Sunday, 9 January 2011
No such thing as a lone gunman
In the wake of the shooting in Arizona, one phrase from an online discussion has stuck with me: "There is no such thing as a lone gunman".
It is sobering to be confronted with the reality that there is a degree of culpability in all of us.
We are culpable when we set out to prove others wrong and ourselves right.
We are culpable when we resort to ridiculing others to discredit their views and political positions.
We are culpable when we think less of others because they are different.
We are culpable when we practice exclusion based on compliance to some nefarious set of conditions.
Few of us might resort to taking up arms but we belong to and have contributed to forming societies that promote venomous attack and violent opposition as an acceptable form of protest, a society in which it is the norm to dehumanise those we consider our enemy.
Whatever the rhetoric, whatever the revelations to be uncovered in this latest act of social and political violence, this incident is neither isolated nor divorced from any of us but calls all to account.
Our condemnation must be tempered by a willingness to examine closely our relationship with those with whom we disagree and an honesty about the violence living in us even as we seek to discern the voice of the God of peace inhabiting such darkness, prompting us to change so that our world might be different.