A week bookended by the best and worst of humanity

Michael Alcorn
Posted 10/16/17

y week ended at a wedding Saturday night, as one of my wife’s associates tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend.

A fine ending, given how everybody’s week started, with the news from Las Vegas.

Saturday night, two people affirmed …

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A week bookended by the best and worst of humanity

Posted

My week ended at a wedding Saturday night, as one of my wife’s associates tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend.

A fine ending, given how everybody’s week started, with the news from Las Vegas.

Saturday night, two people affirmed their love and commitment; Sunday night, one man lashed out his hate and emptiness. Saturday night, two lives were joined as one; Sunday night, 59 lives were ended and hundreds ripped apart. Saturday night, two people took the ultimate leap of hope; Sunday night, one man sent out an ultimate cry of despair.

If you think guns are the problem, maybe you’re right … but you’re not as right as you think you are. His arsenal was amassed in a completely legal way, and few proposed gun control measures would’ve made a difference Although regulating bump stocks seems like a no-brainer in retrospect.

If you think mental health care in America is the problem, again, you may be right … but not that right. This guy had never exhibited any sort of mental health issues, certainly not the kind that would preclude his purchase of his arsenal.

If you think law enforcement and security need an overall upgrade around the country, you might be right … but not much. The President of the United States travels in the most secure umbrella in the world, but it has been said that anybody can kill the President … if they’re willing to die trying.

No, I’m afraid our problems are far deeper and far more systemic than anybody has been willing to contemplate so far. Consider that this man, a retired millionaire with no history of mental illness just murdered 59 people, and we have absolutely no idea why he did it. He checked into a hotel, smuggled dozens of guns in, picked the high ground where the lights from the show would give him perfect cover, and rained thousands of rounds into the crowd … for the hell of it.

No, we don’t know why he did it. But I would submit that he is just another symptom of a disease, not the disease itself.

I believe you cannot have a country in which thousands of babies are killed every year on the twin altars of choice and convenience, without it having consequences. I believe you cannot have a country in which generations of families are stuck in hopeless poverty without it having consequences. I believe you cannot have a country in which the police are not trusted and are actually targets for assassination without it having consequences. I believe you cannot have a country in which people say that old people have a duty to die, in which people say they have no sympathy for victims of crime because they disagree with them politically, or that sends its youth off to war without letting them do their jobs, without it having consequences.

I, sadly, am coming to the conclusion that there is a disease growing in the American soul, something hard to define but which has horrible consequences. The soup of efficient weapons, mental health, and this disease, this culture of death, is starting to ferment into a toxic brew of violence and mayhem.

And yet, in the midst of this, we always see heroes stepping up, using their own bodies as shields to protect friends, running towards the gunfire to lead others to safety, piloting personal watercraft through the streets of Houston to rescue strangers, or running into fires to stop it from reaching others. There is still great courage and strength in this people, and, maybe, these things keep happening to remind us that we are all in this together.

Is it enough? Are love and hope strong enough to beat back this disease? I don’t know.

But I do know that Robert and Tabitha did something more beautiful, more important, and more eternal than the Las Vegas gunman was able to even contemplate. And if this disease ever turns their direction, they will face it, and deal with it … together. Godspeed, you two!

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