Sick at heart

Rwandan refugee camp in east Zaire. (Photo: via Wikipedia)

I’m glad law enforcement officers captured the 19-year old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. But the rest of this past week’s story leaves me truly sick at heart.

Between Monday and Wednesday, all I could think about were the people who were killed or maimed, and about their families.

With the release of the suspects’ photographs and the gradual discovery of information about their lives, I was even more deeply disturbed. A picture is emerging of an older brother who had a wife and child he loved, and a younger brother who was bright, well-rounded, and well-liked by all who knew him.

Religious fanatics? It doesn’t appear so. Crazy? Not in any obvious way. Loners? No. Badly treated in their adopted country? No. Unloved? Not according to their friends and family.

No doubt, in the coming days and weeks, we’ll learn a great deal more about these two young men gone so badly astray. But, what I never find an adequate explanation for–whether it’s Columbine or Aurora or Newtown–is this: how do people cross the line that makes them blind to the preciousness of life?

The ability to detach oneself from the awe is what makes the horror possible–whether in our country today or Rwanda in the 1990s, Cambodia in the 1970s, or Germany in the 1940s. The awe may come from traditional religious belief, from witnessing the birth of a creature, or simply from respect for the laws of society.

So many hurt, because two young men forgot or lost their connection to what really matters: life. Awe.

This is what makes me sick at heart.


2 Comments on “Sick at heart”

  1. Jim says:

    I believe that much of the blame can be traced directly to our violence laced culture; the entertainment industry in all of its’ permutations. Our population has been de-sensitized through constant bombardment with violent imagery and the problem is only exacerbated by society’s disconnect from the reality and grounding influence of “the land”.

  2. Kent Gregson says:

    The senselessness of the situation gives me pause as well. Why would anyone take their car to the mechanic for a days-long job when they’re going to need so desperately to get out of town in the middle of the mechanic’s work. There’s more to learn here about pre-meditation and perhaps coercion.

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