The Lights of Aurora

Everyone expected a night of fun, not a massacre. Smoke bombs went off. A gunman stalked victims in the aisles, killing at least 12 people, including a 3-year-old. Witnesses said blood was everywhere.

The surprise, as well as the magnitude of the mass shooting, was enough to trigger post-traumatic stress symptoms in those who were vulnerable, said Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, psychiatrist in chief at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center and director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. (here)

I attended the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises last night and returned home to hear reports about a shooting in Colorado. Due to the intervening time devoted to sleep and work, I have been unable to express my sympathies. I have, however, been able to watch the drama unfolding on Twitter and Facebook and to that, my forced silence, I am most grateful as it has given me time to consider my own thoughts.

To my friends who will always be home in Colorado, given the fires and now this, my warmest thoughts are with you. If something like this had happened here and me so very far away, I would be miserable with grief.

To the others – who have blamed the Tea Party, the NRA, society, guns – let us not seek to cast blame just yet. Let us instead issue calls for compassion and consideration. The man was mentally ill. How else would you explain the premeditated murder? Had he not had access to a gun, would this not have happened? Not sure, really. We humans have managed to kill ourselves in large numbers before the advent of guns. No need to cast blame upon the tools of the act. This is no more the fault of the gun than it is the fault of God for those who do murder and injustice in His name.

But, with that said, let us also not forget that while we have lost more than ten people in one incident,  every day nearly 85 people are murdered with the tool being a gun. Considering that citizens of the United States own 90 guns for every 100 citizens, we should be so lucky as to not have more. But, more than that. Remember, we have and always will find a way to murder those around us.

But, for those that have no such impulse, for those instead with the impulse to help and to heal, let us be there now to stand in the gap, to give a full measure of our moral foundation. Perhaps it is Christian, perhaps agnostic, but we humans share something that no other species does – humanity. It is our very connecting tissue, to each other, to the cosmos, to God. Instead of casting blame, let us instead find the humanity in the situation, to realize that we must use this chaotic entropy to effect a better hope for security, for change, and to progress. Until then, let us not cast blame, but pray for the victims, that their spirits may be at rest in the Great Day of the Soul; that those left behind will mourn rightly and justly but not so much as to become a victim themselves of the crime; and to pray for the murder and his family.

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