Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shooting at Fort Hood

The WTVA alert flashed on my phone just moments ago.  "Fort Hood Shooting - 1 dead, 14 wounded," it announced. My first thought was, "That was years ago!" It was quickly followed by the frightening thought that it WAS years ago, but perhaps it had happened again.  

In fact, it has. 

In 2009, an army psychiatrist opened fire at Fort Hood. When the shooting stopped, eleven people were dead. Two more would join them before the dying was done.  Thirty more people were wounded. There is no way to estimate the collateral damage in the lives of families, friends, and coworkers. A military trial eventually found the gunman guilty on all 45 counts and he is now on death row. 

Justice has been served and the maniac is behind bars. We are safe. Or so we thought. It turns out that there are more crazed gunmen and they are shooting again. There are more deaths and there are more injuries. Not only are there more deaths and more injuries, but those poor people at Fort Hood have been forced to relive their worst nightmare. 

I do not understand. I do not like this. 

I had enough of brutality as a child in rural Mississippi in the late 1960's, where the nightly news was filled with the horror of the Vietnam war and the daily count of young men who were either wounded beyond what we could believe or dying for something we didn't understand. Our days were filled not only with bomb drills designed to prepare us for a nuclear attack but also with the confusion of integration and the effort of blending two disparate cultures into a whole that would, one day, (we hoped) bring equality and unity to us all. 

Then there was Iraq and Afghanistan. If we are not fighting, the rest of the world is, and the war rages on.  I am sick of it, but in this world, there will always be wars and rumors of wars. There will be tragedy and humans will do the unthinkable. 

The problem is not guns, or alcohol, or fast cars, or any of the other convenient targets. The problem is US. We humans have a bent for wrong-doing that we refuse to deny, and the toll it has taken is absurd. It is senseless. It leaves the world a dark and scary place. 

We CAN be a light in the darkness. We are supposed to be a light in the darkness. If enough of us would choose right over wrong, and actually live accordingly, we could make a difference. The light could shine in the darkness and overcome it. We could. If we would. 

I, for one, am taking a stand against the darkness. Let your light so shine before men, Jesus said, that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. It's time we started shining, dear ones. The darkness has won enough. 

Shine your light.