Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Blame Game

“I was feeling like a field the day after the circus leaves, to late for the fun and too early for the animals to reclaim it. And birds were picking popcorn off my face.” That was the opening line of play I wrote in 1976. It was about what drives a man to climb a tower with a rifle and start shooting people. It was about the first mass shooting on a college campus in 1966 at the University of Texas at Austin where Charles Whitman climbed the clock tower and opened fire with a rifle. He killed 16 people before he was shot to death by police. The difference between that event and Cho’s rampage at Virginia Tech in terms of media coverage is the blame game. Back in 1966 no one was rushing to blame the college administration, professors or other students for not stopping it or seeing this coming. At the time only one person was to blame - Charles Whitman. Today we are assaulted with: poor Cho was picked on by other students, his teachers did not force him into therapy and he was just a poor mixed up lonely kid. Why is it that in every case of this type we hear – a loner?

As Pope John Paul II told us, we have lost our sense of sin.

Many of the media’s talking heads (experts) have difficulty placing blame where it belongs. They say it’s because of teasing, taunting, exclusion… leading to anger or depression or both. And Cho blamed everyone but himself. He had become blind through sin, a slave. Charles did blame himself in a note he left and he asked for an autopsy to see if there was something physically wrong with him. There was a tumor in his head but he blamed no one for it.

Cho nursed at least two of the deadly sins, Envy and Wrath. These were his sins, the lives and life styles around him were not. He gave into those sins, fed them, until they became him.

CCC: 2539 Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another's goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a mortal sin:
St. Augustine saw envy as "the diabolical sin." "From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity."
Dante groups Envy with Anger and Pride as the sins of "Perverted Love." The other two groups are "Insufficient Love" and "Excessive Love of Earthly Goods." Envy is perverted because it "loves" what other people possess, rather than what is Good, Beautiful and True. It is often portrayed as "eating away" the heart of the envious person. Dante shows the envious as among those farthest away from Paradise, with their eyes sewn shut, but weeping over their sins. Again, a common metaphor for Envy is "wearing out the eyes."
CCC: 2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill,"[93] our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral. Anger is a desire for revenge…[94] If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."[95]
2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."[96]

I was picked on in High School because I was small and an artsy fartsy type. More than one jock pushed me into a locker. My kids often came home crying from school because they were picked on in a cruel way. None of us have taken up arms to stamp out the lives of our classmates for the greater good of mankind. My parents told me and I told my kids, “You can not control the events in your life, but you can control how you deal with them.” Revenge was and is never the answer.

It is still part of the media template to make excuses for criminal behavior. This comes from thirty to forty years of a few popular sayings (lies) becoming part of every day out look. He made me do it. I had no choice. He’s a victim of circumstances. Mother always like you best. I’m okay you’re okay. If it feels good do it.

Mother Teresa said, “Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.”

The beginning of our new Dark Age and the loss of our sence of sin began about the time (1963) when the Supreme Court said we were no longer allowed to say a prayer in school, but it was okay to kill preborn children (1973). If you can perform the required mental gymnastics to agree with abortion because that child is inconvenient or unwanted it is not that big of a leap to start killing those walking around because they are inconvenient or unwanted. And way too many of our youth have made that leap.

Cho was not the first and he will not be the last.
for why that is let Peggy tell you here


Trubador said...

Yet another wonderful post, Alan!

Anonymous said...

Cho was mentally ill. You represent Chesterton badly if you don't take that into account. Mother Teresa would have. You would have represented them both much better if you had discussed how we should reach out and love the rejected and lonely misfits in our society. The poorest of the poor are not only in Calcutta, they're right here among us.

Anonymous said...

Why is that when any atrocity occurs we call the perpetrator mentally ill? Except of course when the atrocity is done by a non Judeo-Christian then they are just plain evil.
Or are you saying that being consumed by sin is a mental illness? If I gave the impression I had no love for Cho and his victims this is not true. The Divine Mercy Chaplet was said for all who died that day. The point of my post was to bring out we have lost our sense of sin, something Chesterton would agree with. Today’s Church makes the mistake of preaching with only one hand, the hand of love. God came with two hands love and justice. We need more two fisted priests.
Chesterton reminds us frequently that we live in a fallen world and when we forget that fact we are surprised at the actions of man - sometimes fatally surprised.
I once heard Fr. Benedict Groeschel, say “If every Catholic truly took advantage of the sacrament of confession 95% of the psychologists would be unemployed.” This was the remark of his teacher (a non-Catholic) made to him.