So there I am coasting along through the North Georgia Mountains on one of those roads where it’s sheer cliff on one side and long plummeting death on the other when I round a particularly sharp curve and see this…
Blood Mountain Cabins. Who in their right mind is going to stay in a cabin at a place named Blood Mountain? Especially when I notice, as I stop to take a picture of this foreboding sign, that there is absolutely no cell phone signal where I am. That’s right. Blood Mountain, campground, no cell phone signal, less than 20 miles from where Deliverance was filmed. Yeah, you know what I’m thinking, don’t you?
And to make matters worse, after I got back home, I looked Blood Mountain up and found this on the Historical Marker Database, “In Cherokee mythology the mountain was one of the homes of the Nunnehi or Immortals, the “People Who Live Anywhere,” a race of Spirit People who lived in great townhouses in the highlands of the old Cherokee Country… Before the coming of white settlers, the Creeks and Cherokees fought a disastrous and bloody battle in Slaughter Gap between Slaughter and Blood Mountains.”
So, yeah, Blood Mountain, campground, no cell phone signal, less than 20 miles from where Deliverance was filmed… AND location where Indian spirit people died. Seriously. And from the looks of it, if you end up having to run away from BLOOD Mountain, you’ll most likely just end up on neighboring SLAUGHTER Mountain. Unbelievable. Staying there would just be asking for it, wouldn’t it? You’d have to be like those dummies in the later Friday The 13th movies who just keep coming back to Crystal Lake to party even though the morgues in the area are practically overflowing with Jason’s victims.
You can understand the kids in Part 2 because the headless Mrs. Voorhies is about as dead as you can get. And you can kind of forgive the kids in Part 3 because Jason has only just gotten started. But by Part 4 (The Final Chapter), any kid who plans on spending the Summer at Crystal Lake drinking, taking drugs, and engaging in pre-marital sex may as well just go ahead and stab themselves 6 or 7 times before they leave the house. At least they’d save themselves the gas money it would’ve taken to get there.
Look, everybody makes bad choices, and being stupid, while not desirable, is not a sin in and of itself. But willful ignorance is, as St. Thomas Aquinas so eloquently explains in the Summa. “It is clear that not every kind of ignorance is the cause of a sin, but that alone which removes the knowledge which would prevent the sinful act. …This may happen on the part of the ignorance itself, because, to wit, this ignorance is voluntary, either directly, as when a man wishes of set purpose to be ignorant of certain things that he may sin the more freely; or indirectly, as when a man, through stress of work or other occupations, neglects to acquire the knowledge which would restrain him from sin. For such like negligence renders the ignorance itself voluntary and sinful, provided it be about matters one is bound and able to know.”
Now obviously the concept of willful ignorance can be applied broadly to any situation where a person ignores evidence that appears to contradict his or her preconceived notions (modern politics seems practically overrun with willful ignorance), but in Church terms, it specifically means the purposeful darkening of the intellect so it doesn’t interfere with any sinning. The term is usually associated with those people in the Church who don’t take the time to educate themselves in their own faith, i.e. those who know the Church has something to say about masturbation, but aren’t really going to listen to what it is because they feel it’s none of the Church’s business and, well… they just like it.
Most likely, we’ve all engaged in willful ignorance at some point in our lives. But take it from the unlucky visitors to Crystal Lake (154 and counting), it’s something to be avoided. The end results just aren’t worth it.