When terrorists slaughter innocents, I get to blame a group of evil fighters like ISIS or the Taliban who have a religion or a government they believe in, and if I want, I can also blame Islam or the middle east, or some foreign government for the evil that has been done in their name.
But what happens when a lone gunman ends fifty human lives, injures two hundred others, for no other reason except that he decided it’s what he wanted to do? How do I make sense of that in my head?
Who can I blame for this one?
Honestly, I’m having a difficult time trying to figure out where to direct my anger.
Of course, I blame the guy, the lone-wolf sicko. He and only he is responsible for his unthinkable choice to shoot into a crowd of helpless people. He’s a pathetic coward and it’s 100% his fault, but that’s not enough for me. I want to blame something else, something bigger, something more important than this loser, because then that bigger something will have to change and then maybe we’ll never have to go through this again.
But who can I blame for this one?
Because in this country you can get automatic weapons and plenty of ammo, I could say that if this weren’t true, a sicko like this guy could never have pulled off this kind of massacre. But who’s to say that he wouldn’t have just driven a truck into the same unsuspecting crowd and killed just as many people.
Because this guy maybe watched horror movies, played GTA or shooter games, read comic books, listened to heavy metal or rap or rock and roll, or dressed differently, I could blame those forms of entertainment or fashion choices. I could say that if they weren’t freely available or tolerated, this guy would never have had the mindset to pull off this kind of senseless slaughter. But I know that millions of us who entertain ourselves or dress in the same way would never dream of harming others on purpose, let alone mowing them down while they’re helplessly assembled.
Because Trump is president or Obama and Bush and Clinton were, I could blame any one of them, or all of them and their policies or lack thereof, and say that if Bernie or Hillary or Mitt or Al or whoever would have been elected, this never would have happened. But no matter who is in charge of this country, I know something like this could have still gone down because an evil act doesn’t only happen when the other party is in charge.
So who can I blame for this one?
A lack of religion or respect for the elderly in this country? The sexual preference of people or who they’re marrying or where they’re peeing? The standers or the kneelers, the whites or the people of color, the rich, the poor, the military or those who never served?
Who did this to me, to us?
The answer is all of it. And none of it. If I have to blame something for this, I blame life.
Part of living as a human is facing the unknown and accepting our incomplete knowledge of the world and of ourselves. There is good and evil in this place, happiness and sadness, darkness and light, and it will always be this way, no matter who’s in charge or how the rest of us treat each other.
I blame life for this one.
Unfortunately, the cost of being here, of being alive, is pain and hurt and anguish, and it’s a high cost today. Fifty lives have ended tragically, needlessly, their families are devastated, millions of the rest of us are in shock, wondering how to respond, to help. We’re human, so we search for answers that will explain how something like this could have ever happened.
Evil reared its ugly head again and reminded us we’re still alive.
But in this darkness, there will be light, watch and see. We will embrace and heal the injured, bury and remember the dead, comfort and mourn with their loved ones, speak of hope and continue to live, always searching for the good.
Because that’s life, too.
- Mike Lukas