The Common Cause Of Nearly Every Mass Shooting

Like everyone else, I was horrified by the recent murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. I didn’t know Adam personally, but many of my friends did. Though separated by a few years in school, we sat in the same classes—learning from the same teachers and cheering on the same Spartan football team. My pain is not the deep and lasting pain of Adam and Alison’s families; I can only imagine the magnitude of their loss. But it is always a shock when violence strikes so close to home, delivering such an unexpected blow to the community I know and love. It is a small, tight-knit community that has already been affected by senseless violence.

The storyline has become sickeningly familiar. I remember hearing about the Virginia Tech shootings while at work back in 2007. I rushed to my desk, pulled up Facebook, and tried to check in on my many friends currently attending that school. They all survived, thank God, but were deeply impacted by the tragic events of that day. Everyone in southwest Virginia remembers 4/16/07.

Eight years later, the attention of the world has once again turned to our region. This time I have to explain to my seven-year-old, home from his third day of school, why he wasn’t allowed to go outside during recess. It breaks my heart that he will grow up in a world so full of evil. It makes me long for a return to innocence—for a world where people go about their lives simply, content to enjoy God’s many blessings without the need to dominate and destroy. But at a certain point in our childhoods, we all lose our innocence. Humanity lost its after The Fall, and only through Jesus Christ are we redeemed.

After the Charleston shooting, I wrote this, though I never published it:

There will be much talk in the coming days and weeks about racism and guns and mental health. As with most mass shootings, the American public will be more eager to know why the perpetrator did the unthinkable—what childhood trauma stunted his moral development, what rejection fueled his rage—than to understand the lives of his nine innocent victims. People will rush to blame something, anything to give their anger and pain and despair a target more deserving than the weak, cowardly man we have been seeing on TV and social media. And then the story will fade. Those of us who can go on with our lives will: waiting for the next tragedy to strike, hoping that when it does our loved ones will not be counted among the injured and the dead. The cycle is depressing in its predictability.

It is only natural to seek answers, but our first priority should always be to remember the victims and comfort their families. I hope I will be forgiven for sharing a few of my thoughts, as writing is the only way I know to deal with this tragedy at this time. I write them not in the spirit of debate, but rather in the hope of unity and healing.

Over the past two decades, our country has been rocked by a succession of shootings that go beyond the typical motives of murder. They resemble acts of terrorism, though they are usually committed by isolated individuals with no real political agenda. People have always killed each other out of greed, vengeance, and personal animosity. We see this in the very first known murder, that of Abel by Cain. But we recognize something different at play in Columbine. Virginia Tech. Newtown. Aurora. Charleston. What is the common thread?

I do not believe these crimes are primarily about guns, racism, or mental health. All three of these factors can and do play a role, but they are not the primary drivers.

My theory is not based on any expertise in sociology or psychology, just simple faith and reason. But when I look at the perpetrators of these crimes, I see losers. I see weak, pathetic men who deeply desire respect, as all men do, but do not find it—not in women or society or the economy. They often lack even a crowd of fellow misfits to validate their frustrations. They want to be known. They want to matter. But their failure and insignificance weighs on them until it is transformed into rage. They blame society and others for their problems. Instead of turning to God and finding acceptance and purpose in His love, they are consumed by evil. They lose their ability to empathize, and thus become capable of anything.

Is evil a mental illness? I suppose that depends on how you define what it means to be mentally ill. But my intuition says we are dealing with separate problems. Evil resembles mental illness in that it defies reason; it makes no sense. Evil possesses no internal logic of its own, as it is but the negation of God and Truth: a convoluted web of lies and contradictions. The only thing evil knows how to do is destroy. It has no creative power. This is why the Nazis lost. This is why we so often see the perpetrators of evil take their own lives. The lie consumes them until they are no more. But they were lost long before their bodies died, as evil demands the sacrifice of one’s God-given individuality in exchange for false promises of power. The Devil drives a hard bargain.

The person who killed Adam and Alison claimed to have been motivated in part by the Charleston shooting. But yet he glorified the killers of Columbine and Virginia Tech in his “manifesto?” What strikes me the most about this crime is not the race of the killer or victims, but how it was staged to attract maximum publicity. The killer waited to commit the murders on the air. He went through the trouble of filming himself while committing the crime and then posted the footage while evading arrest. The killer likely hoped the fame of his crime would give his life the meaning and importance he had thus far failed to achieve. Technology has made it easier to kill innocent people and then gain international notoriety, but technology alone does not explain the sickness of human cruelty.

People will talk about guns and racism and mental health, but the primary problem is that of human evil. Let’s not make this another tragedy where we rush to politicize the causes and demonize entire groups of people. Instead, let’s celebrate the memories of the two brave young people whose lives were cut tragically short. Let’s reach out to their families and come together as a community. Let’s remember that in the end our only hope is in God, our only salvation is through His Son, and our only weapon against Hate is Love.

R.I.P. Alison Parker and Adam Ward

Advertisements

No Surprise Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts

Today another undercover video was released in which a Planned Parenthood doctor, Mary Gatter, casually discusses the sale of aborted baby parts, including the use of “less crunchy” techniques to extract “whole specimens.” This follows an earlier video of Deborah Nucatola describing how they can “crush” other areas to preserve prized organs for research. I must confess, I am not surprised. I am saddened and disturbed, but I am not shocked. To anyone who is, I have this question: “Well, what were you expecting?”

