Friday after Ash Wednesday – and after another school massacre…
An article from Thursday from The Telegraph reported this: The deadly gun rampage at a Florida high school on Wednesday took to 18 the number of school shootings across the United States so far this year – an average of one school shooting every 60 hours…According to the independent Everytown for Gun Safety group, eight of the 18 school shooting incidents so far this year, which cover primary schools to universities, involved guns being discharged with no one injured.
It now seems to me how the experience of impotence drives human beings to act out in various ways. And since the powerful revelation of American impotence on 9/11, many US citizens appear to be in a free-fall of acting out in rage. Consider our deep political divisions.
Against such randomly violent attacks I am powerless, hence fearful.
In my life, fear of being attacked drives me to take action to insure my security – withdraw and act aggressively are two key routes I take. There’s also these: hold a grudge & nurse that grudge hour by hour; gossip; distract myself with fantasies of “what I should have said/done” or “how I’m gonna get that bastard;” overeat or overwork; lust for power; feed my inner dramas that have me powerful and victorious. You?
And in the face of such randomly violent attacks I am impotent. Locked doors and an armory will make me feel safe.
Yet, none of this really solves my/our fundamental impotence to ward off threats, our basic vulnerability. Walking around terrified or so inflated by confidence built on bank account, what I drive, how strong physically, I am, and my armory doesn’t address the most basic human ‘problem’ – our ultimate insufficiency to control our lives. That sucks.
So, seems to me that we have two choices these days – to express our inadequacy to effect change by ranting, inflating and trash-talking our ‘enemies’ OR to grieve for our paralysis at the size and scope of the whole human ‘problem’.
I weep with those families and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida for what they suffered. I weep for the shooter whose inner ‘demons’ pushed him to act out.
I grieve for the men and women of Congress who, too, seem impotent to act, who seem shackled to those who offer them the illusion of power as an antidote to their inner terror.
I lament those who sell inadequate antidotes to human impotence – clothing to console, news to incite rage, guns to offer ‘security’, Viagara, huge trucks, etc. And whoever proffers religious remedies to human insufficiency, which can leave us feeling ennobled yet inadequate.
It’s in this terrible place of our common humanity that perhaps we might meet Christ anew. And perhaps discover kinship with those against whom we rage.