In Austin, Texas, a 53-year-old computer software engineer flies his small aircraft into an I.R.S. office, killing an innocent man as well as himself, injuring and traumatizing others and destroying federal property, because he’s angry—really angry!—with the U.S. tax system. According to reports, he was also really angry about bank bailouts, big government, Catholics and unions. Prior to removing his hateful self from the earth he scorched, he burned his house down, rendering homeless a wife and daughter, whom, based on the evidence, ashes, must also have made him really angry.
In Wichita, Kansas, a 51-year-old airport shuttle driver, a born-again Christian, shoots a 67-year-old doctor who is serving as a church usher because he performs abortions—not just any abortions, but third-semester! abortions. So much for the Sixth Commandment. At his trial, the “Army of God” soldier testified to planning the murder for 17 years, weighing pious deeds like opening fire on the doctor from his rooftop or chopping the doctor's hands off with a sword—the latter measure abandoned with unusual logic from a lunatic: because the maimed victim would still be capable of teaching others how to perform abortions. In the eyes of some abortion opponents, that “soldier” has risen to cult-hero heights.
And lest we forget, U.S. Army veteran Timothy McVeigh, recipient of the Bronze Star, had a grudge against U.S. domestic and foreign policy. He took it out on 168 strangers.
In each case, defense lawyers explained that their clients had grown frustrated.
When we were children in school, we learned about kamikaze pilots with incredulity. Now we find: kamikazis are us. At home we were taught to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Now, we have fellow citizens all too happy to kill to save life! We are a nation of sheep being led to slaughter OTHERS. What does it say about religion and politics in America—and Americans?
We are a nation of sheep being systematically shorn of our pride, our dignity, our civility. We are angry and hostile because we are prodded and pulled by forces we were brought up to believe in with blind faith and deeply want to trust. Clerics who do not practice or even mean what they preach. Politicians who divide and conquer the worst in us. Elected officials—elected to lead—who have so little respect for their followers they debase and demean them by assuming they have no intelligence at all and will believe anything they say, which they do!
Let’s not delude ourselves any more, that is, any more than we have—it isn’t going to get better until it gets worse, so much worse that political, clergical, business and civic leaders, talking heads and hate mongers, are forced to stop inciting the worst in human nature or face being devoured by it.