By Way of Introduction

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him vote. They would have to modify the booth to accommodate his horse shape.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Charmed Life

I was just reading a(nother) article about a school shooting, this one at Florida State University. In this case only the shooter was killed, at least as of this writing. There were a couple of points that the article made that got me thinking, and the first was how the perpetrator had been posting about things religious and also about his theory that the government is reading our minds, etc.

One: if the government is reading your mind, don't you suppose they'd know you were about to go full Postal and shoot up a library?

Two: why do crazed lunatics almost always identify as religious?

I'm not going to answer those questions, as they seem fairly rhetorical to me.

According to a USA Today piece on the shooting, Jason Derfuss, assumed to be a student at FSU, was near the shooter when he opened fire, not realizing until later that one of his books took a bullet for him:

 "He was about five feet from me, but he hit my books. I assumed I wasn't a target, I assumed I was fine. The truth is I was almost killed tonight and God intervened."

Now, we all hear sports figures thanking their deity when they perform well, and we kind of shrug it off, even if we are religiously inclined. It seems harmless enough, even funny. As if a god that supposedly lets us live our lives unhindered while exercising our him-given free will would step in now and again to help some dipshit throw a ball, catch a ball, hit a ball, etc., but not to stop millions from starving, dying of disease, or being murdered. But then somebody makes the kind of statement that Mr. Derfuss made and people kind of nod. "I can see that. He must have special plans for this kid. It just wasn't his time."

No whammies, no whammies, no whammies...
Bullshit. I call shenanigans. I understand the feeling of a charmed existence, as I too have had near misses in my life. There was the car accident, there were the two times I had guns pointed at me, there was the time at the mall when someone started shooting only twenty or so feet from me, bullets going all over the damn place. I felt lucky, charmed, maybe even blessed. You see, I grew up going to church. I haven't always been a godless heathen. Still, the problems with such sentiments are many. Please go tell the parents of the Sandy Hook victims that God just didn't see the benefit in intervening on behalf of their children. Tell the spouses and children of all the military men and women that God was too busy honing a child-beating Adrian Petersen's running skills to stop the slaughter.

You see the problem with being "blessed?" The law of opposites come into play. If you're blessed, then necessarily all the people who didn't survive the (fill-in-the-blank) shooting were damned. "That was their purpose here on Earth, to die a dog's death at the hands of some crazed asshole." Doesn't sound very nice when you put it that way. How about: "Your child/spouse/parent simply wasn't that important." Still kind of nasty. "God's plan involved them only peripherally. Hope you hadn't gotten too attached."

None of those are really any good. So maybe we should just fall back on the old stand-by:

Your puny human mind couldn't possibly fathom the vast greatness of His plan.

Right. Got it.