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Friday, December 14, 2012

Evil Is In The World

There was a senseless tragedy in Connecticut today.  If you've been under a rock and haven't seen any media (at least here in the US), a demented, evil person walked into an elementary school and shot to death 20 children and 8 adults.  We may never know the underlying reasons for his murderous rampage, but nothing in his past could ever excuse such a horrible act.

Think about the parents, family, friends, and other children for a moment.  These children had gone to a normal day of school like so many million do every day.  Newtown is a small community, not what you would ever consider as prone to such an event.  This could happen in any school in the country.  The timing could hardly be worse as we are 11 days away from Christmas.  That means that in all likelihood presents were already bought for those who were murdered.  They may actually already be wrapped and under the tree at this moment.  What must it feel like to find out your child has been killed at their school in a mass shooting, then go home and see the present you bought for them wrapped neatly and awaiting eager hands to open it Christmas Day?  

I heard about the news when I got into my car after having watched The Hobbit with my wife and two children.  My kids are 10 and 11, close to the age of those who died.  I can't imagine having to face what these parents are going through.  As I was running errands my wife was watching the news reports on TV and crying.  My son came in and saw the newcasters talking about the shooting.  "Mommy, why would someone do that?" he asked her.

How do you answer something like that?  Because I don't think anyone has a good answer.  There is absolutely no reason to explain why anyone would murder like this.  Nothing except evil.

I am a Christian and fully believe in Satan as a real entity.  I believe in demons and I believe in pure evil.  Now, I don't think everything bad that happens is due to demon-possessed people.  Humans are quite depraved enough in their own souls to perform heinous acts by their own inner evil and don't need external help.  But I also know that Satan does try to influence people both directly and indirectly.  The only excuse for murdering children in this manner is pure evil, whether internal or external.  And though this may somewhat explain the behavior, it in no way gives credence to it.

We are seeing and hearing more about things like this in modern times.  Remember the shooting at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado this year? There have been others like that in malls, schools, and other public places.  Such mass shootings often make individual murders seem trivial and go unnoticed by the public at large.  But the killing of even one person is a tragedy to those that love them.  Is the sorrow of a parent who has lost their child in a car accident any less than that of one of the parents in Newtown, Connecticut?  We need to remember and pray for everyone who is going through such hardships, not just the ones affected today.

So what can we do?  First of all, put politics aside.  Though I'm a political and social conservative, I really don't want to hear about the arguments for or against gun control on a day like this.  We're not going to solve the problems that lead to tragedies through laws or lack thereof.  The root cause of these evil events is in the heart, not in the legal or social system.  Today if I see a politician using this tragedy to promote their own viewpoint I would want to go up and slap them.  This isn't about politics.

We need to change hearts.  We need to embrace love.  No, I'm not going all "hippie" on you, and I don't believe in the kind of "tolerance" that the American political Left promotes.  We need to have a society that is based on morals and that embraces supporting each other rather than dividing ourselves.  Even just in my lifetime I've seen a breaking down of the family and an acceptance of things that really shouldn't be allowed.  All in the name of "tolerance".  I'm sorry, but there are many things in our society that we should not tolerate. By having a relativistic point of view we no longer tell people that something is "right" or "wrong".  And that leads to a belief that nothing is wrong.

Of course, as a fairly fundamentalist Christian (though non-traditional since I'm also a geek), I'm going to talk about the need for God.  As we have pushed God out of school, business, and the public eye we have also gotten rid of our moral yardstick and the sense of something holy.  We have lost our reverential fear of our Creator and the consequences of our actions.  The idea of loving enemies and supporting those in need seems so far away in much of today's society.  I actually feel sorry for those who don't have Christ in their lives, as in times of tragedy He is the perfect person to go to and rely on.  I know that God wants to comfort the broken hearts, if only people will let Him.  And if more people followed the example of Jesus, we would have fewer events like happened today.

Sorry if I've rambled today.  This entry is a bit more free-form than I usually do, and I plan on leaving it that way.  The events today made me think more than many things I hear on the news, in part because the children killed could have been friends of my own kids.

Stop right now and pray for these people and others like them around the world.  Then immediately find or call your own children, hug them if you can, and tell them that you love them.


  1. You do like easy answers don't you. It was Satan at work. Finland had 19 deaths total from gun-related violence -- but we have unfettered access to even military grade weaponry and a culture that glorifies violence every evening on TV. If you want more "love" in the world, give me a policy change that implements it -- like actually requiring churches to do good works as opposed to providing member services just like the country club down the street, except with yoga classes and babysitting for moms. What do you want to have changed? Any why do you think this kid wasn't loved?

  2. Gaia, you missed my point, didn't read my discussion well enough, and are getting into the more political side of things that I wanted to avoid.

    First, I never said that there were easy answers and I never said that Satan was responsible. You missed that part where I said that humans can be evil enough without outside help. These are often complicated psychological issues, but even so that in no way excuses the behavior. While I firmly believe that Evil (capital "E") exists and that Satan is real and can influence people, I don't think he's behind every evil (lowercase "e") act.

    I also wasn't just speaking about this particular event, it just brought it to my mind. The events in many countries around the world are tragic. On the same day in China a man attacked 22 children with a knife. This kind of event isn't limited to one country. And I never said that this kid wasn't loved or that a lack thereof was responsible for his actions.

