“I can’t help but think of how exactly right Pope Benedict XVI was when he said that people MUST hear the words sincerely spoken: “It is good that you exist” and believe them because they are backed up with real love. Without that, we become monsters….[and say] we saw the awful thing you did, but we also saw that you had been failed.” ~Elizabeth Scalia, the Anchoress.
I was deep into a project yesterday and didn’t see the news out of Florida until almost midnight. So horrible. Again, so horrible.
On Social media I am seeing some people express understandable fear, anger and anxiety about this shooting, but this is the first time I can recall where people are also expressing a sense of pity for the shooter. In truth, I am grateful to see it — that such compassion risks exposing itself in the face of derision and rage is heartening because I believe we’re going to have to add something like “compassionate awareness” to our cries for “stricter gun laws” and “more money for mental health” situations.
I suspect we feel pity for Nikolas Cruz, even as we mourn his actions, because unlike the Columbine killers, who had “stable homes and everything they could want” this kid Cruz seems to have been dealt from the short deck, and while he was reported to teachers for being “creepy” and expelled from school, and even reported to the increasingly inept-seeming FBI, it doesn’t look like anyone bothered to think, “What’s going on with this kid, anyway?” He just got shipped to a different school and forgotten, eyeballed and forgotten.
Perhaps we are looking at Cruz and realizing that yes, he’s just the kind of creepy kid we wouldn’t want around us. He’s not like the Columbine kids who knew how to seem normal around adults. His mis-fit to society is all over him. It screams out of his eyes, and we don’t want it near us.
Possibly because we feel a bit indicted by it, by that misfit.
I recall with deep regret a time I called the cops on a clearly troubled 13 year old and breathed a sigh of relief when he ended up in state custody. I was a young, anxious mother and I just wanted him gone. But I’ve often wondered what became of him. Today I am regretting that I just wanted a “problem” moved away from me — that I didn’t even try to see the human boy who lived within that problem. God help me.
We do this all the time as a society. We pass along the people who are difficult or creepy or who we just don’t really want to deal with, until they get the message loud and clear: “No one cares that you exist. In fact, we kind of wish you didn’t.” And once that message is absorbed, who knows to where the mind and soul will travel?
This is the equivalent of throwing a person away. As with abortion, it is not bothering to see the human being, just “getting rid of the problem.”
Certainly, the evil one will be right there to exploit that disposal..
This is one of those awful situations… We must and should abhor what has happened, and take nothing away from the tragedy of it, or our apparent impotence in the face of this ongoing danger. On the other hand, you look at Cruz and think — or at least I did — “tragedy begets tragedy; hurt people hurt people.” I can’t help but think of how exactly right Pope Benedict XVI was when he said that people MUST hear the words sincerely spoken: “It is good that you exist” and believe them because they are backed up with real love. Without that, we become monsters. Without that, we end up seduced by whatever will accept us.
Unfortunately, too often it takes an act of violence to get the wounded people, and the mentally ill people the help they need. And by then, it may be too late — there are young lives tragically lost and shattered families. And a young life tragically come apart, likely because of something wrong in the family — and yes, can we say it? A hunger for the knowledge of something greater than ourselves to look to.
How does a 19 year old driven by his own demons ever come around to believing (or even hearing) “It is good that you exist” so he can live the rest of his life out — imprisoned, of course — with some understanding that “yes, we saw the awful thing you did, but we also saw that you had been failed.”
I was just going to write, “There are no words.” But clearly there are. We need to start talking about how victims create victims. Gun laws alone won’t fix this. There’s lots of ways a person full of pain can kill a crowd of others. These horrible days arise from a terrible void within a person. God have mercy on Cruz. God have mercy on us all. May he bless and sustain these grieving families, and impart his wisdom on this needful country. Amen?