The United States has endured so many mass killings in the last few decades that the official statements of police, politicians, religious leaders, psychiatrists, and family members of the killer have become predictable, cemented into our psyche by the relentless 24 hour news blitz found across the several news channels. Newscasters could just say “gunman, loner, arsenal, gun control, no gun control, evil, no signs, he seemed fine . . .” and we would know the rest.
While the “official” statements have become commonplace to the point of callousness, they do nothing to describe the horrific loss experienced by the loved ones of each victim from the Las Vegas massacre yesterday. Many children over the past 24 hours were gently told that a parent was dead; that “The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood is stopped”. No child should learn Shakespearean tragedy from such an experience.
In a slough of predictable responses, one relative of the killer made a comment that should bring pause as we attempt to make sense of the senseless. When asked if she had any idea why the killer would massacre 59 people, she responded that he did not hold any religious or political beliefs – as if they were the only reasons for mass murders these days.
Some past mass murderers have claimed both religious and political reasons, however insane, to justify their actions. So far, the Las Vegas killer has offered no “reason” for his actions. Maybe he killed 59 people because he was bored or had gambling losses or hated crowds. After all, his family members could not name a single belief in anything that he had ever expressed to them. No belief in anything worth saying. Then he killed himself, the act of a confirmed nihilist.
Those who believe in God, the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount and a host of traditional proofs of morality handed down to us over thousands of years will not be surprised that the individual who believes in nothing can do anything no matter how depraved.
Those who deny God’s existence but believe in the innate goodness of people, in moral relativism, cultural diversity and the equality of all ideas will always be surprised at mass killings. They will shout for more government control – gun control, speech control, crowd control, religious control, cultural control, any control that will shift the responsibility away from a killer who personifies best what their non-belief system ultimately creates – individuals who believe nothing and who will do anything, no matter how depraved.