    This will NEVER be solved with ANY policy change or law! If you think it will then you rely far too much on government. This is a fundamental change that needs to happen in each individual person. We also can't "require" churches to do any kind of good work. And while I agree that churches need to be more outward than inward focused, I can also see your cynicism in your words.

    What do I want? I want people to be more understanding and loving, even when they disagree. I am tired of the vitriol we see spewed in politics and how people nowadays can't seem to disagree without making it personal. And I'm sure you will disagree with me, but I absolutely believe in absolute Truth and firmly denounce relativism; this truth comes from God through the Bible. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a fundamentalist wacko to some people, but I'm also not going around condemning other people's beliefs or putting them down.

    But as I said before you missed my points, Gaia. I wanted to encourage people to be less hateful and judgemental to each other (as I'm seeing on both sides of politics right now over this issue), as well as make sure people really love and appreciate their children right away. All of that can be ripped away in a heartbeat. Don't take people in your life for granted. And don't spend time being hateful to each other.

    It starts with you, Gaia. And me. And everyone else. No policy will fix our problems. Being willing to change our hearts will.

  3. I think laws and policies can help, though to be honest what the US needs is a total societal overhaul. Unfortunately, that's never going to happen. Least not fast, anyways. I'm not religious (nor have I ever been), but I do work with families and research policies, so I have some insight into the matter of people, at least, and of the policies.

    There's never going to be an elimination of murders, or evil acts...not a complete elimination anyways. And I don't think you're saying that there will be. But the change needs to start from the bottom up. I've been doing some interviews for my mentor, and one parent had all his bones broke by his stepmother when he was 4 weeks old. He was then locked in a closet by his foster dad and barely fed for years. He doesn't hug his children, or kiss them, or even touch them. He has no idea how to, since he was never shown the love children need. Violence and hate is cyclical. Access to guns is only part of's a huge societal issue and there's so much that needs to be done to address it.

    You are the first person I've seen to actually say that they're doing anything, although yours have a more religious slant than most. So kudos to that.

    As to what I'm doing? Although it's going to take a while longer (I'm not quite done with my education), I want to stop the cycle in its tracks. I want to prevent kids that are lost from staying lost and from going this far down in the system that they murder or cheat or lie or feel like they have nowhere left.

    I don't know. I know this is rambly, but I've seen so much about this all over the place that I just had to say /something/. I don't know enough about the attacker's background to really be able to judge or evaluate his emotions, but I've met several kids that I'm scared to run into someday because of what they've gone through and the fact they have no one. Because those who have nothing to lose are the most dangerous.

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  5. Liz, I agree that we need a bottom-up change in how our society views friends, family, and strangers. That's the only way this is going to change. Guns/knives/clubs/etc. is not the problem. How people use them is the problem, and that's a change in the heart, as I said. But changing society is really difficult. Heck, nearly impossible! And if it is going to change (which I agree that it needs to), that level of change is going to come through people, not policies.

    Abby, thank you for your comments. I do realize that I have a very wide readership across the world, and I appreciate that. However, this has always been a blog about the life of a vet and everything an average vet faces, feels, and thinks. My goal has been to personalize veterinary medicine and let people see what goes on in the mind of an average vet. So that means readers are going to get very personal opinions from time to time, and personal opinions mean that I'm going to differ from or even alienate some readers. I'm okay with that, as I'm doing this more for fun than anything and am not making money off the blog. I'm also not afraid to delve into controversial subjects.

    My comment about the American political Left? Yeah, granted that was a bit of a political point, and I didn't initially see it as such. My point was that I wasn't venturing into the "accept everyone and everything no matter what" definition of "tolerance" that the Left promotes, and bringing up that side of politics was the quickest way to illustrate my point. But your point is taken there.

    I'm sorry if you see my response to Gaia as patronizing. That wasn't my intention, but Gaia did push some of my buttons. I'm only human and Gaia said some provocative things to which I felt compelled to respond.

    While I may be turning into a "public figure" and reach around a thousand people per day, it's important to me to make this a personal blog as much as a professional one. I'm not going to deliberately try and turn people away, but I'm also not going to hide who I am. Long-time readers know that I try to be polite and diplomatic, but the events in Connecticut this week really hit our family because it affected children in a way we haven't seen in the US in our lifetime.

    Thanks to everyone who does continue to read!

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  7. No problem, Abby. As I said this hit close to home for me and my wife because we have kids, nieces, and nephews in the age of the children affected. So my heart is a little more on my sleeve here than would normally happen.

    I think this whole exchange also ties into one of the points of me blogging. Veterinarians are human. Yes, we are professionals with certain standards and ethics that we must uphold. But that doesn't take away our human nature with our failings, frustrations, and differing appearances. As I've said before, a large part of my reason for blogging is to humanize and personalize vets beyond just the viewpoint of doctor. For better or worse, I feel that I've achieved that.

  8. People are the ones that carry out the policies. They design them. Although it won't be the end-all, be-all, it can certainly help if used correctly.

    The biggest thing is "used correctly". The majority of people today rush to judgment without knowing facts. Few attend public meetings. The majority have absolutely no idea how politics or policies work - we've elected Presidents and other leaders on under 50% voter turn-out before. Those kind of statistics are ridiculous.

    Policies cannot solve everything, but they can provide framework for people to use to help solve problems. Unfortunately, sometimes policies are the only way that certain programs can get what they need, through funding...

  9. Thanks for your vulnerability here, Chris. It's great to hear from another veterinarian who willing to think about and confront the important things of life outside of work.


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