Screwtape Wept

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

My Dear Wormwood,

As discussed in my last letter, your patient’s decision to join the police department seemed a mixed development at best. It is true that Hell follows no law save the most ancient, “Eat or be eaten.” But as a general rule we want to discourage the creatures from obeying any laws, even of their own devising. Despite the best efforts of our most fiendish disputants, we in the Lowerarchy are unable, as yet, to remove from their laws all that reeks of the Enemy, such as justice, temperance, chastity, and respect for their fellow vermin. Still, we have made great strides in this age toward bending those who enforce the laws, such as your patient, to the commendable vices of cruelty, corruption, graft, influence-peddling, and the forsaking of oaths. So I did not discourage your patient’s occupation, as long as he could be steered onto a path which would eventually bring him to Our Father’s House.

Until I received this report from our colleague Skrimcheez, who is in charge of the local newspaper editor: Henrico police shoot pet as they notify family of son’s homicide. As you can see, the report is lavishly illustrated, and spares no detail. It appears that your patient, while performing his mundane duty of notifying one of the humans that her child had been murdered, discharged his weapon into the child’s dog. Your patient claimed to have done so out of fear (no doubt of your urging) that the animal posed a threat to the patient’s safety. I have carefully read the report, and it raises several questions regarding your care of the patient.

The first of which is: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND? What kind of FUCKING LUNATIC would shoot the GOD-DAMNED FAMILY DOG as he was approaching the GOD-DAMNED FAMILY HOME to notify them that THEIR SON HAD BEEN MURDERED? YOU ASSHOLE! Hell is TOO GOOD for this son of a bitch! I thought I was cruel! I thought I was merciless, but YOU…

(Here the manuscript breaks off, and is resumed in another hand.)

In my rage and fury at reading of your despicable patient’s exploits, I find that I have transformed into a vampire bat. My secretary shall compose the remainder of this letter under my dictation.

There are some things, Wormwood, that are too vile even for us. Admittedly, before today, I could not have named one of those things. But shooting the family dog, on the way to notifying the family that its son has been found murdered in the street, is such a thing. Hell has majesty, Wormwood. Even the foulest fiend in the most abysmal of our pits would not sink to such a depth.

Rest assured, Wormwood, that your patient has found his place in Our Father’s House. Indeed he shall be most welcome here.  We shall make a sport of him, a plaything, a feast to be savoured slowly with all the cruelty our tormentors can devise. And yet, for all of the anguish that shall be his, for eternity and more, his torment will only barely exceed what he has brought upon this family. Common murderers are, as the Americans put it, a dime a dozen. It takes a special cruelty, one I would call beyond diabolical if there could be such a thing, to kill the family dog before notifying the family of a death.

Your disgusted uncle,

Screwtape.

(Signed in his abysmal excellency’s disability by his secretary, Toadpipe, B.S.M., D.T.)

 

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23 Responses to “Screwtape Wept”

  1. #1 |  Citizen Nothing | 

    As soon as I read the title my forgotten fundamentalist YA reading memories came (unwelcomely) back….

  2. #2 |  Patrick from Popehat | 

    Funny. I love The Screwtape Letters, and I’ve been an agnostic my entire life.

  3. #3 |  AJP | 

    This was awesome. Very well done.

  4. #4 |  DJMoore | 

    I confess I read the Screwtape Letters in my misspent youth as plain fantasy. It was years before I realized it was a Christian tract. Even so, I still appreciate it; it carries a lot of wisdom.

    I also confess that I have left comments here suggesting that many of these incidents seem to involve owners not being terribly responsible about restraining their dogs. I’ve been savaged for daring to to speak any smallest word in defense of the police. I’ve been reminded that “the police” are “our enemies”. Every single one of them, apparently, sight unseen.

    Despite being a contemptible badge licker, I’m gonna come down on Offisa Pup Shooter for being an irresponsible cowardly asshole, who deserves neither badge nor gun. Getting bit on the leg is too good for him, and might poison the poor gullible dog.

    I note that he is “unnamed”; asshole cops are never named. Why, it’s as if their superiors think they’d lose the trust and respect of the community if we knew who they were.

    I also note a comment on the story to the effect that you can be cited for tying up your dog in your own yard, “ask me how I know”.

    I apologize for ever thinking a good thing about the cops. I’m sure there are decent ones out there, but their institutions and fellow officers are so far out of control that they either resign their posts, or resign to being known by the company they keep.

    Same standard they hold us to.

  5. #5 |  marie rich | 

    Loved it for it’s uncanny echo of C.S. Lewis’ book and it’s on-target honesty. That incident is despicable. Whatever happened to a sense of proportion and common sense in the police departments of the USA? Most dogs would run off at a warning shot in the ground. If not, officers are trained for follow-up shots. The recent car chase in Cincinnati is another egregious example of dumbfuckitis. A cop chases a carful of young teen girls for shoplifting chips and junk! The car crashes into a telephone pole and some of the girls are hurt. One 12 yr. old in critical condition- for chips. Why would the cop even risk citizen bystanders? They live up (down) to the 104 IQ high cut-off…

  6. #6 |  Nephilium | 

    Very well done, especially in retaining the tone of the original work.

  7. #7 |  Sean | 

    I’m pretty sure they shot the dog after they notified the sister. She said: “They had told me my brother was dead and I’d come out back to cry on the porch and Tiger must have heard them. He ran into the front yard and the officer shot him.”

    I don’t know whether that makes it better or worse.

  8. #8 |  Al V | 

    Very well done post.

    This is an event that makes a soul despair. The cop couldn’t have found a way to back off. He had to take this opportunity to make the worst day in a families life just a little more miserable.

