Last night was a fitful night. The air was cool and good for sleeping. But I am not well, so I toss turn and have strange dreams. I find myself in the Balkans, in some place where there is ethnic war. The story is about a man on a bus. He was killed. It is an act of random brutality that defies all logic and decency. This is not out of place during this ethnic war. But this particular killing strikes a chord with the media.
The bus was transporting soldiers from the territory of the rival faction to safety on the other side of a checkpoint. As it rolled along, several angry soldiers from the rival faction menaced, but nobody did anything. Just after the bus reached the checkpoint, a shot rang out and the soldier was killed in cold blood. Everyone was left wondering a lot of things. Why were the soldiers receiving safe passage? Why was one killed at random? What was the point of this conflict in the first place?
I woke up in a daze and proceeded to the office. Time to get on the Net and see if their is any good news. Instead, there is only more news of random killing. Except this time, the event will not just fade from memory with the daylight. This time, the events are real. This time the senseless killing is not in the Balkans, or Darfur, or a Spanish train station. This time, it’s in America.
Americans are not used to senseless violence on their own soil. That is not to say that there isn’t a lot of senseless violence going on all the time in America. It’s just that the media only reports certain kinds. We now have another situation that fits the criteria for non-stop media coverage. We have another cause celeb for the media to bludgeon to death with stereotypical rhetoric, buckets of crocodile tears and lots and lots of hand wringing. For it is now their time to rise up and not merely be reporters. It is their time to once again tell the nation what their response to this tragedy should be. It is their right to harass police, family and friends of the victims, as well as the survivors, shove them on TV, and force them to relive the trauma yet again.
Twelve people were killed! This is a tragedy. But people die every day. People are murdered by the dozens every day. People are robbed, beaten, overdosed, forced into sex slavery, molested. The world is a very, very evil place. People are prone to do evil things. But the media doesn’t want you to believe that. They want you believe that most people are good, and that only a few nut jobs need to be quarantined and nothing bad will ever happen in this great land of ours. All we have to do is have enough laws and enough constant surveillance by the police state, and eventually no one will ever have to die.
12 dead in a movie theater. The questions will come. How did someone escape detection long enough do this? Who’s to blame for the lack of security? Doesn’t this just bring home the point that no one should have guns? Shouldn’t there be metal detectors, perimeter guards, assault dogs in place at all theaters to prevent such a thing? Maybe we shouldn’t have movie theaters at all. Maybe we shouldn’t have violent movies. Why didn’t anyone realize that this man was sick before he ever got tot his point? How can anyone be safe?
The answers will come. They will come in same form that they always come. More government control. More loss of rights for citizens. To me, this is the real tragedy of Columbine, 9/11, and soon Aurora. For such things never lead to us talking about the inevitability of death and the need to be prepared for it. They never lead us to wake up and realize that a godless country is filled with godless people who will do godless things and that we need to turn back to God. They always lead to a greater telling of the lie that Big Brother can and should solve all of the our problem and keep us safe from bad people. They never lead to realization that tyranny and over-policing leads to violent rebellion.
Let’s all grieve with the victims. The victims are not just the dead. The dead are beyond the pain. Those who live and have to go on are the true victims. Those who have had their innocence removed and have to live with that for the rest of their lives are victims. The news media will make sure that all of us feel like victims. In doing so, they will commercialize and cheapen the grief of the families who are directly involved. I want to apologize now for the media. I want to tell you how sorry I am that you will have to endure your unwanted celebrity and endure the feeding frenzy that is about to come. But I don’t know you. So I can’t help you. I can only pray that God will bring you comfort. I can only appeal to the media to back off and let you grieve in peace.