I want to talk for a moment to those who disbelieve all spiritual narratives--the secularists who think gods are delusions and religions are folly. I want to talk about a repeating pattern in ghastly crimes. The killer kills a number of people. Then, in many cases, he kills himself.
The religious person may well look at this in terms of demons and demonic influence. The disbeliever in such things needs to cast about for words like psychopathology and schizophrenia that are longer. Grant that we are talking on some level about the same thing. We see the one outcome and have two explanations.
Under either explanation, passing laws to deter madmen does not deter them. They mean to kill themselves; what can the law do to them after that?
Or let us say the crazed murderer gives up to police instead--some do. Already he faces justice for multiple murders. He will get the maximum--life in prison, the death penalty or commitment, permanent we may hope, as criminally insane. No add-on penalty, say for evading a gun law, makes any difference when added atop those.
You see, whether they are following their demons or their psychopathologies, these people's lives are dedicated, all out, to doing the evil they envision. They have already abandoned all hope of a normal life to follow, of times shared with friends and loved ones, a few beers with the boys, a vacation trip or new life challenges such as starting a business or enhancing a career. No: All of that is already off the table. They mean to do their evil and afterward--well, that is that. They will be dead or put away somewhere.
So the threat of other and lesser legal sanctions means nothing. They do not care a whit. It is not just the high profile cases, the ones that make the national news, that I am talking about. The same dynamic is at work in grubby little stories on page three, "Mom kills kids and self, neighbors at a loss to explain." Or, "Murder-suicide at trailer park, four dead."
If a criminal lunatic has already made up his mind to go for broke to work his evil, the commission of a few incidental felonies and misdemeanors along the way won't bother him. That is why it is unpersuasive to say we need more laws against the means of committing these crimes, such as guns. The determined evildoer will find the means somehow.
From the Daily Mail:
French council gunman kills himself
The French man who shot to death eight members of a city council in suburban Paris this week killed himself today by jumping out a window, police said.
Richard Durn, 33, killed himself while in police custody, jumping from an upper story window of police headquarters in Paris, authorities said.
Witnesses told French radio that he writhed on the ground before dying.
During a day of interrogation, Durn told police he often "thought about killing someone and killing himself afterward." [...]
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Anders Breivik shocked Norway with his rampage of bombing and shooting: 77 dead. Again, Norway's gun laws are much stricter than ours. If you read the news accounts carefully, Breivik circumvented the laws by acting normal for years. He kept his nose clean, joined a sports organization, filled out his paperwork and thus jumped through every hoop in the way of what he wanted. The determined demoniac or madman (take your pick) is often able to do that--act normal when required. The Norwegian legal system found Breivik sane after his deeds, in a move that may have owed more to legal expediency than factual exactness. But, after all, just because someone is manifestly unhinged does not mean he is insane in a narrow legal sense.
Major Nidal Hasan, who shot up Fort Hood, was also found sane, and had likewise lived a life of outward normalcy for years before his homicidal rampage. Hasan was breaking base regulations when he armed himself to do the shooting. He, like the other soldiers, was not supposed to be armed. That is why it took so long to stop him. The people he was shooting at were following regulations and did not have their own guns--those were put away as per the regs. It's a little ironic that he could with impunity open fire on soldiers.
Whether these killers are sane or not, they were surely not following the better angels of their natures. And they didn't care about the later outcomes of their deeds. It is reported that Breivik smirked as he was sentenced.
So then, all you who do not believe in demons, only pathologies, why is it we see repeating patterns in evil deeds, the same ideas, the same MO's, the same unhinged thinking time and again? If all these crimes are the actions of independent actors, why are they so much the same? If they are in fact the outworkings of diseased brains, and nothing else, why are they not more original in concept?
It is not my purpose here to try to convert the unbeliever. I am not in church right now. I do want to make it clear that whatever you wish to call it, a murderous evil is among us that manifests itself in consistent ways, and it cares nothing for our laws.