Once again violence strikes the innocent. Weapons of war, purchased easily in almost any community, slaughter our neighbors—innocent people harming no one. In this case M-15s, which are the civilian version of the rifles we used in Vietnam, were the weapons of choice for those whose hearts run black with hatred. A few weeks ago, the motive was the hot rhetoric of those who oppose abortion that fueled carnage at Planned Parenthood. Before that, a disgruntled student visited the horrors of war on those simply attending school. And before that…Sandy Hook; children robbed of not only their innocence, but of their very lives. There are always reasons why hate, prejudice, and impassioned beliefs justify murder.
We live in a time when the innocent pay the price for humanity’s fall into a love affair with Thanatos. Men and women striving to build a peaceful world are shoved aside while those who use high-tech, low-tech merchants of death to capture the public’s imagination and fuel war lust amongst leaders, foot soldiers and frightened civilians alike. Special ops, politics by beheading, death delivered out of the sky by unseen drones, and the terror bombing of hospitals and field clinics mostly by Russians stun a world into impotent silence. Within the first weeks of Putin’s intervention in Syria, four hospitals and over thirty medical field clinics were hit. He wanted to make sure that the injured, fighters and civilians alike would know the terror of not having medical services. But they are not alone in destroying hospitals. A Doctors Without Borders hospital is pulverized with a thirty-minute bombardment by the deadly wizard of a U.S. C-130 gunship that spits out death by thousands of rounds per minute.
ISIS slaughters civilians in France hoping to bait the West into sending ground troops into Syria and Iraq so their perverted End of Days battle between their sick, mutilated religious perversion and modernality can become a reality. And, like a script from a bad movie, the West and Russia take the bait. More American troops, ground troops are being committed. Iraqi leaders of the largest Shiite militias declare they will turn their guns upon those American troops. Russia increases its terror bombings on Syria’s president Assad’s opposition. Bashar al Assad, the man responsible for over eighty-five percent of the two hundred fifty thousand deaths of his fellow countrymen, is pleased. Germany orders troops in. Britain commits to war. The God of Death smirks.
Back home, we wait for the motive of the sick individuals who find their faith in the pain and death of those whose job it is to help heal afflicted children. However, they didn’t have to go to the trouble to try and smuggle weapons of war into their community. They simply need visit any gun shop throughout the land to secure Satan’s instruments.
Using the definition of four or more people injured or killed by a gunman, a New York Times article found that there is a mass shooting daily in America. Daily! 462 Americans have been killed so far this year, and 1,314 wounded. Another study, using the definition of four or more people killed, found a mass shooting occurs weekly.
In a few weeks, we celebrate a man, some say the Son of God, who preached a nonviolent, all embracing love. He was a humble man who asked that we turn our cheeks when we are struck, a uniquely moral man who forgave his torturers and killers while dying on the cross. Buddhists strive to live non-violent lives. Jews work hard at living righteously in the spirit of the Torah. Muslims work hard to overcome the hate that is spewed in the name of their religion. We must not allow evil men whose hearts are full of hate and violence win by turning us against one another.
We cannot point fingers and claim the moral higher ground by degrading those who are somehow different than us. There is no greater insult to ISIS, and men who view women as less than themselves, those who use religion and nationality to foster hate, than to embrace our respect and love for one another. To hold dearly to our ideals and spiritual values that embrace life, honor the communality of all of us and reject the worship of Death. It won’t be easy. It isn’t easy. What is easy is to respond with violence and hatred. Emotions engrained in us ever since the time we roamed the planet in packs of hunter-gatherers. To unleash the savage beast that lies just beneath our spiritual values is to insure that yet more innocent blood is shed; that children will wail at the deaths of their parents, and scream from the pain inflicted on their tiny bodies by weapons of war. If we do, we condemn ourselves as a race to an increasingly barbaric world, one ruled by the gun and full of pain till the day comes when, by mistake, a simple miscalculation, or by design, nuclear holocaust becomes Humankind’s fate.