I’ve struggled a bit with Ben Stein this past year. I usually agree with much of what he says, but I’ve diverged a bit in the lead up to and aftermath of the election. But I found this piece he wrote especially profound. The comment he quotes sums the recent events up better than I could ever hope to: “There is evil in the world. It’s beyond mental illness, beyond gun control. It is evil.” Here’s his full article. I encourage you to read it:
I learned about the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school while we were setting up at Fox News to tape Cavuto on Business. The news was so horrible that we all felt as if we had lost our legs and could no longer stand. It was such horrible news that it simply turned the world upside down.
It still is that kind of news, and it’s incredibly depressing about the nature of humanity. And my wife and I pray all day for the souls of those dear children and for the peace, if there ever will be peace, of their families… and for the souls of the adults and the peace of those who knew and loved them.
As usual, the smartest comment about the whole subject came from John R. Coyne, Jr. “There is evil in the world. It’s beyond mental illness, beyond gun control. It is evil.”
The killer got his weapons from his mother, who apparently had bought them legally and registered them. That tells us something about what anti-gun laws would do, although maybe the mother should not have had them either. In this world, a killer devil can kill his mother and steal her guns to kill six year olds. That’s what some humans are and I am not sure what laws will stop them.
Second, I read that the killer was socially awkward (putting it mildly) and “reserved.” I know what that often means. He spent much of his miserable life playing shoot ’em up video games on line or on machines. I see a troubled young man doing that often.
Up close and personal.
In these games, the “player” just spends his whole day attempting to exercise and exorcize his loneliness and low self-esteem by shooting imaginary creatures and creating damage all day long.
At a certain point, just “killing” on the console blurs into doing it in real life. “Killing” is just what the kid does all his life. How much of a stretch is it for him to shoot into a movie theater or a political gathering or a kindergarten in “real life” if his life is so pitiful that he does not know what’s real and what is not? If you are looking for a villain, try shoot ’em up games.
Third, what motivates “great” deeds? So that a man’s name will not be forgotten and he will be sung about even after his death, goes the ancient saying. That’s what you get if you slaughter 26 totally innocent people at a grade school. If you want another villain, try the media itself, which has now given Adam Lanza fame beyond what he could have dreamt of. It is impossible to blame the media, but evil men like Adam Lanza have gamed the system to perfection.
Fifth, why are these killers always men? What is it that we teach our young men in this world that makes them think it’s a mark of manliness to kill the unarmed and innocent? Whatever it is, it’s disgusting. It’s not manly to kill any unarmed human. It’s miserable, crawling cowardice.
Finally, a comment that will enrage the beautiful people. The whole world is rightly overwrought and crazed with grief over the murder of twenty totally innocent and blameless souls last Friday in Newtown. It was and is a catastrophe for the ages.
But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promises to kill every Jew in Israel and then in the whole world, including babies… and he had his defenders, even at the Democratic National Convention. And it was daily life in Nazi-occupied Europe from 1939 to 1941 to kill thousands of Jewish children every day. But powerful, intelligent men and women in this country defended Hitler, spoke up for him and for keeping America from even sending arms to Britain when England stood alone. What are we to make of that? No one even mentions, no one even knows about the horrendous Armenian genocide by the Turks in 1915, when well over a million of the most talented people on the planet were wantonly murdered — and the world has still not officially called it genocide — and Hitler explicitly said it was a model for him. Who today even talks of the purposeful mass starvation of millions of beautiful Ukrainian children by Stalin? The U.S. did not say one word about it as a government. The U.S. still will not confront Turkey seriously about the Armenian children.
Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge killed roughly one third of all of its people, including children, from 1974 to about 1977 — and it was U.S. policy to avoid doing anything to stop them — because they were opposed to the North Vietnamese Communists and Communist Vietnam, which had just taken over South Vietnam — our ally. What can we say to that? We cheered the deposing of the President — Richard Nixon — who would have stopped the Khmer Rouge from taking power. There is plenty of Cambodian blood on our hands. There is plenty of blood of all kinds on our hands, especially of the most innocent and blameless among us… real babies, truly innocent.
God help us. Man is made of such crooked stuff that it is impossible to set him straight, said a famous philosopher. God help us.