The largest mass shooting in U.S. history took place last night at a gay club in Orlando, Florida. The obvious question “why?” is being asked. There is speculation that the shooter was connected to ISIS, that social media might have driven the attack. At this point no one really knows.
I just can’t understand what could motivate a human being to walk into a club and begin shooting, killing and injuring people, causing hysteria and abject terror and fear. What turns a person into a monster? Because only a monster could commit an act as savage and brutal as what took place in that club. How can any person be brainwashed, convinced, taught, coerced, justified into picking up a gun and aiming it at a group of strangers and begin firing? How does that happen? How does a psyche become so twisted, so detached from any shred of human decency and compassion?
I understand how children are made to hate. How parents teach their children bigotry and prejudice, oftentimes citing the Bible, using religion to justify hate. It’s a sad and twisted reality, the love of God warping people into fearful bigoted souls who can’t see beyond their narrow religious views. But to be able to walk into a club and take aim and begin shooting, mowing down people, killing with purposeful intent, that is something I simply can’t understand. How have we fostered a climate of such hate and fear?
The interesting thing is – we’re not number one. Norway has the most mass shooting deaths per capita of any nation – a mass shooting being defined as four or more people killed in a public place, and not in the course of committing another crime, and not involving struggles over sovereignty, but the U.S. has had more mass shootings in terms of raw numbers, and we do rank first in gun ownership per capita than any other country. Statistics are interesting, but statistics can’t answer the question I want the answer to. I just want to know how any human being who has ever felt just a modicum of love, or joy, happiness, any feeling of empathy or compassion, could possibly, under any circumstance, walk into a bar, a club, a school, wherever, and take aim at people and begin to kill. How does a human turn into something so cruel and empty, so devoid of humanness?
I suppose the shooters in these horrific instances see their victims as the enemy, and they see themselves as soldiers going to battle to kill the enemy. I can’t think of any other explanation, so the question is, how do we eliminate this warped and twisted ideology from taking place? Is their any way to get through to souls so willing to conform to a mentality of war? Will we ever be able to stop the hate?
I pray we can.