Everything was sunny and wonderful for a moment. Was red, white and blue wonderful. The children’s band had just marched by. Cute.
Innocence all around. Then, innocence was on the run.
The shaggy, tattooed young man, once (somewhere back there) also innocent, dressed now like a girl as part of his perverse mission, climbs up the alley fire escape, gets the high ground, start his killing.
He’d given the world fair warning. He’d written of his urges.
He wore the self-mutulating marks, inward and outward, of the army of the lost, soul-sick, violent egocentrics. The young nihilists. We’ve been spawning them, as in a fetid pool.
It’s one of the American stories — or American tragedies. But it’s universal. The symptoms and the actions can be found the world over. But, then, too, it seems we Americans have succumbed to this particular soul-corrupting pandemic, nurtured by the likes of our pibald, senescent ideologically bewildered prisoner -of-circumstances U.S. President who will, like millions, miss the point and blame it all on guns. Also, there are the false religions intersecting with the false chemical mood-alterers, racing around the cerebrum and the blood — they ought to be counted among the factors as well.
But the worst perpetrators are utterly clear in their thinking. That’s the scary part of it.
Mind-chilled and encrusted with a sickening sediment, they crawl forth in bright sunlight– at The Boston Marathon. They pop up in the high perch of a Las Vegas hotel. They enter a supermarket in Buffalo. They march freely into an elementary school in Evoldi, Texas. Your town is next — your street, your parade, your supermarket…..the demons are coming….
Their actions are theological in nature. The Evil One commands them. You might be scorned, mocked or ignored if you suggested such a thing and seem to be the Saturday Night Life comedian satirically uttering the word — Satan.
But, of course, it is a false, non-credible notion that any force, visible or invisible, forces us to do anything. We simply cooperate with evil. We make that choice daily, on a small or a grand scale. All of us.
There are the menally ill among us. They are to be cared for. We must search them out in all compassion. But I submit that the majority of the mass shooters have simply concluded that, in lieu of any ultimate, transcendant meaning, death and killling invest life with its only purpose or meaning.
Millions will, understandably, blame it all on guns. I find myself doing the same. Get rid of the guns or, at least, make it harder for them to get into the hands of twisted souls, and the problem will be abated, if not eliminated. And this is a reasonable civic goal to which we can aspire as a society. And, after all, what law or regulation or level of vigilance can discern and root out the galloping nihilism in the very air we breath? Is that possible? What is the antidote to the dark theology involved, especially if one doesn’t believe in theology, only sociology? We all believe different things about life’s purpose. We Americans are, in some respects, 300,000,000 theologians. And, frankly, even the most seemingly “normal” among us seems to have an appetite for the diversion that is violence, given our tastes in movies. We might not commit it, but we love to watch it. We just hate it when its real.
Meanwhile, for the killers among us…they think:
Kill them while they’re having fun or going about their business. Or at the movies, watching all that violence. Remind them with the rifle you bought of the real meaning of life. They are sleepwalking, those shoppers, those people watching the colorful, meaningless spectacle of a parade. “Enjoying” themselves.
This massacre left, among others, two young parents bloodied and dead, their child an orphan.
Motive, please….we can’t help but ask it.
Why? Why did you do it?
Why not? they’d answer.
Were they just — killing joy?
(Joy –allegedly, is said to be the surest sign of the presence of God. The French mystic Leon Bloy said so. He said many things, such as that the only failure in life is not to be a saint. He has never been canonized, or even beatified. He was, from all accounts, a rather intense individual who is also alleged to have stood on the hill of Monmartre overlooking Paris and proclaimed, “man left to man. That’s what I call The Wrath of God!”)
But here comes the mystic of darkness, climbing the alley fire escape to his perch, his little mountain, ready to unleash the wrath of his nihilistic god.
A relevant quote of dialogue from a story by a late writer of frankly theological fiction reads as follows:
“If He done what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but thow (sic) away everything and follow him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing you to do (sic)but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best you can –by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness,” and his voice had become almost a snarl.
The words of the character, the homicidal escaped confict called, The Misfit.
-Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.”
We are, none of us, as “good” as we think we are.
And we will ask — again and again — how did The Devil get a high powered rifle?
Not a bad question. But not the best question. And not the most important question.
Not as important as the question, why is there something, instead of nothing?
Or, why for some of us, is everything — nothing.
And, finally, yes, finally — who are we, and what are we doing here?