The Gift of Fear

In 1849, the Russian government arrested the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky due to his involvement with a political group called the Speshnev society, and sentenced him to four years of hard labor in a Siberian prison camp. Before sending him on the long trip, the Czar ordered a "mock execution" be performed on Dostoevsky and the other members of the group. Prison officials lined him up in front of a firing squad, then raised their guns to fire at him. They played the drums to count down to the execution – death appeared certain. But at the last second, they told Dostoevsky and his group members that they were being spared. Several members of the group apparently went insane after this traumatic experience. For Dostoevsky however, this experience had the opposite effect. It affirmed his belief in life and his Christian values. Upon release from prison, he resumed his writing with...

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