The Mob baying for Blood

“Pilate disappeared and a new feeling grew among those around us, the talking and muttering ceased and I felt something different coming in to the atmosphere as all of us stared in the direction of the balcony. I sensed a thirst for blood among the crowd. I could see it in people’s faces, how their jaws were set and their eyes bright with excitement. There was a dark vacancy in the faces of some, and they wanted that vacancy filled with cruelty, with pain and with the sound of someone crying out. Only something vicious would satisfy them now, once they had been given permission to want it. They had changed from being a crowd doing what they were told to being a mob in search of some vast satisfaction that could come only with shrieks of pain and torn flesh and broken bones”.

The above passage is taken from Colm Tobin’s description of the crucifixion of Jesus in his book ‘The Testament of Mary’.
As I read it I felt it was not just a historical description, but that it also applied to so much of what happens today. True, people are not physically crucified any more, but they are often crucified in other ways, particularly by sections of the media stirring up the crowd in the same way that the Jewish authorities did against Jesus. It depresses me at times to see how easily public opinion can become like a mob baying for blood. I can remember the frenzy that was stirred up over the Anglo tapes, but now the jury has acquitted Seanie Fitz, as he came to be known. I hold no brief for him, but I thank God for the calm, considered processes of law. They don’t always get it right, but at least the processes have been tried and trusted down through the years. Without the law we would be at the whim of the mob, and of those who stirred them up for their own ends. I know that legal people can sometimes get enormous fees, but the more I see of the alternatives the more I come to believe that they are worth it all.