In the midst of our sorrow over the tragic, senseless shooting in Virginia, don’t think that God doesn’t care.
What makes an act of violence so emotionally draining on those who encounter it is not so much the amount of blood that was shed, but the amount of inexplicability surrounding the bloodshed. Turn on the news and see that ISIS has butchered a village of Iraqi Christians, and you’ll certainly feel sorrow, empathy, and a host of other appropriate emotions.
But you probably won’t lay awake at night with your mind replaying those images on the grimmest of tape loops because, while the butchery is deplorable, it’s understandable. ISIS subscribes to an interpretation of Islam that demands the utter domination and destruction of those who don’t embrace their Islamic vision. Those Iraqi Christians didn’t embrace it. That’s why they were slaughtered. In response to the horror, you looked for an explanation, an answer to the question “why did this happen?” You found one, you wept, and you moved on.
But acts of violence like the WDBJ shooting in Virginia are often much harder to deal with. These brief acts of small-scale murder take far fewer lives than wars or natural disasters or organized terrorist attacks. But often they haunt our memories far longer than events with a much higher body count because they refuse to give a sufficient explanation for themselves.
The Less Sense It Makes, The Harder We Look
Why did this happen? Why, in Virginia, did a fame-seeking man (whose name I will not type) film himself murdering two entirely innocent people? How could an act of such of deliberate, unprovoked evil explode in the banal context of a morning interview on local TV?