[In] The Face of Evil…?

The first thing I heard about this morning was the gun shooting that happened in Aurora, Colorado during the late night showings of the Dark Knight Rises. As I came out of the bathroom to begin my morning routine, one of my roommates began to tell me what happened. Apparently a man wearing a gas mask and dressed in black came into the front of a theater in the Century 16 Theater via a side door. With a calm and collected demeanor, the man threw 2 gas cans down the aisles of the theater. Finally, he began to open fire on the audience.

When I first heard the news I was obviously saddened; especially for the victims, and their families and friends. I am deeply troubled for all those impacted by this horrific event. And at the same time, I thought “I am not surprised;” as callous as that may sound. Ever since the Columbine shooting happened when I was in 6th grade (and every shooting after), I guess I’ve come to see them as a tragic part of human nature.

Since this morning I have gone on to read the news. Naturally, I followed up each article by reading comments posted on the news. Honestly, reading the public’s reaction is probably what troubles me the most. I have been quite shocked by the hateful and violent comments I have read directed toward the suspected gunman and/or the gun industry.

Frankly, it’s moments like these that bring the worst out in all of us. 

Here are some types of comments that I have come across on the web regarding the shooting:

  1. “Here is what the face of evil looks like…”
  2. “Thank you NRA and our corrupt politicians for more bloodshed. If only these people had a soul.”
  3. Another one I read, which I shall paraphrase, essentially wished that the shooter be raped in prison. (This was probably the most disturbing of the comments I’ve read).
  4. And several other comments I read began to turn their animosity from the shooter toward each other because of their differing views on gun safety. So, not only are we attacking the shooter, but WE ARE ATTACKING EACH OTHER!

If there were only a handful of comments like these out there, then the situation may be less disturbing to me. But the fact that it appears there are more comments like these than positive or peaceful comments is extremely disturbing. No doubt, the shooter deserves to be tried and punished for his crimes. But we don’t need to add depravity on top of depravity to establish Justice.

Furthermore, I am surprised at the lack of compassion that is being shown toward the shooter. How was he raised? What kind of parents did he have? Was he abused? How has he suffered? What pain did he go through to push him to this? By no means am I going to say it’s okay for what he did! But his offenses, as heinous as they may be, give me no right to dehumanize him.

Lastly, what does it say about our society which believes in the inalienable rights of humans and yet is quick to consume injustice with more injustice?

And in my best behavior 
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floor boards 
For the secrets I have hid
Sufjan Stevens

I need to look no further than in the mirror to see another person capable of equal or worse harm than the Century 16 Gunman.

I cannot comment on what is the underlying reason for the gunman’s motivations to open fire on an innocent crowd. But one thing is for sure: as long as we continue to respond with haste, and the same mentality as a witch burning mob, in circumstances like these, we have no hope of eliminating violence, hate, and all forms of heinous behavior in our society.

3 thoughts on “[In] The Face of Evil…?

  1. The depravity of society will always remain, we will always be quick to judge others without looking at the depths of our own troubles. But in saying that there is no compassion you can show to cold blood killers. My response to him would be – if you think the world suck, people are evil, those are you musings, but in killing innocent people it is only perpetuating the problem not solving anything.

    • You are right to say that people who kill innocent people are part of the problem. But my point is that we are all part of the problem. Because of that I disagree with you that we can’t show compassion to cold blooded killers. Certainly we need to be firm with them and they must face the consequences of their actions. But they are still human, deserving to be treated as individuals with inalienable rights.

      If this were not so, then why have due process or Miranda rights? Or why should we assume that people are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. I am not saying we should forgo justice but I am saying that the problem our society has goes deeper than mere checks and balances of obedience to our nation’s laws. There is a fundamental attitude that needs to change and be developed in all of us. I am merely suggesting that by recognizing our own failures and need for help, we will be less quick to act and speak violently toward each other.

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