There have been thousands or millions of opinions rendered since Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. Virtually all of them have been vehement pronouncements of unassailable “truths”, such as, “This was an act of pure evil,” or, “this guy should burn in hell,” or, “we need gun control now,” or, “guns didn’t do this, a bad guy did it.”
They’re all wrong. I say this with a sense of irony, because I don’t know the right answer.
The problem comes from the obvious contradiction of “why,” which is a rational question asked of an irrational act. The easy, and useless, answer to “why” is that he was crazy or evil. If you found out that he was a white supremacist or an Islamic jihadist, it wouldn’t render his actions any less crazy or evil.
Until we can stop one-dimensionally hating the Las Vegas shooter (and all his ilk) and try to understand him, we are doomed to see him again and again. We can’t just write off these guys as “pure evil” without figuring them out. We have to shed this childish, “Why did the bad men fly the planes into the buildings, Daddy?” attitude.
Also along this line, at least one Christian leader blamed the shooting on our behavior, connecting religion, and therefore their god, to it.
“There is ‘violence in the streets,’ Pat Robertson said, because, ‘we have disrespected authority. There is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation. They say terrible things about him. It’s in the news; it’s in other places.'” ~WP
One of the biggest obstacles to understanding irrational, seemingly evil acts, is our unwillingness, often terrified unwillingness, to admit we have that potential to go crazy or descend into evil ourselves. We all know it’s there because we all feel intense, blind rage at times, but many of us never really look in the mirrors of our souls.
Here are some additional observations about the current state of affairs…
- Most people are not moral. Most people are self-serving.
- Most people see the world in terms of a five mile radius and a 30-day billing cycle.
- Most people who claim to believe in god do so because they think it will serve their causes, not because they honestly feel he is real. The rest believe it because they are told to do so.
- Most people want money more than anything else.
- Almost all people who type “prayers” or “praying” into comments on social media are not praying.
- Professional athletes kneeling during the National Anthem is meaningless to me because I neither care about the opinions of professional athletes nor do I think they should be viewed as role models or heroes.
- Most people are scared to death of almost everything every day, and though they would agree with this statement, they would say that it is “not me.”
Finally, there is a looming monster far more frightening than the wild card of angry lone nuts: North Korea. If you think 58 dead and 530 injured is a tragedy, you have forgotten the promise of the cold war: annihilation “like the world has never seen before,” at the hands of people far crazier and more evil than an angry nut with some AR15s.