Friday, January 14, 2011

A Lone, Deranged Gunman

Isn't it always?

With the exception of a truly politically-based plot, it is always the solitary psychopath who does the dirty deed.

I mentioned some of them in a post a few days ago. Conspiracy theorists or not, Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone, deranged gunman. Even if he was put up to it, he was the one to do the deed because he was a lone, deranged gunman who could be manipulated.

Ditto- Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray.

Ditto- Ditto- Ditto-

An endless litany of the same thing. They are sick, deranged, crazed, irrational. It isn't about assault weapons, or maps with gunsights over congressional districts.

It is about a climate which can explode in violence in the sick, deranged mind of the lone gunman. It can be the voices he hears in his own head, or the way they are reinforced by voices from TV, radio, the Internet, or a cadre of people he hangs around.

It is the same climate which allows the Columbine killers to be brought to their murderous frenzy,the Red Lake killers, or Virginia Tech, or.....

No we will not eliminate such acts of violence. There will always be a Ted Kaczynski or Mark David Chapman. But we can step up to the plate and recognize that whenever we "demonize" our fellow human beings we are setting up a potential moment of violence. Whenever we feel that someone is lesser or worse or even bad because they disagree with us, we are fertilizing a deadly soil of hatred that cannot end anywhere but badly.

I don't want to pin the blame on Sarah Palin, the extreme Right or the extreme Left. I can only look inside myself and what I do on a daily basis and see the many ways I contribute to the mayhem without even knowing it. I can only change myself. The only way I can contribute fully to a better and more peaceful society is in how I treat myself and others. I know this can sound like a lot of Pollyanna-ish BS. But to believe anything else is to give in to the hopelessness that spawns such acts of violence.

I don't think I am done with all this pondering about this situation yet. More and more keeps rambling through this pacifist-brain. All I know is that I am more convinced than ever- even more so than when my own generation was being called to war in Vietnam- that violence can only produce violence. Hatred only hatred. Prejudice only prejudice. And all contribute to resentments, the poison that keeps on killing and killing.

Maybe we should all post this prayer in prominent places in our homes, offices-

and hearts.

The Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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