Sunday’s horrific attack on a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada has brought America to its knees in mourning. The world, too, is watching on, wondering how such a tragedy could take place.
Everyone is struggling to rationalize the shooter’s actions. This is interesting in itself, as, if his skin were a tone or two darker, his rationale would have been thrust upon him before the bullets stopped flying.
But that’s a discussion for another article.
While we try to figure out why this man did what he did, we’re ignoring the answer that is right in front of us.
Point fingers and pray
When something bad happens—whether it’s a great tragedy or a systemic failure in society—we immediately point fingers. We blame the black thugs, the white supremacists, the Islamist terrorists, the mentally ill. We blame the conservatives or the socialists, the rich, greedy bankers or the poor welfare abusers.
When something especially appalling happens—something like Las Vegas, which seems inexplicably evil—we pray. We ask God to take over because we cannot or do not want to manage the situation.
We’re all guilty of pointing fingers and praying. Donald Trump is guilty, Hillary Clinton is guilty, Bernie Sanders is guilty, Jeremy Corbyn is guilty, Theresa May is guilty. I’m guilty, you’re guilty—we all are.
The thing is, “evil” is a human conceptualization. Unreligious people will say that we learn evil throughout our lives. The religious among us (largely) claim that we are born sinners, and therefore must repent for our evil nature during our earthly existence.
Quite frankly, everyone is full of shit.
We, as humans, are all responsible for Las Vegas. Not God, not the Devil, and certainly not the Republicans. We are responsible for the shooter’s actions.
We’re guilty of allowing evil to manifest.
Humans hate taking responsibility. We’re the most prolific shirkers in the animal kingdom. We shirk and then we move on with our lives, so we don’t have to think about the so-called evil of our world.
We shirk having a discussion about gun laws. Those of us who do want a discussion give up too easily—we shirk making an effort. Politicians shirk responsibility to their constituents, too.
We shirk thinking about mental health. Those of us who sincerely want to end the stigma have often been personally affected—but those who haven’t just can’t fathom the severity of mental illness.
We shirk enacting long-term, development-driven anti-terrorism policy— instead opting for more bombs and blood. Some of us say that it’s out of our hands, that change must come from the top. Most claim that bombs and blood are the answer. World leaders have no incentive to think long-term.
We shirk talking about racial inequality. If we’re white, it’s easy to live in ignorance. If we’re not white we might protest, but only while risking our employment and in some cases, our lives.
We complain a bit on social media, we the social media warrior generation, then a couple weeks later move on—shirking the past; the very lessons of history that might help us improve as a society. People have always done this—only my generation purports to be different.
And society continues—terrorist attacks, racial inequality, and all.
Eventually we’ll all forget about Las Vegas—once we’ve shirked its memory into oblivion.
Only those directly affected might make an effort to influence serious progress; in this case, progress on gun control, progress on mental health, progress on healthcare.
But without all of us involved and engaged, things will probably stay the same.
We’ll shirk change, like we’ve always done.