This morning, Americans awoke to news that has echoed around the world. An armed gunman marched into a Colorado movie theatre during a midnight showing of "The Dark Night Rises" and fired into the spectators, killing at least twelve people and injuring at least fifty more. The news is horrific, and everyone--from politicians to the media to ordinary citizens--is expressing shock. When I checked Facebook this morning, friends from as far away as Australia and Europe were sending prayers to those affected.
When such a tragedy occurs, it is natural for us to theorize about why such things happen. We want to find a reason for an act that is so senseless, but no reasonable answer can be found in so terrible an act. We want an answer because this senseless violence makes us fearful for our own safety. How many of those people in that theatre imagined they would die while attending a movie? The very thought reminds us of the fragility of our own lives.
When we ask why, we have to acknowledge that violence surrounds us in the world. War engulf large parts of the globe. Violence in our streets has taken the lives of many innocents, and as a society, we have become less tolerant, more violent, and angrier as each year passes. We care less about others' feelings and well-being, worrying only about our own needs, feelings, and opinions. Drivers scream at other motorists. Politicians snipe and cast blame but don't work together. Common citizens insult each other on the Internet--on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Very few debates take place with respect. We're all too busy attacking each other's morals or opinions to listen to anyone's point. We don't think we can or should respect anyone who isn't our carbon copy. Our collective mantra is, "I'm right, and you don't matter. You are only something to be crushed or shot down."
Remember a few years ago when rabid Walmart customers trampled a guard at Christmastime in their quest to be first in the store? Their goal: collect some lame gifts and beat the other shoppers to it. Why are we so shocked about Colorado? It's typical of what we as human beings are becoming. Our collective mantra: "I'm pissed, I don't like you, and I don't care if you're hurt!"