“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist.”
– Kevin Spacey, as Virgil Kent in The Usual Suspects
Before engaging in President Barack Obama’s post-Newtown national discussion about whether our Second Amendment rights should be watered down, curtailed or totally eliminated, we should first consider what made a young man storm an elementary school and murder so many children, since the demons that drove Adam Lanza to commit his terrible crimes will be with us longer than the instruments he used.
What kind of human being could level a weapon at a terrified child and pull the trigger?
You would think in that split-second before the bullet was discharged, whatever shred of humanity left in his tattered soul would have snapped him out of his rage, yet Lanza was not shaken from his deed and repeated it many more times.
So what would motivate someone to kill so many innocent children?
I can only surmise a combination of hatred and vanity: Lanza wanted the world to feel his pain by preying upon the most innocent amongst us.
Lanza sought significance that had eluded him throughout his life and as our culture tends to give mass murderers higher billing than their victims, the killer described as a “goth nerd” is the talk of the planet.
Most people can tell you who Jeffrey Dahmer is but can’t name one of the 17 men he killed.
The media frenzy surrounding this massacre has not only fulfilled his last request but will also inspire others of Lanza’s twisted mindset to make their name in a similar manner.
We live in a society where God has been evicted from the public and religious faith. Christianity in particular, is treated with scorn. Yet Judeo-Christian values have been the basis of most Americans’ sense of what is right and what is wrong for over 200 years. That is changing.
Society’s deciders have opted to plagiarize those religious proverbs they find agreeable and assign their authorship to the state. There shall be no other source of morality than the state, for it is a most jealous entity of politicians, panels and bureaucrats.
Wherever God is cast out, evil quickly fills the vacuum. And that was what took place in Newtown: an act of evil perpetrated by an individual who lost his humanity the moment he went forward with his murderous plot.
Nobody who sincerely believes in the tenets of Christianity would ever go on a murdering spree, if only for fear of the consequences in the afterlife where we are all held accountable for our actions (and inactions). Christians answer to a higher authority than federal statutes.
Yet on Friday morning, the homicidal and suicidal Lanza feared nothing as he coldly demonstrated his power by spreading death and making the world take notice of his rage.
Lanza may have thought he was escaping justice when he took his own life, though anyone who believes in a hereafter knows that he will indeed face his day of judgment. Those crying for vengeance can take a modicum of solace in this certainty.
Though Lanza may have “dressed up” like a Goth, it’s apparent that the young murderer had a nihilistic view of the world where life has no meaning and there is no true right or wrong, simply existence and nothing.
A nihilist and a Christian have very different views on life: the former is not as disinclined to kill since doing so is a largely irrelevant act as the universe itself is irrelevant while a Christian is willing to die if the circumstances require self-sacrifice because they know that though the heart stops beating, the soul lives on.
So where do we go from here?
First the media should bury this monster’s name and deny him the infamy he craved and instead focus on the lives lost. We must strive to promote a culture of life instead of obsessing over the individual responsible for so much death and anguish.
Secondly, we must recognize the presence of evil in this world rather than cover it up with layers of psychological over-analysis that in no way can explain why someone would murder those children. Evil cannot be contained through governmental laws and ordinances but can be effectively confronted through God’s grace.
Thirdly, the prevailing popular culture must end its undeclared war on religion and our Creator. It is not possible to have good without God and until we recognize that, evil will continue to ravage us as we clumsily grope for answers in the aftermath of the next tragedy.