And now I find myself wondering: What is worse, a mass shooting with a clear motive or one without any at all? I understand this question is on a par with asking whether you want onion rings or fries with your plate of ground glass, and I am more and more certain that whenever we answer fear and anger with more fear and anger, we get (wait for it) more fear and anger.
In a week of pipe bombs and supermarket shootings, the new normal has fully emerged. And just before the mid-term elections. Our "President" reckoned this: “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!” Of special note for me was the quotation marks around "Bomb," as if there was something figurative about them. Nope. These were the real deal. The exploding kind that needed to be disposed of by "bomb experts."
And then someone got it into their head to shoot up a synagogue. After the "President" suggested posting armed guards at this place of worship, he went on to bluster, "I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue. Anybody who does a thing like this to innocent people in temple, in church... they should really suffer the ultimate price." That would be killing someone for killing someone. An eye for an eye. Perhaps this was in keeping with his grasp of the Old Testament and Talmudic Law.
Or maybe he was, once again, using the opportunity to stoke the fires of hate when he should have been promoting peace. This came at the end of week that saw our "President" sending the Army to our southern border to fight off a stream of refugees from Honduras. This is the administration whose policy is "Halt or I'll shoot" without the halt.
Meanwhile, back on the elementary school playground, I hear daily from boys and girls who insist that their parents have taught them that if someone hits them, they should hit back. When I ask them what happens if they run into a kid whose parents have told them the same thing, they tend to shrug. That isn't their concern. These are fourth graders who are still in the process of learning empathy. I have hope for them.
I am not sure what we can do with the adults.