My analysis of the Las Vegas concert murders will be a little different than whatever else you’ve read on it:
1. It doesn’t center around the shooter, Stephen Paddock.
2. It offers the real reason.
3. It offers a real solution.
In America, tragedy separates politicians from elected leaders. Politicians address their base. Leaders address the problem. Gun control is a perennial Democratic Party favorite. What it says is, “We want to let those who vote for us to continue to engage in self-destructive, community-destroying and violent behavior, live out their fantasies in public, no matter how far disconnected from reality, but we want to limit the destruction such people can inflict upon others while they do so.”
Leaders, on the other hand, seek to understand the underlying issues and work to solve the problem within the confines of constitutional government. Oh, and their solutions really do solve the problem.
Which brings us to Las Vegas. People love puzzles, and that’s what this has become. The question is, what could possibly have motivated Paddock to murder 58 strangers he’d never even met, and to injure hundreds more?
At this point in the news cycle, many people would be happy to find a pathway from ISIS to the killer. That would explain what happened. Wouldn’t it? He was radicalized. There! We gave it a name.
Radicalization is the gun-control myth all over again. “Oh, that explains it. When we eliminate ISIS, the radicalization pathway will be eliminated. Then we can continue on with our lives as we always have.”
No, and no. No, the radicalization path will not be eliminated, because another one will quickly emerge. And no, you cannot carry on with your life as you always have, because that is what has caused the problem.
But if the radicalization path can’t be eliminated, surely we can intervene before tragedy strikes, right? Between law enforcement and America’s intelligence agencies, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually trying to do just that. Summarize it as this: By knowing everything about everyone, we will stop bad people from doing bad things, before they act.
So, how has that worked out, America? There are millions of people who fly today who don’t remember when you could walk onto an airliner without identification and without passing through a security gauntlet. The 9/11 hijackers, by the way, went through one. Many months before 9/11, the FBI was notified by flight instructors of curious students who didn’t care to learn about takeoffs and landings; they just wanted to fly. No investigation ever happened. 9/11 did.
As a secular culture, America and most of the West is incapable of understanding what it faces. That makes it defenseless, pure and simple. You’re not going to defend against something you don’t believe exists. This mindset insures that the defenses you do erect won’t work.
It is impossible in today’s world to be an educated person without understanding that the supernatural realm exists and that it influences human behavior in the natural world. It was a major part of what Jesus taught, but even churches today rarely touch upon the subject. Hence their powerlessness to act in the modern world.
In the aftermath of great evil, always the secular world’s explanation evades the facts. “No, he was prescribed powerful drugs. No, he had mental-health issues. No, he had a troubled marriage, breakup, career, or other extenuating circumstances.” So do lots of other people, but they react differently.
Some years after I came out of the Cold War era, I had an opportunity to converse with a noted environmental attorney fresh from a big Supreme Court victory. He asked about what work I had done. I related the conversation with a Russian fighter pilot, who had been ordered to shoot down a civilian airliner over Siberia. The pilot argued that the plane was a civilian airliner, but he followed his orders. The plane made an emergency landing on a frozen Siberian lake.
The attorney was silent for a time, looking at me. Finally he said, “If what you are telling me is true, then everything I have believed about the Soviet Union over my entire life is wrong.”
“That’s right,” I said. The two-hour conversation ended.
That’s where America and the West’s secular leaders are today. Everything they have believed about the supernatural world and pure evil is wrong. It exists. It influences human behavior, sometimes in terrible, terrible ways. Yet to accept what they see happening before them and move onto real solutions, they would have to acknowledge that their view of the world for most of their life has been wrong.
The question for us today is: How many hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of innocent people will die in outrages we can’t yet even imagine before our secular world leaders admit that pure evil exists, and that the only weapon against it is what Jesus taught his followers? Perhaps the question in front of that one is: Will the Christian church disavow secularism, and return to what Jesus taught? For therein is the world’s hope.
A friend’s daughter survived the Las Vegas outrage. Find a summary and link in my blog, Dispatches Across Eternity.