It’s been almost two weeks since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. As usual after these events, there’s non-stop news coverage, shock and sadness expressed by the victims, thoughts and prayers given, and then the inevitable debate on gun control. Should there be stricter gun laws or should there be more focus on mental illness? But I think there’s a missing element that doesn’t get discussed as much. It’s the element of “why people do violent things in society”.
Think about it. None of these mass shooters you’ve ever seen in the news just woke up one day and decided, “I’m going to go shoot a bunch of people today”. It took a lifetime of many people not caring about them or their pain. And because very few people if any at all cared, they stopped caring about other people and their pain.
Violence in our society, whether it’s mass shootings, homicides, assaults, etc… is not just the fault of some evilness in an individual. It’s also the fault of our society for not taking enough responsibility for helping people who are hurt, in pain, and dealing with it alone. Blaming an individual’s evilness can at times seem like just a nice scapegoat for people to not feel any guilt. Evil or not, these were still humans who had feelings, unmet desires, and no one to hug them enough and tell them they’re not alone. To listen to what it is that’s bothering them so much, or what kind of bad thoughts they have sometimes, and to show them that there are other ways to deal with that pain they feel.
I think about Acts 2:44-46 and the first Christian converts. “44 And all those who had believed [ar]were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread [as]from house to house, they were taking their [at]meals together with gladness and [au]sincerity of heart,”
A beautiful thing we see here, the level of communal love and support for one another. I hope we as Christians can strive for that level of love and support for those we see and can tell are hurt and in pain in our society. It may help prevent the next violent event from happening.
Peace to you all in Christ.