Again we hear the screams of the innocent. Still again sick men — always men — speak to the world with bombs and the blood of children. They will rant and rave about “causes” that drove them to murder the innocent, but their rhetoric is merely that: rhetoric that hides sick minds, callous and deformed souls.

When you strike at children, I no longer care what your so-called ideology is or to whatever god you pretend to serve, for I cannot hear your pleas above the cries of the innocent. And I really do not want to hear that the “ends justify the means.” I would simply point out that the means are the ends — blood begets blood and nothing else.

You worship a world full of blood, of a make-believe warrior ethos, when in reality you are simply twisted with hatred and made small by your cowardly deeds. You may see yourself as a warrior engaged against the evil west or the foreign occupiers in Washington who scheme to take away your rights as wild men of American mythology, but you are simply a creature of the night defined by your murderous deeds.

I will not dignify your actions by ennobling them in using the language of war. This is not war — this is simply murder of the innocent by a coward. You already see yourself as a martyr. I see you as a murderer of children, and of the innocent in Boston, Baghdad, Oklahoma City and Somalia. You see yourself as a warrior simply because you have become seduced by the language and propaganda of violence and hatred — a belief system that feeds off of violence in word and deed. To me you are pathetic and a coward who hides behind macho imagines and gutless and spineless deeds.

You shrivel in your hiding hole like the rat that you are, hoping others will engage you as a warrior or patriot. We should see you as the coward that you are, afraid to engage others in peaceful debate because they will see the impotent weakling that you are.

There is nothing heroic in the slaughter of the innocent, regardless of how it is delivered. From out of the sky or hidden in a trash can, when the innocent are used as dead messengers to terrorize, the message becomes lost. Violence is a straightjacket that imposes a belief system by killing the innocent.

Nor will I lend credence to your unholy worship of violence by juxtaposing your deeds with self-serving violence of my own. I will not threaten your children or the innocent of your lands like you have done mine. Be your belief be jihad or some crazy militia seeking to honor Ruby Ridge, Waco, Adolf Hitler or the Oklahoma City bombing, I see the blood of the innocent and hear their pathetic cries that turn to whimpers, and then the silence of the dead.

I find solace and comfort in the teaching of the true revolutionaries — mostly those of faith who preach to us of a world of brotherhood and sisterhood, of peaceful relationships and respect for one another, of a god that cherishes us all, regardless of color of skin, nationality or professed religious differences, and has little patience for those who preach hatred.

I look to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the other brave men and women who lead a peaceful struggle to overthrow institutional racism in my own country as examples of how to change what needs to be changed, without the killing of children and the innocent. I also hope to learn and be inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the brave men and women of Eastern Europe who led peaceful revolutions that overthrew the tyrannical Soviet Empire.

I would say to those cowards who slaughter the innocent in a pathetic attempt to man up to your sorry self-image that if you have a grievance, a cause or an injustice, use the tactics of peaceful resistance so I can hear your argument. I cannot — and I refuse to listen — when you speak with a bomb and ask me to ignore the smell of blood.

I would say to my fellow countrymen not to speak the language of terror in return. Already the talking haters have come forth demanding that, in order to combat their terror, we become terrorists ourselves. Erik Rush, a frequent Fox News contributor, was quoted as saying: “Lets kill them all.”

Here he was assuming that the terror was the result of Islamic extremists, ignoring the unfortunate yet all too real domestic terrorists who have waged terror against our own. But even taking for a moment that it was a sick individual seduced by jihadist, hate-filled rhetoric, think for a moment what he asks: the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children — genocide that would do Hitler proud. He wants to avenge the horrendous death of an 8-year-old boy by killing their 8-year-old boys? He wants to give cover for their murderous and cowardly hatred by inflicting others with our own murderous and cowardly hatred?

There is an old saying: When digging the grave for vengeance, you need two — one for them, and one for you. My heart aches for the victims in Boston, as it does when I hear of terror bombings in Baghdad, Afghanistan and elsewhere. I despair today of what kind of a world we have become. Yet I caution myself that is ultimately what terror wants — to despair, to see a world inflamed in order for me to betray my belief system and transform it into theirs, a world run by violence by little men with big hatreds. I would rather die than see this come to be.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.