Making sense ... seeking understanding. What can one say?
Mental illness. There was something wrong with the shooter that led him to do this, and if we wish to stop this kind of event we have to improve our capacity to identify and treat mental illness.
American Culture. There is something wrong with our culture that celebrates the use of violence to settle scores real and imaginary. If we want to put an end to this kind of killing we have to delegitimize violence in our society.
Evil. There is something called Evil that drives people to commit such horror. Some people thought this Evil is conscious and deliberative-more like a Devil-and some saw it as an unconscious and haphazard force like a virus. Those who spoke of the former sought help from an equally conscious and deliberate Power for Good, some call God. Those who spoke of the latter sought help from a more earthly power, cultivating compassion rather than competition, and community rather than class warfare. All agreed that if we want to put an end to this kind of violence, we will have to admit the existence of this Evil and learn to immunize ourselves against it.
I said very little, suggesting only that if Evil is a virus it may be that it might more easily infect people with certain kinds of mental illness, that a society that celebrates and romanticizes killing may make its citizens more vulnerable to Evil's infection, and that if Evil is spreading like pandemic in our society, I don't see a way to immunize ourselves against it, or at least not a way that we Americans could or would accept. We worship violence to the point of imagining gods who sanction it in this life and revel in it in the next life. I fear that we are reaching a tipping point where Evil defines us and nothing defends us.
How can we sing in time of sadness???? From Rabbi David Wolpe, Temple Sinai, Los Angeles, CA.
Leonard Cohen on 'Hallelujah' in LA Times (24 September 1995): "I wanted to write something in the tradition of the hallelujah choruses but from a different point of view. I think the other song that is closely related to that is 'Anthem.' It's the notion that there is no perfection--that this is a broken world and we live with broken hearts and broken lives but still that is no alibi for anything. On the contrary, you have to stand up and say hallelujah under those circumstances." (h/t Menachem Butler.)
Let us take time to reflect on the deepest meaning of life. What really counts? What really matters?