I think it is a mistake to reduce this repeated public health/safety issue to EVIL. It is not pure evil. What is evil? A classic definition is that it is the absence of what is good, from Aquinas. So, in that sense there is evil in this equation. Our public policy does not support the mentally ill, does not address the issue of domestic violence AND provides easy/legal access to firearms. This means we have created a culture that allows these shootings.
EVIL is not a force out of nowhere, a big bad devil. It is when there is a good--civic life and even perhaps the right to own guns--that is flawed. The shooters are wrong, they are criminal, they are mentally ill, they are domestic abusers, or all of the above. But the shooter is not evil, the culture that has given him access to guns is.
Don't call the shooter's acts evil. If you do, it means that there is NOTHING that can be done to prevent this symptom of evil (a lack of public policy regarding mental health/domestic violence/guns). This is not true. If the society cannot see this, they lack insight--a technical psychological term. It means you are not able to know that you are sick, as in the case of schizophrenia.
I don't know the way out of this conundrum. Except to teach my kids that access to mental health care and health care are essential, that domestic abuse is unacceptable, and that access to firearms should be regulated as part of our national security.
There is no pure evil. Pure evil is a slogan, an excuse, a smokescreen. It cripples us. It prevents insight.
If this populace believes that the 2nd amendment teaches unrestrained access to guns, then I am going to teach my kids that they are more powerful than guns. I will raise the next generation to think politically about what is best for our citizenship. Who is with me to develop lesson plans for kids regarding gun control? #education#lifelonglearner#longview
Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat—
the one you never really liked—will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours. Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied
the refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up—drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs half way down. But there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice—one white, one black—scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.
Stephen Paddock is a
victim. I don’t believe in evil. I don’t believe in some cosmic force of
corruption. If we accept that the devil exists, then we are deluded into
innocence. We can write off our complicity in harm by saying that it is caused
by a force outside of us. We can defend ourselves, but ultimately suffering is
the only noble response to harm. The shooter did not commit an act of pure
evil. There is no such thing. Pure evil would be an unstoppable force. Instead,
what he committed was preventable. That is why it is a tragedy. I consider
Stephen Paddock a victim. No human should be given access to instruments of
mass destruction. Humans will use them. We are broken and sick at times. We
live in a culture of consumption and isolation. We are weak. We reach for
power. We want to act with the clarity of decision instead of suffering the
world’s cold shoulder. Stephen Paddock is a victim. We are all victims of a gun