Shoot 

So there was yet another school shooting, this time in Oregon. Nine people died. You probably already knew that.

It’s weird isn’t it? Tragic for sure, but also such a weird societal shift. I remember columbine being such a big deal but now we’ve adjusted. Adjusted to mass shootings that seem to occur from a crazed lone gunman for no reason at all. And instead of treating this evil like the evil it is we listen to politicians, Facebook friends, and even, in this latest instance, the shooter’s father, talking about how gun control is the magical solution.

If only.

I hate hearing that people died from such senseless violence. I hate when people write it off as an incident of mental illness or inadequate gun laws or just a screwed up person who had a hard life and/or no control over their actions. I think it somehow comforts us in our fear. Demonizing the shooters or our laws instead of admitting that these people had choices, and they chose to kill because they hated. Whether for race or religion or some other reason in their mind they felt justified in their killing, including (usually) their killing of themselves. They didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to buy a gun and go on a shooting spree, they were normal, reasoning humans just like us who, instead of choosing to love, gave in to their lower, less noble and ultimately sinful nature. A nature that none of us are immune to, but that can be overcome by the grace of God. I think that’s why these shooters are always isolated. Because pain isolates us, and it is in isolation and darkness that hatred can best grow, because instead of our focus being on loving God and others the eye of the heart and mind turns inward on just ourselves, and from that inward gaze we recognize that we are incapable of satisfying our own desires. Even if we think we see some good, sin will still be there.

And there are two responses to this realization. We can either surrender to God and accept His infinite redemptive mercy or we can embrace the darkness and become who we are without God, little more than a lowly, monstrous creature. And a lot of people who read this will probably think I have low self esteem or an extremely jaded/cynical view of human nature. But no. I think I have an accurate/Biblical one. We’ve been so indoctrinated to think that we’re all winners infinitely deserving of good things. Yet I question that. We might all have the potential for greatness, but in order to be good we must cultivate goodness by our choices. It doesn’t just happen, we are not born perfect. I know I certainly wasn’t and I’m not going to lie to you on this blog and say I don’t have my struggles to do the right thing sometimes, but it’s important to me to not give up. And I like to think I’m getting better at letting Jesus carry me down the path to heavenly perfection instead of trying to walk it myself.

But back to the matter at hand, when we see these shooters accountability seems to be the last thing anyone looks at. No one looks into their lives and their choices. No one actually comes out and says they made an evil decision. No one ever blames our culture of death that devalues human life and claims God is not important/nonexistent. Instead they hide behind gun death statistics and political rhetoric about change. Yet the importance of loving our neighbors (to prevent the isolation I was talking about) and building strong family connections (the dad says he had no idea his son owned guns) never enters the conversation.

I don’t know I guess what it really boils down to is that I’m tired of all the false narratives and I wish more people had the courage to speak the truth.

Here’s one insignificant blogger’s attempt.

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4 thoughts on “Shoot 

  1. I agree that we must remember that people have choices. However I also feel that you are being overly simplistic. You say that in response to the realization that we are incapable of satisfying our own desires, we can embrace the darkness and become who we are without God, little more than a lowly, monstrous creature. Is that always true? What about virtuous pagans or virtuous atheist? Is their only saving grace is that they have not yet come to the realization that they cannot fulfill their desires? Maybe Aquinas is correct when he says that there is a natural vocations for humans and that God is needed so that we may have faith, hope, and love?

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    1. I would probably loosely quote Chesterton to you to say that humans can maintain a certain level of good but not a certain level of evil. The more you choose evil the further you descend. When I say little more than a lowly monstrous creature I’m not talking about life so much as I’m talking about death. The definition of hell in my mind is the total absence of God, and I truly believe that it’s only Gods grace that preserves goodness in the soul- even for those virtuous atheists you mentioned. Because every soul has a choice. You can accept that you need God to fulfill your desires for goodness and virtue etc. and humbly accept heaven. Or you can reject Him and proudly go to hell. (The hypothetical soul not you the questioner just to clarify!)

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  2. I have noticed that isolation is a common theme among these young men. As you say, we can all do our part to make a more loving society by making sure no one is left out. It takes more than one person to end isolation!

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