I must admit—I am stymied.
How could such a thing happen? How could somebody be so completely insane to have committed such a treacherous, deliberate, premeditated, totally horrendous act against innocent people?
And what does this mean for our world as we’ve known it?
First we have those two terrible, very recent shooting sprees in Toronto—one in the mall and the other at a community barbeque—and now this inexplicably crazy act in Colorado. It’s mind-boggling.
As a very experienced therapist, I’ve pretty much seen it all—or so I thought until now. Now? I don’t get it at all and I don’t know how to explain it to myself, much less to anyone else.
One of the most spiritually troubling parts of this for me personally is that I can’t seem to find my compassion for the man who snuck into that theater, armed to the hilt, as he proceeded to shoot, kill, and injure dozens of innocent children and adults. Most of the time, I can understand the depth of hurt and woundedness that underlies this kind of behavior. But this time, I simply can’t find that empathy. I don’t like that in myself, but that is my truth as I write this. Perhaps this will change over time, and perhaps it won’t.
This man went to astonishingly great lengths to plan his abominable attack. Not only did he purchase his guns (all legal—but that’s another story), his ammunition and gas mask, and all of his other outrageous paraphernalia, but he also gave himself up to police far too easily—wanting to be caught, it seems, so that we would all know who he is. Who does that?
It’s so vicious—so victimizing—to trap hundreds of people in a movie theater, submit them to canisters of potentially lethal gas, and then to deliberately shoot them as they try to flee. Some of his bullets even went through the wall of the adjacent theater, injuring people there.
Who does that? What explanation could there possibly be? Will the fact that he’s crazy be enough for us?
I listened last night to news shows where several show business people—as well as a particularly annoying therapist—said that even though our media inundates us with violent images day and night, there is ‘no proof’ that this is what caused yesterday’s mass shooting in Colorado. No proof?? Are you kidding me? Was it a coincidence that this guy deliberately chose that exceptionally violent movie in which to become totally unglued? What more proof could we possibly need?
Along with millions of other people, I’m now wondering what finally needs to be done to get guns out of the hands of malicious, hateful, dangerous people. Do you feel as scared about this as I do now, in the light of day? Who will be the next crazy to pull something like this on innocent, unsuspecting people? And when that happens, where will you and I be? Where will our loved ones be?
So although I’m concerned about not being able to feel any compassion at all for this guy at this moment, I’m far more worried that we, as a society, will still not feel it’s time to wake up and demand more from both our elected officials and the beyond-filthy-rich Hollywood moguls that fund and produce this violent junk—because what I know to be true is that if nothing changes, nothing changes.
And it seems to me that when it comes to gun possession, mass shootings, and the over-abundance of violence that is condoned in our society—nothing much is changing.