Saturday, August 17, 2019 -
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Chasing madness

Breaking news is rarely a stagnant beast. But once 50 people were said to have been killed at an outdoor concert Sunday night in Las Vegas, it became the worst mass shooting in American history. Fifty dead has since climbed to 59. Instead of the originally reported 200 injured, that number has now soared to 527. Facts can be as fluid as a bloodied river.

The shooter’s age is documented, as are the 23 rifles (including AR-15-style assault rifles) he had in his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. But his motivation remains a stark enigma. For those cut down by that hailstorm of bullets, and their families, “why” pales in comparison with the deed. Death is a very stagnant beast.

There’s been a lot of talk about safety, as if safety were a given. Look around. Whether it’s an earthquake, a hurricane, a flood or a madman, safety feels like an illusion. Now what?

We can still go to concerts and baseball games and all manner of public events and places. No one is stopping us, except this “new normal” of ours. Wise men have long advised us to live as if there were no tomorrow. It’s both a sound concept and tinged with fatalism.

Guns don’t kill. Bad people kill, especially if they have unfettered access to weapons. If we learn nothing else, let us finally internalize this fact. If there is no way to predict or prevent a human being from acting upon his or her twisted impulses, then take away the tools.

Our words exhaust us. Over and over again, they reappear. In a few weeks, other items will fill these pages — until something equally horrific happens.

The experts warn us to say something if we see something. But we cannot see the invisible. We cannot see inside an evil soul. Is there inherent danger in a hotel room, a grocery store, a movie theater — or a synagogue?

Our words exhaust us. Over and over again, they reappear. May the time come when our cups overflow with joy instead of nightmares.

Copyright © 2017 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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