Greetings and Salutations;
This morning, as insomnia dragged me though the Dark Hours of the Night, I heard the initial reports of the insanity in Aurora at the Batman movie premier. As the day has passed, and, the 24th hour since the events approaches, I wanted to post a few thoughts on what I have been seeing on social sites and in the News media. My prayers go out to the families and friends of the 75+ victims wounded or killed in this senseless attack. It is a terrible thing to have a fun and exciting event destroyed by the appearance of Evil and random violence. It will take a long time for the survivors to come to terms with the events of the morning, and, to begin the healing process. I can only hope that God will be with them and ease that journey.
I see a number of people out there trying desperately to find a reason for this attack. I have heard some speculation here and there, but, it is too soon to be able to find what motivated this young man to become a force of Evil. I fear, too, that in the long run, there will be no rational explanation for his actions. When dealing with the mad, the concept of rational thought goes out the window. The targets of his attack show that it was the product of a deranged mind – while being so immersed in fiction may be a social problem, it is hardly a reason to die.
What could we do? I have also seen a number of people of good will asking how this can be prevented from happening again. While I appreciate people’s instinctive reaction of wanting to keep it from happening again, I have to say that I believe it is not possible to totally eliminate events like this. Or, at least, most of the answers that I run across would not be acceptable for a significant number of Americans. The only guaranteed way to eliminate events like this would be to turn America into another GitMo..with citizens being held in cages and apart from each other except for supervised situations. Would Americans accept such incarceration in, essentially, solitary confinement? I do not think that would be an acceptable solution for anyone! Alternatively, we could expand the duties of the FBI to, essentially, a “pre-crime” unit as depicted in the (otherwise pretty terrible) movie “Minority Report”. The down side to this is that it will lead to a significant number of Americans who end up in prisons not because of what they have done, but, because they MIGHT do something. Considering the history of law enforcement in America, I suspect that this would mean that the prisons would be packed with the citizens who argue with authority, or do not look like the authorities detaining them. People call for making it harder to purchase guns – in the hopes that this will help. Alas, it will not. The only thing that making guns harder to get does is ensure that only criminals will have guns, and, the people that sell guns get much better profits on those sales. This stance also ignores the fact that guns in America are often used to STOP crimes against a citizen. Some people call for harsher penalties for crimes committed with guns. This would not have made any difference in this tragic event because the killer did not care.
One big issue with some of these suggested remedies is that they DO run rough-shod over the rights given in the 2d Amendment. I would almost argue that the problem was not that there were too many guns in the movie theatre, but, rather, too few. If we had an armed and trained citizenry, the perp would have been met with considerably more firepower than he had… As Heinlein pointed out, “an armed society is a polite society”.
Now…how about some realistic answers to the issue of trying to cut down on the likelihood of attacks like this. I have little doubt that a longer examination of this young man’s life will show that he, like so many of the other spree killers, showed signs of an escalating spirit of violence over the past year or two. Thanks to the decisions made by our government, though, even if his friends had put forth the effort to attempt to get him help, the costs of psychiatric care can be extreme and beyond the reach of most people. However, having said that, it would have been good if some sort of intervention could have happened. I just heard a comment in a police press conference that he was very quiet and kind of withdrawn. That is not a problem, but, again, if people seem to be getting more isolated, it can be a warning of a problem. It is very easy to get too isolated from the rest of society by the technology and chaos included in today’s world. We each need to take responsibility for maintaining contact with our friends, and, doing what we can to support them in their time of need.
Shakespeare, in Macbeth said this:
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Therein the patient must minister to himself.
Sometimes when we start to slide into a Dark Place, it is hard for us to understand what is going on, and, before we know it, we are in a pit where it seems there is no escape. As friends, it is not our job to “fix” the lives of others, but, it is our job to help support them in their own journey to find their way back to the Light. When in that Dark Place, it is sometimes hard to understand that we are part of the problem….and until we can acknowledge that fact, healing is difficult or impossible. We, as friends who care about a person, should do what is necessary to support the journey towards that initial “Ah Ha” moment, and, the subsequent healing process. In the case of the Aurora shooting, I suspect that the young man moved on a path towards greater isolation, and, for what ever reason, his friends did not realize that was happening, or, did not feel courage enough to confront him on the path he was following. Perhaps had some more friends made that effort, the outcome might have been different.
Beyond that, I would see this as another good reason for moving to Universal Health Care model in the USA. With a program like that, theraputic help would have been readily available at minimal cost, and, that might have pulled the shooter back from the abyss. It is always better to fix the problem before it gets started, rather than clean up and heal things up after disaster has happened.
Bee Man Dave