When Does It Stop?
By: Zach Collins
Let me begin this blog post with an interjection: My intent is not to manufacture a political argument whatsoever. Now, let’s get started. I, along with others, awoke Monday morning to the news of another public mass shooting. This time, the shooting was the worst incident of the sort in the history of our nation. Over 50 human beings died, while over 500 other human beings were wounded. Now, notice that I said human beings. I did not say political assets. Have we become so callused to tragedy, as a society, that we no longer remember that the victims of these shootings had hopes, dreams, and aspirations? Have we become so politically oriented that we use tragedies, such as this shooting, in order to gain an upper hand politically? As expected, this incident has rekindled the conversation of gun control within our society. People are going to say, “If we didn’t have guns, these things would not happen.” Perhaps. More restrictions on guns would restrict access to guns. Or maybe, sales and illegal actions involving guns could increase. During the prohibition era, the government felt outlawing sales and consumption of alcohol would solve the “moral” problem that was growing within society. Did it work? Uh, no. In the 1970’s and 1980’s we started the ever-so successful “War on Drugs.” Did it stop drug sales and drug use? No, in fact, it has only gotten worse. Did you know? There are 91 overdose deaths every day in the United States. What about homicide? Murder is illegal. Has that stopped centuries of humans from committing the act? Has that stopped, or lessened, the homicide rate within our inner cities? If you look at the homicide rates of Detroit, St. Louis, or Chicago, you will find your obvious answer. We could go back and forth about gun violence, gun control, and the political ramifications these issues have on our nation and culture. You can continue to blame our problem on things such as gun control or the society in which we live. Or maybe, you can look deeper. The answer is usually not found on the surface. The fact of the matter is, we have a problem within our nation that seeps deeper than gun control. A problem that seeps deeper than drug overdoses. A problem that seeps deeper than homicide. These are mere effects of the underlying problem. Recent events, such as this shooting, has brought that problem to the surface. Yet, we refuse to acknowledge it. What do homicide, drug-related deaths, and gun-related deaths all have in common? All of them relate to the death of human life in one form or another. Here, I will make it simple. Let us say it together; WE no longer value our life or the lives of other human beings. So, how do we solve these issues? For every problem there is a solution, right? In this case, it is quite simple. Lately, I have been thinking about servant hood, or the act of serving others. Moreover, I have been thinking about the positive ramifications that arise from such an ideal in the lives of others. Servant hood comes in various forms. Each servant hood is specific to the individual. But one of the most important forms of servant hood is simple; Value the lives of others by using your servant hood to serve others in a positive manner. Everyone has issues and problems, but how often do we, as human beings, talk to others about their issues and problems? Had someone committed an act of servant hood, or gave a word of encouragement to Dylan Roof, would he have walked into a Church building in South Carolina and killed nine human beings? Had someone talked to Aaron Lewis about his problems, would he have shot and killed twelve innocent human beings? If someone had taken time to talk to James Holmes, would he have walked into a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado and continued to murder twelve human beings? Had someone performed an act of servant hood towards Adam Lanza, would he have walked into an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut and killed twenty innocent little children and six innocent human beings? I do not know. Evil exists in many forms throughout our society. Only until it rears its egregious presence, through events such as the aforementioned, do we acknowledge it. Sometimes there is no explanation for incidents, such as these, that leave us all impassioned. Maybe these shooters would have continued to commit the vile acts of evil for which their names are notorious despite any effort of interjection. Yet, I do know this. If we continue down a road of politicizing such events, there will continue to be more events. If we continue to disregard the lives of other human beings, through unspeakable forms, then other lives will be disregarded. If we continue in failing to see the significance and importance of other human beings as a result of our differences, then we will never truly understand the value of life. The fact of the matter is, evil has always existed and will continue to exist. If we continue to condone evil, then it will continue to thrive. If we continue to accept evil in its many forms, then we will be guilty of the lives it destroys. If we continue to make excuses for evil, then it will consume our lives. Simply put, we cannot stop evil. However, if we acknowledge evil and make an effort to deter it, perhaps through acts of servant hood, then we might save the lives of other human beings. If we make an effort to value the lives of every human being, then maybe others will feel valued. The problem does not lie with laws, regulations, or restrictions. It does not lie with a particular culture or society. The problem lies with each individual person. The ball is in our court. What action are we, as human beings, going to take in order to demonstrate the value of life in other human beings? What actions are we as human beings going to take to make these things stop?