    Useless. Officer Useless.

  9. #9 |  Robert Evans | 

    Good parody!

  10. #10 |  Delta | 

    Funny thought: In a lot of these “cop with unreleased name” cases, doesn’t the press have to be complicit for this to be the case? Like, wouldn’t the officer here have said “Ma’am, I’m Officer X from Y and your son is dead…” — such that the family knows the name and can tell the press? I think in a lot of other cases there would be some civilian/victim who would know the name, but the local press must play along and not release the name if the department requests it, eh?

  11. #11 |  Bill | 

    This is the most horrific thing I’ve read in a while, but that didn’t last long. I went down to read the comments, and that truly just made me want to barf even more. The only thing that would make this story worse is unsympathetic assholes saying it’s a good thing, and yep, they’re there. It’s not even PoliceOne types. If you can stomach it, read the comments by Jim Croft or Jim Robinson or Ross Rockwell. F*cking monsters all of them.

  12. #12 |  dood | 

    I love this blog :) Great writing. Although, I have to disagree with your main point.
    Do you really think the most loathsome act all Hell could fathom is the killing of an animal? Shooting a HUMAN BEING to death for a cell phone and a couple bucks can’t even compare, right?
    I totally agree, the officer should not have shot that dog. I’m sure he was surprised, threatened, and the reacted, but wouldn’t you be scared pissless if a pit bull charged you? Come on.
    No, the real atrocity here is that a boy was murdered, and that people are making a bigger deal about the freaking dog.

  13. #13 |  Patrick from Popehat | 

    #12: If you’re so clueless as to ask, sincerely, whether I “really think” that shooting a dog is worse than shooting a human being, no explanation of the intent behind this post would penetrate that skull.

  14. #14 |  Goober | 

    Patrick – this is brilliant. Up to the point of the swearing part, I’d have thought that Lewis penned it, himself. Frigging fantastic, man. At least so far, you win my internets for the day.

  15. #15 |  Simeon Scientist | 

    Dood, really? Everyone knows that it’s an atrocity that the boy was murdered. Think logically about this though. They tell you that your son/brother (depending on the person from the story) is murdered, then they pull out a gun and shoot your dog?

    You’re already traumatized, gunshots from close range are traumatic, and losing a pet is traumatic. So basically, they just took an already atrocious situation and made it SIGNIFICANTLY worse. That’s what he’s saying. No, the dog being dead isn’t the biggest issue, it’s the senselessness of shooting a family pet, in front of the family, while delivering news about the murder, that makes this notable. It’s a lack of common sense and common decency.

  16. #16 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Funny how some people seem shocked that a non-Christian could enjoy well-written, witty and thought-provoking Christian literature. As a Christian, I enjoy well-written, witty and thought-provoking non-Christian literature on a regular basis.

  17. #17 |  Charlie Potts | 

    C.S. Lewis is so good he got me interested in theology, and I’m an agnostic Christian. Another very thought provoking book, even for non-believers, is Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (especially for the “all Germans are Nazis crowd.)

    Oops, Godwinned. Sorry about that.

    Also, why don’t they just kick the dog or something?

  18. #18 |  Goober | 

    Once wonders how mail men and UPS guys get through their day without leaving a trail of dead dog corpses behind them.

    I know that if a cop ever comes to my house that my gentle, doofy dog Moose would be in mortal danger, because his modus operandi when new people come into the yard is to bound up to them barking.

    He then proceeds to lick them to death.

    As for Charlie’s post above, I’m confused as to how someone could be an agnostic christian. Is that even possible? By definition, an agnostic is a person who believes that we humans do not have the information available to us to make a choice on whether deity exists or not, because we’ve been denied proof of their existence, and concrete DISproof of their existence is something that cannot be had. Therefore, an agnostic is someone who is open to the existence of deity, but also does not commit to a belief that they do exist.

    How does that jive with choosing a denomination, when you don’t even know if God exists to begin with? Please note, I’m not being sarcastic or criticizing you here, I’m genuinely curious as to how you’ve come to your current state of being.

    Granted, I may be in the same boat as you, because IF deity truly does exist, i hope beyond hope that the deity that does exist is the New Testament Christian God, because the other choices are simply awful…

  19. #19 |  Linda | 

    Very simular incident out in Gold Bar, Washington. I believe it was spring of this year. A man’s brother was killed in a car crash. The man some how learned of the crash and headed to the site. Meanwhile a police officer comes to his home to inform him his brother had been killed in a car accident. Ends up shooting and killing the mans German Shepherd Shadow. I wish I had a news link to share. But I do not even think the news picked up this story. I found out because the man later attended a court house rally in support of the Wrights and their dog Rosie (who was also killed by a police officer) Someone invited him to join Rosie’s Facebook page and share his story there. Which he did.

  20. #20 |  Linda | 

    Oops….spring of last year, 2011. Not this year.

  21. #21 |  Sean | 

    Goober, I am not speaking for Charlie, but I sometimes describe myself as an Agnostic Christian, the reason being that while I fit the definition you provided as far as a belief in the existence/non-existence of god, I am culturally christian in that I was raised Catholic and still enjoy celebrating holidays, appreciate the iconography of the church, am fascinated with saints, etc. In short, I hang onto what I was raised with, more out of force of habit than any true belief.

  22. #22 |  Jamie | 

    Nice writing. Appluads.

  23. #23 |  Return of the Agitator « The Honest Courtesan | 

    […] away with the brilliant “So. It Has Come To This” (the TSA, Pulp Fiction style) and “Screwtape Wept”  (another cop murders another dog, seen through the eyes of C.S. Lewis’ fictional devil).  […]

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