Though I’ve tried to stay away from most of the media coverage surrounding the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, I have read a blog or two concerning the situation, one of which talks about our need to know why instead of merely grieving. (Read it here at Late Enough)
I’m not going to attempt to dissect this particular event, but it did make me think about the question that is asked so often when tragedy such as this strikes, when people hopelessly and painfully ask why? Why do people do these things? Why do people want to hurt others?
I believe the answer is the same whether it is secular or religious: Balance. Everything requires a semblance of balance to remain functional and in check. We love symbols such as the yin-yang, the compass, the scales, we love the idea of balance and harmony. But we very often fail to recognize that harmony needs chaos in order to be harmony.
In absolutely no way, shape, or form am I excusing actions such as these. But there is a part of us, of our order, our morality, our justice, our faith that need an example of the dark to find and appreciate the light. Many thousands, possibly millions of people are praying for the victims of this tragedy. Would they be calling on their faith otherwise? Many of us take a more humanistic approach and simply feel bad in our hearts for these people. We feel morally driven, sympathetic pain. We hope those so deeply affected by this are able to heal and carry on.
But we forget why we pray, why we sympathize, why we try to make sense of it. In order to keep our society in check, we need people who are all darkness, who are entirely void of morality (for whatever reason) to remind us that THIS. IS. WRONG.
There are screaming fights about gun control. There are cries for more stringent laws or practices concerning mental illness. These things are futile. We are never going to completely eradicate the people who do these things, nor will we ever be able to control them. We have proven this over and over again. We make new laws, new boundaries, new practices, but these things still happen. They, tragically, have to happen. We need to be reminded how balance works.
Our hearts should hurt for these people. They, for whatever reasons, are now serving as the reminders of this. They serve to remind us how we feel when something terrible happens. They serve to remind us that we are all human, that most of us are bound by the desire to live harmoniously. But perhaps it will help ease the pain, even if only on a tiny level, to understand that even tragedy has its place in the order of things.
*and light shines in the darkness