Jean and I lived less than two miles from Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado when that infamous shooting occurred. I was at work, and Jean was at a bus stop about two blocks away from the shooting. She saw personnel in fatigues with rifles running in a nearby field toward the school.
We live in Bailey now but were staying overnight at Jean’s parents’ place in Lakewood during, and about 12 miles or so from, the newly infamous Aurora shooting in the early minutes of last Friday, July 20, 2012.
Here are some random thoughts of mine on the Aurora tragedy:
1.) It takes only one person, for good or evil, to affect a nation.
2.) Citizens pull the strings of their elected representatives, not the other way around. The President moves to our citizens’ pain, as does the governor, the mayor, the members of Congress and the city officials–not the other way around. That’s why you saw President Obama, all of Colorado’s congressmen and many of our states elected officials in Aurora yesterday.
3.) “… the peace of God … passeth all understanding …” Phil. 4:7.
4.) “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21.
5.) Regardless of all of the hindsight-rhetoric of people now saying that we need to pay more attention to those close to us who may seem dangerously troubled, and report them, the police will generally not respond until shots have been fired or blood has been spilled. Besides, we do not need to expand citizen surveillance.
Mental illness should absolutely become a priority of medical staff and lawmakers of this nation–indeed of our world at large–given the proliferation of causes for mental illness within a world seemingly gone mad and seemingly with no long-vision concern for advances in technology and weaponry that increasingly and exponentially allow what Alvin Toffler, in 1970, called “Future Shock” and what I would now term a “present and sophisticated madness.”
What exactly is the character of “The Joker” in the Batman series but a sophisticated and intelligent madman hiding behind his mask–a self-assured, clownish smile? Our society, now more than ever, allows for such a fictional character to seem to step out from behind the theatre screen and into a very painful reality, as just happened at the Aurora Century 16.
6.) Violence is not a joke. There are those in our society who justify violence, like the Occupy Wall Street practitioners who act just as smugly (burn cars, businesses, property; and injure law enforcers) out of an amused sense that they are more sophisticated and intelligent than those who don’t agree with them politically, and that they don’t have time for pleading their case non-violently. Violence is not a joke, whether a democrat, republican, liberal or conservative or whatever.