A different perspective on the killings
|Yesterday, a madman marched into a school and put bullets in 27 now-dead teachers and children.
Today, all the world mourns.
Facebook pages and media channels are stricken with grief and loss and disbelief. And rage that such insanity is possible.
Deep inside, our hearts break. Everyone who has even contemplated being a parent shudders and asks, “What if that happened to MY kid?” How utterly unbearable.
Then there are the undertones – both spoken and unspoken:
“This happened because Americans have some sicko love affair with guns.”
“If just one of those teachers DID have a gun in his desk, that raging lunatic would have never made it past Kid #3.”
“The world is descending into chaos. Everything is getting worse and worse.”
“Yeah I know it’s tragic, but look at the outpouring of love and support and people who stop EVERYTHING they are doing to come and help.”
“What kind of God allows such senseless tragedies to take place?”
“If people would just love God and love their neighbor as themselves, none of this would have ever happened.”
“The government needs to take stricter measures and pass more laws.”
“We need to invest more in mental health.”
“We need to start cracking down on thugs – hard.”
“This kind of stuff NEVER happened when I was a kid.”
I’m not interested in arguing about what remedies are most appropriate. Not today anyway.
What I’m interested in today is:
How does this affect YOUR hope – YOUR outlook – YOUR action – YOUR job in the world?
Days like yesterday sorely tempt us to abandon hope. The most tempting thing to believe is, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.”
And when you believe that, even just a little bit, the very next thing you do is give up the ground that you’ve gained with so much hard work and discipline. Without even a fight.
You wanna talk about the world going to hell in a handbasket? Let’s talk about Lenin and Stalin. Let’s talk about Mao’s China and his “Great Leap Forward” and his “Cultural Revolution.”
Those guys, in their quest for power, didn’t kill 27 innocent people every now and then. They killed 27 innocent people EVERY 15 MINUTES. FOR SIXTY YEARS.
Sixty million total.
Now here’s the punchline:
How did they accomplish this?
They accomplished it by exploiting peoples’ existing despair over their existing circumstances, convincing everyone that all was hopeless — hopeless without a fearless all-powerful leader who would finally and ultimately purge the world of the ‘bad guys.’
They received their power because hundreds of millions of ordinary people, who were really no different than you and me, GAVE UP and CAPITULATED TO DESPAIR and gave their assent to the idea that the world really was going to hell in a handbasket.
Long before they had guns and armies, power was literally surrendered to these tyrants by the people who listened to their words.
The common people were seduced by the power of despair.
That is why – no matter what your opinion about guns or mental hospitals or how we might have rescued some killer’s dying inner child – you must not give an inch to this creeping sense of helplessness and victimhood.
A point often missed is that in order to get their power, the tyrants had to create an illusion of their own Ultimate Authority. Which meant they had no choice but to get rid of God. (Lenin said, “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.”) In fact, from 1929-1931, the Soviets even switched the 7-day week to a 5-day week with no universal “day off,” so as to utterly purge the idea of Sabbath or Sunday from the culture.
That added to the drudgery. Which gave the tyrants… more power.
If a madman in Connecticut adds to YOUR hopelessness and poisons your resolve to help other people, to grow your business, to send your kids to school every day… you’re capitulating to the tyrants.
But if the madman in Connecticut inspires you to love your kids more, to pour more goodness into them and send them into the world as bold adults who know who they are and whose they are… if, even though your family like every family has its brokenness and dysfunctions, your children are unconditionally loved…
…then evil loses. Good wins out.
Og Mandino said, “Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it, because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no mater how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity. With it you can accomplish miracles.”
By the way, I didn’t find out about yesterday’s tragedy until 6pm last night, when Laura mentioned it to me. That’s cuz I don’t seek out the news. News steals your enthusiasm and it almost never delivers anything of actual value.
Every time I’ve ever needed to know something that’s going on in the world, somebody has come along and told me about it. You might consider adopting the same policy.
Despair begets despair. Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm. So… if this tragedy is eroding yours, donate $5 or $50 or $500 to some charity, church or school in Newtown Connecticut. If for no other reason, do it just to prove to yourself that you possess power that yesterday’s killer cannot take away.
Then, get on with building the world we all want for our children.
“Fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, you will be willing to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… our freedom!”
-William Wallace, from the movie Braveheart