It’s Monday night as I write this so I’ll not be specific about the casualties, the terrorist(s), or the motive(s). That would be premature and likely inaccurate. Whether this was an act of international or domestic terrorism probably won’t be known for some time. The heroism and selfishness of first responders and medical personnel are already legend. Americans have reacted as Americans do with swift action to help the suffering and cool resolve to find the perpetrators. What interests me is how this plays out in the American psyche. I have several observations.
Such repeated tragedies condition modern society to accept the new paradigm of life that there is no safe place; not a movie theater in Colorado, an elementary school in Connecticut, and a church in Texas. Acts of mass violence have taken place in shopping malls, office environments, and our tallest skyscrapers. It’s etched on the minds of everyone. Anything terrible could happen any time anywhere. I grew up in a world, as did many of you, where such things never happened, nor did we live in fear that they might happen. All that has changed. We are frisked in airports, surveillance cameras and drones watch our every move, and suspicious eyes track our actions. At the core of culture we are in danger of being a frightened and plainly paranoid people.
If only Someone could come along with answers to all of this. Someone who could deliver on a promise to keep us safer. We the people (I except myself) would give up a lot of freedoms (we already have) just to feel safer. We’re being pushed to the edge of a new kind of “benevolent” totalitarianism. We’re being scared into ceding ever more control over our lives and more invasive violations of privacy to that someone who will offer us peace and calm our fears. The stage is rapidly being set for that someone to take control and make it all better. Keep your eyes open and your heart turned to heaven lest that someone deceives even you. Christ has warned us in Mark 13:22: For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect-if that were possible.