Monday, August 06, 2012

The shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colorado

Whenever I hear of another shooting incidence such as yesterday’s in Wisconsin and the earlier one in Colorado, I get stirred up inside with a number of emotions: horror, shock, but also titillation and curiosity. There is something compelling about random acts of violence. I am ashamed that I find such things fascinating, but I know that I am not alone in this. Journalism itself tends to run on the axiom, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Volumes could be written, and probably have been written, about why we find entertainment value in observing and telling each other about acts of violence. There is an excellent little film called The Gathering that examines this behavior. In his spoiler-free review of this film on Amazon, Steven Hedge writes:

In addition, consider how some of us go out of our way to view tragedy in its many shapes and forms. We are merely curious. Notice how we rush to the TV when we hear something like "a stuntman was killed on the set of a film today. Be advised that the following pictures are graphic." Wow, we don't miss that do we? Talk show tears notwithstanding, we have been desensitized to human suffering and this film explores that issue. In fact, this film not only explores our morbid curiosity with tragedy, but also our often disconnections to those around us that if we connected with them, we could avoid a tragedy.
  • Let us pray that the Lord comfort and heal all of victims and the families of these senseless shootings. 
  • Let us pray for the souls of the dead and the dying. 
  • Let us pray for souls of the perpetrators of these evils, and their families. 
  • Let us pray for our own souls, that we avoid the temptation to respond to such tragedies with morbid curiosity, frivolous or sentimental discourse, or vain argumentation with others. May the Lord instruct us in all proper and helpful response to the public tragedies of our world. 

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