I had to turn the television news off and stop checking Twitter. I couldn’t take the news spitting tidbits of the horrific scenes in Paris any longer. I was still trying to wipe out the photos of the woman in shock when the Russian jet exploded. Add to the shock of the Connecticut school shootings, the multiple college shootings, the shopping mall massacre in Kenya, and US military base assaults, I find it’s just too much to take in and have given up trying to understand the logic behind violence. I don’t care about the reasons why anymore. As a priest stated in a local church homily after the Naval base shooting, “It is wrong, that’s all the matters.”
The violence is not unfamiliar to human experience. The world has been brutal since the beginning of time. Why human development has stopped evolving and has receded into the base of animal instinct cannot be explained. Not enough of something, too much of something else, greed, poverty, genetic, environmental – whatever the reason it gets all of us nowhere. Earth’s soil is mixed with the countless deaths of the innocent. Homer wrote about it. Shakespeare wrote scenes about it. The concept of fairness has been debated for centuries by philosophers. Could it be that humans are just unable to move to peace because of our inability to identify with others? Is it just how we are wired? Or does it come in waves? Cure Violence (cureviolence.org) believes violence works like a disease that spreads like a cold and should be isolated like an Ebola outbreak to cure.
Maybe. Maybe violence is more like a genetic code that given the right environment, turns the mind on. Too bad it doesn’t switch off with the right diet and exercise. It just lingers silently for the rest of us to witness in disbelief.
I will pray for Paris, and Lebanon, and Kenya, and St. Petersburg, and Connecticut, and anyone that is abused, and for those that have had to watch a horrendous act of a human gone terribly wrong. But I won’t try to understand the violence. Just can’t.