by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Unlike those who have quickly politicized yesterday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Matt Walsh offers a different take. In his latest column, “This Is Not About Politics Or Policy. This Is Evil. And Evil Is Everywhere,” he writes,
I have sometimes noticed in myself the temptation to use a tragedy as a bludgeon against my political opponents. I notice it and I am disgusted by it. I think there is a strong current in our culture pulling us all towards this unhuman state. We’re all being made into sociopaths. And you can’t point to just one catalyst. I think social media plays a part. So does the internet generally. So, probably, does the media and Hollywood. The breakdown of the family is a huge factor. On and on. All of it conspires to create a kind of moral numbness. And I think we all can see some bit of it in ourselves if we’re being honest about it.
But our instinct to politicize has another source as well, I think. We turn to politics in order to explain evil because it makes us feel safer. If we can put evil in a nice little box; if we can contain it; if we can dream up easy solutions; if we can boil it down to a political party or a policy or a law or anything, then we don’t have to face the most terrifying reality: that evil is everywhere. All around us. Not just around us but, worst of all, within us.
The difficult truth is that we will never “solve” mass shootings. They happen because we are a fallen race inhabiting a broken world. They happen because evil is real and it lives among us. No strategy, no policy, no law is going to change that. There are some things we can do to minimize our vulnerability — more security in the schools, for instance — but the actual source of the problem runs much deeper than any plan of action we can come up with. I have to believe it’s possible that things can at least get a little better, even if they will never be perfect in this life. But no improvement can be achieved until we are willing to look the issue in its face and call it what it is.
The acknowledgment of evil requires acceptance of an objective moral code, a notion rejected by those who purport to know better.