Here is a superb parable, written by my dear friend Mo Thomas:
CNN News Report: Chicago, June 7, 1997
A bomb threat was called in anonymously at 11:01am to a local high-rise office building in the heart of downtown Chicago near the Magnificent Mile. The owner of the building, Dr. Milton Hanner, a sincerely kind and generous middle-aged man who had lived in Chicago for most of his life, had become familiar with and well-loved by thousands of people over the years as he spent many hours each day walking around the building rubbing elbows with folks and getting to know them.
Upon hearing the news of this threat, he rushed over to the lobby immediately, filled with genuine concern over those inside . . . and formed an emergency plan to make sure every person had a chance to escape. A volunteer army formed quickly at hearing the news of impending disaster, and the owner personally led the charge to quickly and efficiently work the entire 65-floor building, executing the plan in an attempt to make sure that each and every person heard the warning, so they could escape.
Over the course of the next several hours, interviews were conducted with dozens of frantic employees who had fled the building, and CNN learned of the following responses:
— Many people believed that it was a hoax, and completely ignored the urgent warnings. They scoffed at the thought of wasted time leaving a perfectly safe building; some of them recalled the random “fire drills” over the past few years – apparently, two of them just last month, in fact.
— Some people considered the warning, and figured that they’d leave as soon as they got some work done. So, they turned around and went back to their phones and computers, soon forgetting about the warning.
— Others used the news as an opportunity to create panic in their areas. They started screaming, shouting, yelling at people to get out before it was too late. Unfortunately, a few folks jumped out of windows to their doom.
— Lastly, a few folks actually took the warnings seriously and followed the owner’s instructions, getting out of the building in the most efficient way possible and finding cover away from the area.
At 3:03 pm that same day, 65 separate bombs exploded in the span of 10 minutes, destroying the building and apparently leaving no survivors whatsoever.
Strange reports started trickling in that the owner was the one who had called in the bomb threat, and had himself been the one to plant timed explosives on every floor. This set off a firestorm of controversy across all media outlets.
Mr. Hanner, all of a sudden, was no longer the sincerely kind man who genuinely cared for the occupants of that building, no matter how many hours he’d spent with those people, no matter the emergency plan he’d formed and helped execute, no matter if he risked his own life to save them. For the compassionate man who went in to save the people from destruction was the same monster who had already made plans to destroy them if they didn’t heed his warning and escape.
The media now portrayed him based on this new information as
a #terrorist . . .
Wild reports continued to stream in: apparently, the building was destroyed, but there was evidence that the owner had hired security personnel to round up the remaining inhabitants of the building, taking them to a holding cell in the basement, until they could be turned over to a group of torture experts in a remote underground facility . . . with specific instructions from Mr. Hanner to keep them alive, alert and in excruciating pain for an undetermined amount of time, with no hope whatsoever of release or relief.
The entire city went into a mourning period that lasted for months, while hundreds of surviving employees and family members who had lost loved ones suffered from intense psychological trauma upon hearing these gruesome reports.
It wasn’t until much, much later that the final stack of evidence came forward, clearing Mr. Hanner from any malicious activity… it was truly heartbreaking for family members closest to the owner who knew and loved him, to hear dozens and dozens of reports of these horrific false accusations that so many people, including many of his supposed friends, were making against him. They knew how much he loved all the people who occupied his space. To accuse him of terrorism and torture was a terrible character assassination, pure and simple.
Sadly, years after the final evidence came forward, and he was cleared completely of any crime, most people who were interviewed still believed that he was keeping people alive for the sole purpose of having them tortured.
– Mo Thomas, shared with his kind permission