Still More Mass Murder

Fourteen high-profile murders are in the news. Four died at a Waffle House in Nashville, 10 were killed on Yonge Street in Toronto. The accused killers have been caught. I put links to BBC News and Wikipedia pages about the murders at the end of this post.1

I’ll mostly be saying why I think murder is a bad idea, and how I see being human and making sense — or not, in some cases.

I’m not personally involved in the incidents. Living in central Minnesota, far from either city, staying calm about what happened is comparatively easy.

“Calm” isn’t “apathetic.” I think there’s wisdom in this advice:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
(Romans 12:15)

These deaths left a great many folks missing family and friends. I trust and hope they will get the support and well-expressed sympathy they need.

Human Life Matters

Murder is a bad idea. Folks with a remarkable number of different views agree on that, although what’s seen as “murder” has varied quite a bit over the millennia.

I’m a Christian and a Catholic, so I see murder as deliberately killing an innocent human being. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2261)

It’s wrong because human life is sacred, a gift from God. Each of our lives matters. Age or health isn’t a factor. Being human is. (Catechism, 2258, 22682283)

Feeling that someone who commits murder is still human isn’t easy, at least for me. But easy or not: I’m obliged to remember that we’re all human; no matter who we are, where we live, or how we act. (Catechism, 360, 17001706, 19321933, 1935)

Responses, Assumptions

News from Toronto, bad as it is, could be worse. Despite the incident being yet another van crime, I’ve yet to hear someone demanding tighter van laws.

One politico even said being calm was a good idea. I think that, and how folks responded to similar crimes in England last year, is good news.

Maybe Western civilization hasn’t gone completely bonkers. (June 25, 2017; June 4, 2017)

The Nashville and Toronto mass murders almost certainly aren’t connected. That’d make an entertaining — sort of — conspiracy theory, and that’s another topic. (August 11, 2017; July 21, 2017)

But the murders have some common elements. Both were committed in North America, by someone in the male 18-34 demographic. Both suspects probably have mostly-European ancestry.

Canadian and American culture and politics being what they are, I don’t think we’ll be discussing the wisdom of locking up all 18-24 Euro-American and Euro-Canadian men. Or at least requiring that these walking time bombs carry their identification papers.

I don’t think that’d make sense, but I’ve been one of “them.” By some wacky standards, that might make me a fellow-conspirator. I don’t miss the bygone days when political correctness was in bloom. Or McCarthyism.

Ideas

Folks had, and have acted on, crazy ideas long before the 20th century.

I see the Thirty Years War as northern European bosses wanting a piece of southern Europe’s wealth. Mostly.

Maybe some really believed their religion-themed propaganda. That, and embarrassments like the Popish Plot, arguably inspired the Enlightenment.

Attitudes like “Sapere aude”/”dare to know” seem reasonable. The Cult of Reason’s toga parties, not so much. (March 9, 2018; August 20, 2017; June 25, 2017)

Imagining a perfect world, filled with the light of reason and warmth of love, can be nice. As an occasional intellectual treat.

As mental junk food goes, it may be better than snarfing down six-packs of doom, gloom, Malthus and Yeats. Or adopting fashionable melancholy, which sounds more sophisticated. (August 11, 2017; October 22, 2017)

Blame

The criminologist in Monty Python’s ‘Piranha Brothers’ skit was, happily, fictional. So was his madcap parody of sadly-real attitudes. (March 19, 2018)

We didn’t stay in the 1960s. Most of us didn’t, anyway. Trendy slogans like “victim of society” became dated, occasionally resurfacing as corny comedy relief.

Some of today’s experts aren’t any more reasonable than their wacky predecessors. But quite a few are promoting different ideas. I get the impression that decriminalization is out and the blame game is in.

That’s an extreme oversimplification. And nothing new. McCarthyism had communists, political correctness had oppressors. What’s changed is who’s being blamed. Or what. (November 19, 2017; November 15, 2017)

It’s early days, but I suspect we’ll learn that the person accused of killing folks in Toronto had psychiatric issues. The Nashville suspect almost certainly did.

I think that should be considered during their trials. But I don’t think crazy people are a threat to us all. I’ll admit to a bias. I deal with an autism spectrum disorder, PTSD and depression. (March 19, 2017)

Acting Like Love Matters

I don’t indulge in daydreaming about a utopian world where we’ve solved all our problems. Not much, anyway, now that I’ve passed my early teens.

I certainly don’t think today’s world is ideal, or that we ever had a Golden Age.

I was dissatisfied with the status quo in the ’60s, and still am. I thought we could do better then, and still do. Changing the world, or even my country, is beyond my power. I don’t mind a bit. Having that much responsibility would be scary.

We’ll probably need to change laws, sooner or later. That’s an ongoing process, since how we live keeps changing.

We may need to change how we deal with folks who won’t or can’t follow rules. That’s a can of worms I’ll re-open another day.

The sort of murder that’s in the news is already illegal in both Canada and the United States. Making it ‘more illegal’ might seem appealing, but it may not be a good idea.

I think both murders happened because two people decided that killing others made sense. Or felt good. Some folks might feel that way no matter how the rest of us act.

But we can, I think, start acting as if we believe loving our neighbors is a good idea. Doing so might encourage more thought, less anger; and maybe more mutual respect.

I’ve talked about that sort of thing before:


1 Mass murders, recent and otherwise:

About Brian H. Gill

I'm a sixty-something married guy with six kids, four surviving, in a small central Minnesota town. I mostly write and make digital art. I'm only interested in three things: that which exists within the universe; that which exists beyond; and that which might exist.
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3 Responses to Still More Mass Murder

  1. For some reason, I’ve been more into reading posts like this in your blog lately. Must be because of how it feels immediate despite my physical distance from it, or perhaps it’s because of the fact that I have relatives in America and Canada. Well, that, and/or the Internet reminds me about how Westernized our society is, for better or for worse. And being Filipino has me remembering how Roman Catholicism came along with Spanish colonization, along with how democracy came along with American colonization, and hey, those topics can even be reasons for murderous intent and, at the very least, verbal murder here in my country and/or by my fellow Filipinos. And verbal violence still and always hurts, along with being really easy to fall into, no matter the target. Not like it can’t be stopped, though, of course.

Thanks for taking time to comment!