A crisis stops us. Sudden loss, sadness, inability to process facts, sense of helplessness, loss of control can be overwhelming. Yet in these moments, we learn. Truths surface helping us manage the moment and recover from it. The Texas shooting tragedy should teach us – treasure life.
Here we are, again watching a young, mentally deranged person, indifferent to life, lost in society’s growing incoherence and alienation – suddenly taking innocent lives, children, loving teachers. The event is inconsistent with civil society, jarring. Hearing about it – we must process it.
How do we make sense of such horror? How do we square it with faith, hope, God’s mercy? How do we put what is inconceivable into some context? What is the context? While we console the inconsolable, provide love for the devastated, and pray for those taken, how do we stop this evil?
Step one is understanding what we regularly minimize – evil exists. Good confronts evil daily, battle never ends. Evil filled the shooter’s vacant heart. We see evil too in slaughter across Ukraine, tortures in Afghanistan and China, international terrorism, silencing of conscience.
Many want to cast evil in our world as the outlier, push it onto an inanimate object – guns – or see it as something other than what it is. Truth is: Mass shootings reflect a society morally fraying.
Did you dare say morally? Yes. What are you implying? Who are you blaming? From what are you deflecting? I am blaming evil itself, raising the idea that society is not just losing unity, cohesion, and coherence, but losing moral compass – appreciation for what makes us whole.
Without moral compass, we wither – individually and as a society. Call it what you like – deprioritizing The Good, trading self-reliance for dependence, swapping self-examination for judgment, replacing concern with condemnation, devaluing moral fiber for moral relativism. Call it whatever you like, maybe political polarization, systemic disunity, or spiritual warfare.
That last, by the way, may be best. Einstein considered the invisible world far more powerful than the visible, reminded humanity that “only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.” If you choose not to see the fraying, you are already one step behind, handicapped finding solutions.
Second step? Once we see evil – we must confront it. Ironically, that is easier on a physical battlefield than spiritual one. Open battlefield foes wear “bad guy” uniforms – not so in society.
So, how do we confront what seems to be tearing us apart? How do we join battle against these destructive forces within that alienate us from each other, misguide youth, drive escapism, indifference, overdoses, suicides, psychological drift, group hate, lost dreams, and mass violence?
The answer is – we must own what we resist owning, admit what we do not want to admit. We must stop thinking of life as a list of “talking points” or “issues,” and stop trying to fix fellow citizen with yet another government program. We must stop reviling and blaming, start teaching.
Truth is, mounting societal stress is our own creation. We must stop the indulgence of anger, even if politically justified, pivot to teaching young Americans. Teaching what? How to live, that America is the best place on earth, and no accident. America comes from incalculable sacrifice.
What does this generation need? Probably what we all needed – perspective and hope, a sense of the possible, hint at achieving the impossible, trust from adults, freedom to fail and to recover.
They need help setting high expectations, knowing someone does expect something of them – something big and positive, requiring some effort and some heart, producing “the good life.”
They need less anger, less political swordplay. They need direction with some truth. What is that? Evil will come to ruin your life if you let it. Life is bumpy but works out if you try, are resilient.
Yes, of course, America has lots of guns. We have a constitutionally protected right to self-defense – including against government. Ninety-nine percent of Americans use guns wisely, own them legally, should never be forced to give them up. That talk is just more political deflection.
If someone wants to kill innocents, they can use any means. The central fact is that they are deranged. Indifference to human life is about our society. They have learned to de-value life.
That is the core it, right there. Our society is off track, allowing mental instability to replace moral compass. We are accelerating away from what made us strong, abandoning confidence in our past and each other, pushing nihilism, wokeness, language redefinition, social media, political hatred.
That is wrong. If nothing excuses evil, and nothing does, this is not about guns. It is far bigger. It is about society’s eroding mental, emotional, and spiritual health. We must work to stop this fraying of society, lean into moral education, teach about caring, and engage in spiritual warfare.
Great leaders know simple truths. A society “rights itself” when those within it hold tight to moral compass – and then teach it. Avoiding senseless tragedies starts with teaching the value of human life. From there, everything improves. This would be a good time to start … treasuring life.