Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Trying to Make Sense of the Senseless
The weather around Virginia is bleak. Dark grey clouds fill the sky and the wind howls through the trees like some possessed banshee. All is not right with the world and all you need do is turn on the television to find out why.
Yesterday’s events on the campus of Virginia Tech will long be remembered as part of one of America’s darkest days. One deranged man inflicted his insanity on 32 fellow Hokies in a dark, expressionless mechanical manner. 32 families have been given great cause to mourn today, and every single one of them will be asking one unanswerable question.
There is no single answer to that question. No one person will be able to get inside the head of the shooter and know what truly drove him to such a murderous rage. Yes, there will be those who will claim to have what those who grieve seek – but in truth those words will ring very hollow.
As human beings, we seek to make sense of senseless acts. Investigations – both those official and those from other sources – will be conducted. They will claim to be focused only on the events in question, but all they’re really interested in is assigning blame.
There will be those who blame America’s gun culture on both sides of the issue. Some will use this tragedy as a springboard from which to launch anti-gun campaigns. They believe the only way to prevent similar tragedy is to rid the landscape of all firearms. There will also be those who will claim the answer to this tragedy is for more guns to be in the hands of responsible people.
Personally, I’m wary of anyone who would attempt to place the foundation of any argument atop the coffins of 32 college students and teachers.
There is, as the Preacher says, a time to every purpose under heaven. This is a time to weep, and a time to mourn those whose lives were taken just as they had begun. With time, however, perhaps we can remember them for how they lived rather than how they died. Then this time to weep and mourn may turn itself into a time to heal, laugh, and yes maybe even dance.
It is difficult now to look upon life as a transitory state. That said, I take comfort (and hope others will as well) in the poetic words of W. W. Phelps:
There is no end to glory.A few weeks ago the world celebrated Easter. Easter is a celebration of life beyond this mortal sphere and at times like these I take comfort in knowing the tomb is empty.
There is no end to love.
There is no end to union.
There is no death above.
Here endeth the lesson.