Two recent shootings – one in Aurora, Colorado, the other at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin – have sparked consternation and soul-searching.
Two points about these shootings are especially interesting.
The first is a simple question: why is the media publicizing the names of the shooters and revealing every aspect of their lives?
Many serial killers crave attention. Senseless, violent acts like mass shootings are a way for lazy, morally challenged individuals to gain their 15 minutes of fame.
By poking into the lives of killers, the media and the consumers of the media play their game. Narcissistic killers become famous and draw innocent individuals into their twisted psyches.
Curious humans want to know why people who inflict horrible pain on others “go bad.” We want to explain the unexplainable, to fathom the unfathomable.
But in trying to delve into the mystery of evil, we encourage the narcissism of lunatics.
Narcissistic killers seek attention; let us starve that desire. Consign the names of lunatics to oblivion, and praise instead the heroes who inevitably arise during these tragedies.
The second point is more important. After horrible tragedies, people often declare that the depth of evil displayed shakes their faith and even belief in God.
But the evil of others should never result in a loss of belief in God. God is good, but He gave His human creatures the gift of free will. All of us (except Mary) choose evil; many even choose great evil.
But human evil should not shake our belief in God. We may misuse our gift of free will – that is hardly His fault! Our lack of goodness is no excuse to disbelieve in God’s!
Mass shootings are tragedies. It would be an even greater tragedy if deranged individuals could take away He who brings greater good out of tragedy, by destroying our belief. Their failure should not be ours.