I am deeply saddened when I hear about tragedies like the one recently at the Navy yard. I hear about people going on a rampages and shooting crowds of innocent people and my heart breaks. I’ll get into conversations with people about the How’s and Why’s behind such heinous acts and it’s always the same questions…
How on earth was he able to buy a gun??
Why didn’t people see the signs??
How did he get through the background check and gain access to the location??
Why didn’t the authorities respond sooner??
What really bothers me about this line of questioning is the assumption that only terrorists or schizophrenics are capable of harming others. But sometimes… sometimes it’s your neighbor… sometimes it’s the kid you used to babysit… sometimes it’s the guy you knew from basic training.
We’re completely caught by surprise when we learn about those who perpetrate such crimes and we immediately try to justify the behavior by attributing it to some mental illness or ties to a terrorist cell group.
“Oh, well no wonder… he had an abnormal fixation on the Middle East and Iraqi culture.”
“He had previous run-in with the law and he liked guns. So I can see how this would be something he would do.”
It’s almost as if our minds can’t seem to comprehend the fact that someone “normal” could do such a horrific thing. But honestly, what is normal? Most people I’ve met have experienced tragedy, are struggling with some type of distress or depression, or have been affected by some degree of trauma. So… WHO is normal?
Friends and family of a suspect will say things like, “I never saw this coming.” or “He was such a nice guy.” or “Something must have happened because he would never do such a thing.” The fact remains that he DID do such a thing. And you know what? I’m never surprised. I’ve come to the sobering conclusion (and this may be an unpopular opinion) that the only thing that restrains any of us is the hand of God. If it weren’t for the fact that He holds your mind, body and soul in His capable hands, you could be just as capable of this type of behavior.
And it makes me eternally grateful… every. single. day.