This post originally appeared at Fellowship of the Minds
This is almost funny, if it weren’t so tragic.
Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, both 29, didn’t believe there are such things as evil or evil people. Sadly, their lives were ended by exactly that which they refused to believe to be true.
Michael Sinkewicz reports for Pluralist, Aug. 15, 2018, that last year, Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, both 29, decided they were wasting their lives working in their office jobs in Washington, DC — Austin in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Geoghegan in the Georgetown University admissions office.
So they quit their jobs to bicycle around the world.
Austin, a vegan, explained on his blog why he quit his job:
“I’ve grown tired of spending the best hours of my day in front of a glowing rectangle, of coloring the best years of my life in swaths of grey and beige. I’ve missed too many sunsets while my back was turned. Too many thunderstorms went unwatched, too many gentle breezes unnoticed.”
Austin and Geoghegan, a vegetarian, also shared a belief in the non-existence of evil. Austin wrote:
“You read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own… By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.”
The couple documented their year-long journey on Instagram and on a joint blog to share “the openheartedness they wanted to embody and the acts of kindness reciprocated by strangers.”
On July 29, as recounted by CBS News, Austin and Geoghegan were riding their bikes through Tajikistan when a car rammed them. Five men got out of the car and stabbed the couple to death. Two other cyclists, one from Switzerland and the other from the Netherlands, were also killed.
Tajik authorities blamed a domestic Islamic separatist group. ISIS first claimed responsibility in print, followed by a video showing the five attackers sitting in front of the ISIS black flag, pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and vowing to kill “disbelievers”.
Austin and Geoghegan exemplify the liberal mindset.