Dirk Koning, 48, died Thursday after undergoing surgery for an erratic heartbeat.
Dirk was a kind and gentle soul and to use an old cliche, 'a kindred spirit'. He was the type of guy that when you first met him you felt like you had known him for a long time.
My experience with him was an attempt to create a program where computer science students from a local university would intern at local non-profit organizations. This would help students get an understanding of the non-technical issues in working in IT and help non-profits which sorely need technical support.
Dirk worked for the causes of free speech and peace and against the status quo - all issues that are dear to me. Though we did not discuss these issues, we would have disagreed in some of our approaches and reasoning.
He worked hard to provide media access to those without a voice. I believe strongly in the value of a wide diversity of opinions and the freedom to express them and be respected. I do not support public funding of the media for numerous reasons including government sponsorship of opinions becomes a form of government sponsored propaganda; our success as a nation is founded on limited government; and (especially national) public radio and TV often promote viewpoints which have failed in the marketplace of ideas and are then given disproportionate coverage that gives those proponents the illusion of greater acceptance and unfair advantage.
Here is a great statement displayed at grcmc.org in honor or Dirk:
"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding." — Albert Einstein
This is a statement we should all take to heart - Thomas Barnett describes how in essence globalization is about the flow of information into societies that want to restrict thought. He aptly balances the need for war making and the need for peace making. Be wary of the wolves in sheep's clothing - the Michael Moores and Ward Churchills who are filled with rage advocate hate but spout off about peace. We are a people of reluctant warriors and that is good. When brutal people go too far (Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein come to mind) it becomes our moral duty to defeat them - even Albert Einstein would agree.
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." — Albert Einstein
To those who disagreed with his politics or positions I say know who your real enemies are, Dirk wasn't one of them. A long time ago men marched off to war on the crusades, many of those they killed along the way and at their destination were friends and potential allies.
Dirk was not filled with hatred but he was concerned about needless suffering. He had a huge heart and I wish I would have used the opportunity to discuss these things with him.
The nicest tribute I read about him is from his niece, Gena, at the GRCMC site, I hope it finds a position of prominence, for now you need to dig through the tributes pouring in. (It was posted Saturday, February 12, 12:41 pm.)
There are also those who use the bible as a reason to be pacifist but sadly ignorant of the God's approval of waging war under the right conditions from the old testament to the new. Plenty of sects (Christian and Jewish) try to sanitize this out of their texts. When the bible calls God "Lord of Hosts" it literally means in Hebrew 'master of the armies'.
And for those members of the 'peace movements' who say that the old testament was 'an eye for an eye' religion and who wrap themselves in the 'gentle Jesus' cloak, Jesus said things like, 'I am not come to send peace but a sword...' as well as the new testament images of the coming war between the armies of good and evil.