The tragic slaying of six people—a nine year old
girl among them—and the wounding of nine others by an
apparently deranged young man is a human tragedy of the
first order, but the politicization of it by
commentators across the political spectrum is a tragic
indicator of a society in an advanced state of spiritual
decline. The human response to such tragedy is to
express one’s sympathy to the families of those slain,
to pray for their souls and to maintain a decent
interval of decorous mourning during the most acute
period of the suffering of the families. Tragically,
this level of human decency has not been observed,
almost certainly increasing the suffering of those whose
loved ones have been lost.
To make matters worse, the ex
tempore discourse of many can only exacerbate the
societal tensions glaringly revealed by such indecorous
behavior, highlighting the already horrific degree of
narcissism apparent in a society that looks not to the
spiritual vacuum that can produce such am event but
rather focuses its attention on particular political
agendas that the facts indicate are tangential to the
root cause: a spiritual vacuity on the part of the
slayer that should send chills down the collective spine
of a society in which such a horror can take place.
Photos of the bizarre, voodoo-esque
“shrine” set up by the slayer in the back yard of his
parents’ home clearly point to an aberrance that should
be abhorrent to any society that presumes to call
itself “civilized,” yet few of the most vocal
commentators look to this glaringly obvious fact
as an issue that each and every family must contemplate
in its effort to make sense of the senseless. Instead,
the “discourse” focuses on political affiliations, on
the slayer’s preferred reading matter, on laws related
to firearms, on law enforcement deficiencies, on nearly
anything and everything but the root cause: the
diabolically distorted soul of the slayer.
When life is held cheap by a
society, it should come as no surprise that a
directionless and alienated young man lashes out against
the innocent in a senseless outburst of murderous
violence. While it may well be that this young man is
“mentally ill,” there is no doubt that he
suffered from terminal spiritual sickness well before he
fired the shots that took the lives of the innocent.
What, we must ask, could drive someone to hold human
life so meaningless as to take it with such impunity?
What dreadful spiritual state could inspire such evil?
What twisted use of “reason” could impel someone to
“make a statement” by slaughtering the innocent?
These questions are to a certain
extent rhetorical, because the answers lie outside the
realm of the “reasonable,” outside the realm of any
spiritual state save the diabolical, outside the realm
of a humankind concerned with the well-being of the
human community. The massacre perpetrated by this
dehumanized young man—himself very much in need of
prayer for his salvation—is inexplicable if the
spiritual is not taken into account.
A society that does not value any
and all human life is a society doomed—perhaps damned—to
suffer wanton and deranged tragedies such as that which
occurred in Arizona. A society that has relegated the
spiritual to a place beneath the political is a society
suffering the sickness unto death.
Let us pray for the afflicted and
the slain, let us pray for the sanctity of life, let us
pray for an end to the diabolical. Let us cease to
trivialize tragedy by focusing on the political and
secular woes that afflict us all and pray for an end to
such dreadful tragedy and for the triumph of the good as
taught to us all by Christ.