Alas, Babylon

What is wrong with the world, and many of the people in it?  Forty-nine people dead and fifty-three grievously wounded, and we’re already retreating to our armed camps and having the same tired, feckless arguments about why it happened. Our leaders don’t lead, our statesmen are idiots and fools, and the bodies pile up.

I have an opinion, of course.  I’m not going to share it with you.  It doesn’t matter what it is, anyway – no one on this side of Eternity is listening.  There is plenty of talking, though, and no shortage of solutions – the problem is that most of them don’t have anything to do with solving the fundamental crisis we face.  And the bodies pile up.

What leads a man to kill and try to kill hundreds of his fellow humans? Was he just a sick, crazy individual with an inability to filter out the sick, crazy nonsense the world constantly provides? Was he a self-appointed representative of a death cult pretending to be a religion? Was he a self-loathing, conflicted zealot choosing a horrific way to commit suicide? Was he a narcissistic, selfish fool craving attention and his fifteen minutes of fame?  Was he all of these things, or something else?  Does it matter?  He’s dead, and my only regret about that is that it happened twelve hours too late. And the bodies pile up.

What motivates a government to ignore the safety of its people? What motivates a population to be so numb to its own best interest as to allow a government to be its master and not its servant? What leads an electorate to be so desperate for leadership that they willingly substitute buffoonery for vision, or lies for truth? Have centuries of conflict, oppression, and the inconceivable sacrifice of people better than us, freely given to secure our liberty, taught us nothing? Perhaps we should ask the Greeks, the Romans, the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge, the North Vietnamese, or the North Koreans what our future holds.  And the bodies pile up.

There is no single, simple reason for the atrocity in Florida. The tools the killer used to cause inconceivable destruction are not at fault. Tools bend to the will of the tool user; the blame lies with the hands and heart that wield the tools. And with the institutions that create the will to wield them.  And with the institutions who have the power but not the will to intervene.  And with the people who refuse to insist their institutions serve their best interests, and who refuse to take personal responsibility for the world we live in.

And the bodies pile up.

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