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Meditations
I Have Never Felt So Ashamed of America
By Martin LeFevre
May 25, 2022, 5:40pm

It's very difficult to write about the kind of evil that erupted again in America yesterday. Nineteen elementary-age children and two teachers were slaughtered by another 18-year-old acting out of bottomless hatred for people and life.

America is caught in a perpetual perfect storm of cultural collapse, rampant mental illness, unbridled darkness and evil, and roiled on a bloody sea of 400 million guns. Many of weapons are military assault rifles like the one used to mutilate the bodies of the young children in Uvalde Texas.

All of that is background. The foreground, and the reason nothing changes, is that "we the people" are dead. There are many euphemisms for this deadness - 'numbness,' 'zombification,' or the one President Biden used again today, "missing a piece of our soul." But inward deadness is the zeitgeist of the United States of America. Can the living dead come back to life?

Even Jesus didn't try to bring the inwardly dead back to life. When a man approached him and said he wanted to go with him, but told Jesus that he had to go back to his village and bury a relative first, Jesus shockingly said, "Let the dead bury their dead." Apparently it's easier to bring the physically dead back to life, as the supposed Lazarus miracle attests.

For the homicidally alienated young man who massacred all those beautiful little children, life was utterly meaningless, and the future held nothing but more darkness and deadness. He believed that only darkness is operating in the world today. Is it?

America isn't the only place where such slaughters occur. Even New Zealand had its own immersion in evil, when a lone gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch (of all namesakes) and murdered 51 people. There are millions of young men like this around the world, but in the USA, and in NZ three years ago, there were no people and structures in place to stop them.

Living in a world like this, many adults have become openly or secretly nihilistic. In their nihilism, which millions of America share (including Christian nationalists clinging to guns with their cold dead hands), the laughter of a little girl is not the sweet sound of innocence that lifts the heart with proof that goodness exists in the world.

And in the hellish world of the worst (who reflect core hellishness of this society), a little girl's laughter is an affront to their misery -- something to be snuffed out, as all joy and innocence was snuffed out in them. (Don't' forget, the 18-year-old kid kid-killer was still in high school himself.)

These are not "incomprehensible" crimes, as politicians and pundits repeat ad nauseum with each nauseating slaughter, but all too understandable in a culture like this. Understanding such evil however, requires facing the non-individualistic sources of such acts. But people reject any insight that might give some understanding because they believe that to even begin to understand such evil is to condone, or at least diminish individual responsibility for it. That's deeply false.

Americans say they want "answers," but they don't. They want to continue to believe that no one has responsibility other than the mass murderers. Why? So the masses can go on covering their asses rather than see and take responsibility for a culture that produces young men that can point an assault rifle at a seven-year-old and shatter her head and body into parental unrecognizability.

It is said that the killer acted alone. He did not. He had millions of complicit accomplices, adults who look the other way, or psychologize and politicize his action away, or put off the reckoning with a culture of hate and guns to another day. He also had all the metaphysical demons in the world behind and with him, urging him on with voices the psychiatrists and psychologists say are only his own, only in his own head.

No, these are not "incomprehensible" crimes, but painfully understandable in a culture and world like this. People use words like "incomprehensible," "unfathomable" and "inexplicable" to psychologically and emotionally keep themselves at a safe and comfortable distance. If they didn't, they would see, and they would feel. And if they saw and felt the cultural and human milieu that gives rise to such evil, they would change, and act.

But nothing changes because even something as totally disturbing to our very existences as massacring young children evokes only the same tired narratives, hackneyed half-truths and outright lies.

Whether there is a cosmic intelligence that watching in immeasurable sadness but does not interfere I don't know. But I am sure there is goodness and love in life, and that this culture and world are killing it.

The personal motivations and sickness of young men like the Uvalde child mass murderer are secondary. It's no longer possible to avoid collective darkness and evil. The accretion of darkness in human consciousness is leaving no space, destroying the earth and the human spirit.

We all have our own share of darkness, inherited from the generations before us, plus what we've absorbed from the culture and negligently accumulated in our own lives-what we blithely call "baggage" or karma.

By acknowledging, questioning and remaining with the darkness within, one is constantly learning. That turns the tables on evil, since darkness dissolves in the light of insight.

When even a small minority of people begins to live that way, evil will no longer rule the world.

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Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. lefevremartin77@gmail.com


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