How would you imagine the people whose daily business is death to treat the “byproducts” of their “procedures?” Did you think that, after crushing their tiny bodies and suctioning them out of the womb, the staff would then stand around in a circle and say a little prayer? That the bodies of these children—babies with heads and hearts and lungs and legs—would be given something approximating a funeral, that they would be treated with any measure of respect? After all, doing so would expose the Big Lie of abortion: that unborn children are not human beings with dignity and worth.

I say this not to dismiss or criticize those who are shocked and surprised by these recent videos. It is good for you to be educated and outraged about the true nature of abortion. Perhaps you missed the other secretly recorded video where a Planned Parenthood representative facilitates the sex trafficking of immigrant children, or the phone call where another rep ensures a caller that his racist donation will only go to the abortion of black babies. Maybe you didn’t hear about “Doctor” Kermit Gosnell’s late-term abortion house of horrors in Philadelphia, where low-income minority women were injured and occasionally killed by his negligence and babies born alive were mercilessly slaughtered, some even kept as trophies. It’s not as if the mainstream media was eager to cover these stories, many of which I find even more disturbing. So you could be forgiven for not knowing about them.

But once you scratch the surface of the abortion industry in general and Planned Parenthood in particular, you discover something more than “choices,” “women’s rights,” “reproductive health,” and any of the other euphemisms they hide behind. You see the face of evil. And once you see it, it is not something you can easily forget.

Pro-Choice

This is not to say that everyone who supports abortion is evil, just that they have all fallen to some extent under its spell. Because the obvious truth about abortion is that it ends a human life. We are not talking about religion here, but simple, elementary science. When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she knows it is not a parasite or a lump of cells or a “potential” human growing in her womb, but a unique human being that, if simply left alone, will inevitably acquire all the attributes we associate with human life. Though not all unborn children are allowed to develop naturally, this is where we all began. At one point all of us were as innocent and helpless as the “parts” being so casually sold by Planned Parenthood, and this innocence and helplessness did not end when we emerged from the womb.

But to the abortion industry, the humanity of the unborn is the ultimate inconvenient truth. I have never encountered a moral argument for abortion that was even remotely convincing. Logically, to support abortion is to support the contention that some lives matter less than others and therefore can be ended for no better reason than convenience. No one really thinks getting an abortion is the same as getting an appendectomy or a tooth pulled, unless they are mentally unsound.

Therefore, proponents of abortion can be divided into two camps: those who view abortion as a necessary evil, and those who hold it up as a moral good despite the fact that it ends a human life. Notice how the “necessary evil” camp is the group that most desperately tries to deny the humanity of the unborn. They don’t want to see the pictures of aborted fetuses. They don’t want to hear the procedures described. They don’t want to contemplate the possibility that a woman might be pressured into having an abortion against her will. They simply don’t want to think about it at all. Let someone else make the decision. Let the blame fall on someone else’s shoulders. Leave them out of it. In fact, a better name for this camp might be “the Pontius Pilates.”

abortiondiagram

But the “abortion as good” crowd is different. They see nothing morally questionable about abortion, and believe women should be open and unapologetic about their abortions. They oppose even the most sensible regulations and restrictions, including bans on late-term abortions that are present in most other western countries. Often, they are the ones who work in the abortion industry or its lobby, like the women on the recent videos. I’m going to say something that might surprise some readers: I do not believe Planned Parenthood sells baby parts to make a profit. Mary Gatter might have joked about wanting a Lamborghini, but she knows this will never happen. Maybe someone is getting rich from selling fetal tissue, but I doubt it. So? You might ask. If not for the money, why is Planned Parenthood doing this?

Evil is difficult to understand because it lacks the truth and internal logic of good. Evil is the negation of good, and therefore can’t be studied on its own. But it does follow certain predictable patterns. If I were to try to explain what Planned Parenthood gets out of selling these unborn baby parts, I would say that it furthers the idea in their minds that the work they are doing is good. It also feeds their egos. The mothers of these babies don’t want them. Society, if our laws are any indication, doesn’t want them. In the minds of the abortionist, both are better off without them; the abortionist simply takes something unwanted and rejected and then extracts value out of it. When I hear the women in these videos, I hear women in love with their own power: the power to determine life and death. Their arrogance is unmistakable.

The Devil’s greatest lie is: Don’t worship God; worship yourself. In a world built upon self-worship, there are no limits on what the individual can do. Destruction, decadence, and desire are glorified. Abortion is celebrated as a sacrament. In the Culture of Death, bodies are not respected, but treated as commodities. Therefore, parts can be bought and sold. People can be treated as means, not ends.

Maybe you think I’m going overboard with the whole “evil” thing. If so, I invite you to listen to this video of abortion supporters interrupting a speaker with chants of “Hail Satan” as pro-life demonstrators sing Amazing Grace (skip to the 5:00 mark if you are pressed for time).

Evil does not like to be called out by its name. It prefers to masquerade as Necessity, or Tolerance, or Freedom. But the act grows tiresome. Every now and then, the mask slips. And once you see evil’s face and hear its voice, you know it is real and must be denounced. I am not shocked or surprised by these recent videos, but I am encouraged by the fact that so many others are. Maybe this is their moment. Maybe it is yours. Now that you know the truth about abortion, what will you do?