very common theme in the New Testament as well. Names have power. In Mark, it is the demons who are constantly trying call out Jesus for who he is. What do you want from us, Jesus, Son of the most high God. And Jesus tried to shush the demons right away. Names in the bible have power. The demons try to use the name to control Jesus, but in the end Jesus has control.
This theme is common in modern day fiction as well. In the book series, Harry Potter, throughout most of the series most of the characters in the series refuse to speak the name of Voldemort, the dark Lord. To speak his name meant that he was alive still. To speak his name might give him power. To speak his name might begin the war again. JK Rowling shows in her novels that names are important.
Last month, the van driver who killed ten in a North York street was convicted of the charges against him. In her ruling, the judge, Anne Molloy, refused to name the killer. She also refused to name the reason why he committed the crimes. To do so would honour the killer and his sick mindset. To name him would give him power and she wanted to end his violence. By refusing to name him, hopefully his violence would die. By refusing to name him and his motive, the judge hopes the story dies here and does not live on.
I agree with the judge. We don't need to glorify the killer. Unfortunately the name Marc Lapin and his murder at the Polytechnique in Quebec in 1989 is implanted in my memory. Because his name was so associated with the murder of 14 women, his name lives on. He still has power. Who can forget the evil of Charles Manson? His name, so associated with those killings lives on. Josef Mengele's name will ever be associated with the horrors of the Holocaust. But by putting evil aside, by not glorifying the works and deeds of a mad man, maybe we can forget the evil of that day in Toronto. Let us celebrate peace and downplay the acts of evil doers and their twisted view of the world. Blessings.