We like to categorize. It's what we do. This person belongs in this folder, this person belongs in this cabinet. The fork goes on the right, the knife goes on the left.
But there's categorizing, and there's distancing. And we have a disdainful taste for both. We read the news with disgust, a rightful disgust, and wonder who these people are. What kind of animals are they? How can they be so evil? How dare they walk and look as humans, and act like devils.
It's time for this conversation to stop.
It's time to stop distancing ourselves from the mentally ill, pointing our lewd fingers and saying they're not like us. The truth is, I think there's a lot more similarities between us than there are differences. I think we're frankly uncomfortable with how we all feel the same feelings, share the same world, look into similar mirrors. We exist in the same sphere of reality, although they have a much different (again, similar to all other people) and disordered interpretation of it.
We act like we're not capable of evil. As if only "those people" or substance abusers could possible allow sin to escape their grasp and become tangible. Physical. Real. We act like we've never felt a road rage, a jealousy, an absolute lividity at a cheating spouse. Like if we had a weapon in that moment we wouldn't think about -- just think about -- using it to execute revenge. As if we've never had the direct intention of harming or hurting someone before. But lets remember: we all do these things. Brain disorder or not, we all are capable of some very terrible acts. We all think things that we shouldn't, and we all act on things we will later regret.
As one very wise person once told a congregation, evil isn't out there. Evil isn't some foreign concept we can hide from or pretend we aren't acquainted with. Evil is in us. It lives in our bones and breathes in our lungs. Guns surely help to enable evil, but evil is a human trait. We are fallen and we are broken, in need of a God who is neither of these things.
As information comes to light about this recent shooting and its possible shooter, lets remember how very human we all are. lets remember how capable we are of the dark, but also of the light.