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Another mass murder
July 20, 2012 - Stephen Browne
"But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks, Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass; I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty To strut before a wanton ambling nymph; I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion, Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time Into this breathing world, scarce half made up, And that so lamely and unfashionable That dogs bark at me as I halt by them; Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace, Have no delight to pass away the time, Unless to spy my shadow in the sun And descant on mine own deformity: And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover, To entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain"
-William Shakespeare, Richard III Act I, Scene I
Aurora, Colorado was the scene of another horrendous mass murder early Friday morning, as a man identified as James Holmes, 24, allegedly killed at least 12 people and wounded 50 at a premier of the latest "Batman" movie.
From what details have emerged, the attack seems to have been carefully planned. The killer showed up equipped with several firearms, some of which may have been planted at the scene earlier, one or two gas or smoke bombs, body armor, and a gas mask.
That's several thousand dollars worth of equipment there. Which begs the question, why would he or anybody go to such lengths and such expense, to kill total strangers who had never harmed or insulted him in any way?
After school shootings such as Columbine, there were speculations bullied kids might be taking a terrible revenge, though there hasn't been any indication their victims were bullies.
This is definitely not the case here. We don't know much else yet, but we can be pretty sure of that. The victims were random strangers. I'd guess a theater was chosen because you can find a packed mass of people there who cannot easily run, hide, or scatter, and are not equipped to fight back.
In other words, soft targets.
But still the question, for God's sake why?
I don't know. Motive is hard to fathom because it resides in people's heads, and because it's what people are most likely to lie about, even to themselves. But I have a guess.
For one, there is such a thing as evil. We have forgotten this in this fortunate country, and many deny the existence of evil entirely. This flies in the face of all history and much experience. Some people aren't "sick" or "disturbed," they're evil and act from motives of pure malice.
But does it make any sense at all to do such a horrible thing that profits the killer not at all, especially when it's a murder-suicide?
In a way, yes.
There is an old story that King Herod once asked a group of his advisers what he should do to insure universal mourning after his death."
Of course most of them said something like, "Oh great, wise, just and merciful king all will mourn when you die!"
Except one brave or foolhardy man who answered, "Order that on your death, Rabbi Hillel's throat is to be cut."
I think it's the same logic, there is a logic to evil.
There are a lot of folks out there who must think that if they died nobody would notice or care.
Most live with it, or try to live their lives so someone might care when they are gone.
I think that for a few, what occurs to them is, "I can make them care."
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