Friday, January 15, 2010

Rampage Killings ...

Just say words like Columbine, Ft. Hood, and even here in Orlando this week and the mind can quickly conjure up some image of a crazy gun nut shooting anyone he can find. The news media calls it Rampage Killings as if in a moment of sheer rage a person begins to kill anyone around them. But that is not really the whole story is it? The next invariable question is – why. The viewer needs to know why the gun-toting nut bag went off the deep end (so to speak). Could it be road-rage, recently unemployed, recently divorced badly, etc. etc. ?

The problem with this thinking is that it buys into the premise that this horrific act was singular in nature. Someone snaps, and let the chaos commence. But that is seldom true isn’t it? Time elapses; quite a bit of it usually between the source stressing factor, and the time of the carefully planned “revenge”. You can hardly call something a rampage which implies spur-of-the-moment, that takes days or weeks to prepare for. Think of it, entire days go by, with the same nut bag meticulously plotting the how’s, where’s, and when’s for his little attention grabbing hissy-fit. People, most of which the killer may not even really know, will die all in the effort of what? – soothing your pain? Easing your suffering? Where does the bloodshed in these events accomplish anything of real value?

And why does the news media fan the flames of these tragedies so insuring there will be future such events? If these killings got a 2 minute summary coverage once on the primetime news spots they would all end. I don’t say this because people will become less nutty. I say it because people would realize that even their most extreme horrific antics do not warrant the attention they seek. If you handled news stories in this way, and combine your approach with giving extensive coverage to people who serve others – I dare say the model of society might just turn over on its head. Positive reinforcement without creating super-villains that hog ALL the news coverage for days on end might just put a stopper in the process. To say nothing of allowing the victim’s families, friends, and communities to grieve without a barrage of reminders of just how horrible the event was – replaying footage over and over again.

But make no mistake the motives behind every single killing of this nature is ultimately the same – self interest. Killers may not seek financial rewards, obviously they realize social inclusion after this event is impossible, but in the blood thirsty act they believe they can satisfy their selfish need for revenge (they call it “justice”). You see in the minds of the killers, they believe it is they who have been wronged. The actions they take are nothing more than what is required in their minds to right the wrongs they have incurred. They think of it as “getting even”; though we outsiders look at it as shear madness.

And truth be told, the killers have often been wronged. The Columbine killers were social outcasts. No one was seeking them out for friendship, and in fact were likely making their day-to-day lives less easy than more easy. Everyone thought it to be OK to simply ignore the plight of others unless it directly impacts you. Leave the nut bags alone and maybe they won’t bother you. But isolation is hardly the solution for social awkwardness. And had these 2 students been surrounded by an atmosphere of true Christian love and acceptance they might have had alternative ideas to hate that ends up taking lives. We are quick to blame them for the deeds they did commit, but seldom look beyond them to see if we might have been instrumental in guiding them away from their heinous crimes.

What killers do, represents the epitome of self-indulgence. They focus on thoughts of pure self-gratification through means most of us call insane, and most importantly to the exclusion of how ANYONE else will feel about what they have done. They are out for themselves, no one else. In Ft. Hood this week the accused killer appears to have been an extreme Muslim who yelled God is Great in Arabic prior to shooting. Indeed God is great, what has that to do with the level of selfishness you are about to employ? Anger with an idea, vented in bullets to those who have done you no harm, what could this be other than pure self-indulgence. And to call God’s name into it? Blasphemy.

The Muslims believe they serve the God of Abraham. If this is so, then they must realize how God felt about Cain killing his brother Abel. Even the life of Abraham itself is one of patience faith and long suffering. Abraham did not achieve God’s promise of the Promised-Land it two minutes. It took time. It took effort. And God was faithful, not by Abraham simply killing anyone and everyone who did not like what he was doing. By a Muslim’s own belief system the shedding of innocent blood is strictly forbidden. And to do it in God’s name defines Blasphemy even in their own belief system.

No, religion is not to blame for these heinous acts, it is pure self-indulgence. And ironically religious people somehow believe that a certain amount of self-indulgence is OK in our lives. It is as if we could accept a certain amount of plutonium in our food and ignore the effects of its poisonous nature. We accept self-indulgence if we can balance it with temperance (another failed idea). But like eating plutonium will surely give us cancer, accepting self indulgence will certainly lead us to evil. We may not climb high-rises and begin opening up fire on former co-workers, but we may flirt with the idea of having an illicit affair, or stealing from an employer, or simply compromising our values for expediency.

Christians should know they are not to have the role of “judge” in the courtroom of the Lord. That role only God Himself can handle. Defending attorney belongs to Jesus, the jury or mere courtroom attendees may be the unfallen angels, Satan is our accuser, and of course we are the defendants. And we are ALL guilty as charged. None of us are clean or stand perfect against the truth of Satan’s list of evil we have embraced in our lives. However our attorney steps forward and accepts the sentence for our crimes. We must allow Him to do so, or suffer the fate we deserve. Nowhere in the entire scenario do humans ever play the role of sanctioned “executioner”. Christians who commit heinous acts of killing are merely committing evil, not involved in anything remotely related to righteousness. It is not our role to kill by intent.

Arguments can be made about killing in different circumstances like in self-defense, to save others, in times of war, etc.. You can debate the merits of lack of them under these conditions, but nut bag killers are deserving of no such debate. They simply act in a mode of pure self-interest, which they have generally nourished for a while before committing their crimes. In order for the moment to be truly unplanned, it would require being already armed for a different legitimate purpose, encountering a situation that is beyond the mental capacity of the killer to accept, then taking action without thinking about anyone’s safety or wellbeing including their own. If they have to go home to get the weapon, it is premeditated. If they have time to cool down and do not do so, it is premeditated. If they can act and still be cognizant enough to preserve their own safety. It is premeditated. Just like all the sin in our lives today – it is premeditated.

Our God looks on in horror and GREAT sadness when these events occur. His heart breaks when people use His name or question if it was His will that these things happened at all. But our God sees beyond the existence of this world, and takes account of our lives beyond the scope that we can see. Even when our time in this existence is over, perhaps ended by the free-will choice of another nut bag, our entire existence is not over with these acts of evil. Having accepted the gift He offers, we are sure to resume our existence in a world made new, and devoid of all evil, of every pain, and most of all – absent self completely. Service will be our mantra, and love our method of existence. Praise God our hope is not confined or controlled by the nut bags we are surrounded by …

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