I was watching this 48 Hours story, and was late in tuning in, so I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the gist is that this boy and his (girl)friend were shot by another man who did it to see what it 'felt like'. So I do not deny that what sounds like a heinous crime occurred. Nor I am going to get into whether the state was right in asking for the death penalty - or they were going to before the family agreed to accept the plea bargain.
What I find interesting is that the survivor stated (paraphrasing): "I won't say his name. I refuse to let him have that power." I just thought it was so striking that she would refuse to humanize him, even slightly, by allowing him his name.
Now, you may tell me, "Ranter, she has every right not to speak his name after what has happened, especially if to do so would cause her anguish." And I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you.
But it did give me the though that we depersonalize when we refuse to give or use someone's name - I think of prisoners with numbers instead of names. Names are powerful, and to take away a person's name can take away part of their identity, part of who they are, making them less than.
I just think about God giving Adam the authority to name all the animals, God changing people's names all over the Bible (Abram-Abraham, Sarai-Sarah, etc.). Names mean something.
Is she afraid that to humanize her attacker, even slightly, would soften her heart towards him, even slightly? That she might not be able to nurture the hatred she feels and clings to so tightly?
And how do I cling to my hatreds? Christ said: "You must love your enemies" and "If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even sinners and pagans do the same."
But it feels so good and comfortable to cling to my bitterness, my hatred, my anger. It hurts to let go of those friends of mine. But I must, if I want to live as Christ did.
I think that's where the devil really tries to talk me out of this path: "It's too hard!" "That's an unreasonable expectation." "No human can do such a thing." No - through no human power will I ever be able to achieve such a feat on my own. It will take His grace working through me (and me allowing it), through His Church, the Sacraments, and prayer.
And it will take not listening to the devil when he whispers such insidious thoughts into my ear.
For nothing unclean may enter heaven, and I really want to go there!