Monthly Archives: April 2014

We Have Only Ourselves to Blame

A few days ago, not far from where I live, a teenager took two large knives to school and slashed his way through the halls, hurting more than 20 people. Some severely.
As is expected with these types of incidents, there has been speculation about everything from how students and administrators reacted to what this boy had for breakfast that morning. Yesterday, there was local debate because one of the victims took a selfie of himself in the emergency room and posted it online.
Yet in all the ways this incident is like others we’ve experienced, it’s also very different. First and foremost, there were no guns. So, we’re currently unable to divert the horror of what happened into a crusade for protective laws that have no chance of protecting anyone at all. Second, no one in this incident has been called home to the Heavenly Father. For that we can only be thankful. As the story unravels in days to come, that will most certainly make for interesting perspective. It also leaves us with a group of teenagers who will struggle with emotional and physical trauma for the rest of their lives.
Again, we are left with that unanswerable “why?”
I think perhaps it’s time we all man up and start taking some responsibility for what our society has become. You’ve heard it before. We have built a culture of death.
It’s really not about guns or weapons, although we do assign them a role of sorts. It’s about attitude toward life. It starts simple – we ignore those around us because we’re too busy doing whatever it is that fills our days. We pretend tragedy and need are no longer part of our world. We vilify and debase anyone who disagrees with us. We take solace in television and movies where writers and directors attempt to outdo one another in dehumanizing shock value (Dexter, anyone? How about The Millers? Or maybe the American Music Awards?). We zone out to mysoganistic music while we rape and pillage through video games. We manage our sexual immorality using abortion as birth control, and justify it by calling it women’s health care. We support the pornography industry, not because of titilation, but because its so vast that stopping it would cost thousands their jobs. Of course.
We continually euphamize our destructive habits so we don’t have to do the hard work of fighting them. We call them harmless, we tell people to lighten up. And yet we’ve created an entire culture with no respect for the dignity of the human person. It’s kill or be killed out there. Truly, nowhere is safe. This is the sacrifice we pay for teaching ourselves not to feel.
Of course there will always be vice. It’s been with us for centuries. But when we lay down our arms against it, welcome it directly into our homes and let the minds of our young obsess over it, we have lost the war. Love, charity, peace – the things we claim to be about – disappear.
And a 16 year old boy thinks the only answer to the angst of adolescence is to inflict pain and suffering on his classmates, teachers, neighbors and community. Because that’s what we’ve taught him.