It’s been a difficult 24 hours for one who lives in the Denver Metro area. I was afraid when I got into the elevator at work. Would someone I work with be devastated by the news? My boss was the person closest and really struggling. Her step-son had asked to go to that movie. She would not let him go (thank God). He knew kids who had been there. Her husband is a school teacher in that town and by late afternoon had called and told her that one of their friends’ son was “missing.” She came and sat down by my desk and cried. We cried together. I am grateful that I could be there for her – despite recent events.
By last night the media coverage had gone over the edge into excess and sensationalism. By last night, there were people discussing gun control, opportunistically jumping on the train of grief and riding it for all it was worth. There were people spewing hatred at the man who did this, talking heads with PhD or MD after their names who are, for some reason, willing to go on television and diagnose someone they have never seen. And honestly, the phrase “senseless violence” seems to me to be utterly ridiculous . When is violence sensible?
Are we all so dim-witted that we must make everything “make sense?” It does not make sense. All the talk about guns, the talk about “crazy people,” and blaming parents for letting their kids go out at midnight won’t make it make sense. Of course, this is how we deal with frightening things – we separate ourselves. It can’t happen to us because we would never be so stupid as to go to a midnight movie or let our kids go… etc. And if we blame the guns, then it is simply an issue of getting rid of every gun in the US. A comment on a local news story said “We need to identify and isolate all the insane people.” Wow.
I have worked in mental health for the last 20 years, so I first thought “why is mental health the first thing that gets cut when there is a budget problem?” But I can’t get much mileage out of that since it sounds like the guy appeared to be pretty functional. Very intelligent. Quite capable of complex planning, and that is not something that a very mentally ill person can do.
My boss came to me and cried when she saw a picture of the man – she said “he looks normal!” I told her that based on the one picture I saw, if one of my daughters brought him home, I would ask him to stay for dinner. That’s very disconcerting. He needs to look “crazy,” or “evil.”
Anyway, for me, it comes down to: what can I do to make my little part of the world a better place? I can listen to people who are suffering – no matter who they are. I can put a smile on my face and try to treat everyone with all the love that God has requested of me. I can pray for those suffering.
For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him. — Romans 12:3