Murder Most Foul

The story shocks.

A mad man. Many dead children. A few adults dead. Parents weeping inconsolably.

The explanation, if available at all, pointed in the direction of the monstrous. How could any man think such an act normal.

And the man is now beyond the reach of justice. The victims were buried. Tales were told of the how and the why. People questioned their neighbors. They questioned God.

And Herod's slaughter of the innocents almost faded from the memory of mankind. It would have been forgotten, except for the way in which it intersected with the life of the most widely-remembered rabbi of the time.

The more recent slaughter of children (in a small town in Connecticut) had this in common with that ancient atrocity: both Herod and the modern-day shooter saw other people as obstacles to be brushed aside at will. The most important person in the area was acting, and the deaths of the children were all part of that person's importance.

Sometimes it seems as if the modern age cannot imagine evil. America's public debates sometime assume that businessmen are evil. Or religious leaders, if they hew too closely to the old standards. Others assume politicians and lawyers are evil, for telling the public lies that most seem to want to hear.

Then we learn of men who choose to cast aside lives. Maybe acting in response to insanity. Maybe acting in response to some imagined slight by a parent. Maybe acting because they have decided they love the death of others more than they love their own life.

Evil exists in this world. This level of evil cannot be gainsaid, legislated away, or stopped by speeches.

I hope to never meet such an evil person in the act of killing. But I prepare myself to be ready if such evil presents itself to me. And that is one reason I carry a pistol, where legally permitted.

Because a gun is only as dangerous as the person holding it.

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