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.
“Calm” isn’t “apathetic.” I think there’s wisdom in this advice:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
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.
I’m a Christian and a Catholic, so I see murder as deliberately killing an innocent human being. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2261)
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, 1700–1706, 1932–1933, 1935)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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:
- “Mass Murder: No Fast Fix”
(February 18, 2018)
- “Changing Rules”
(February 4, 2018)
- “More Mass Murder”
(January 25, 2018)
- “California Murders, and Remembering”
(November 15, 2017)
- “Who is My Neighbor?”
(February 5, 2017)
- “Toronto van attack: Alek Minassian charged with 10 counts of murder”
BBC News (April 24, 2018)
- “Suspected Waffle House gunman arrested in woods in Nashville”
BBC News (April 23, 2018)