This week the Faith in Memphis panel reflects on the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo.
It is only human to want an easy answer to why anyone would want to commit mass murder. How can one explain such deranged behavior? No theory can heal the devastating results in the lives of the people suddenly turned upside down by a torrent of bullets.
It would be a mistake, however, to only seek the individual circumstances that culminated in the Aurora horror as if it has no sociological relationship with the culture of American society, or the Columbine shooting that took place only twenty miles away. There are not two classes of people: those who commit murder and those who don’t. The line dividing good and evil runs through every heart. The larger question is how a society encourages the good while restraining the evil.
For example, is there a moral difference between selling assault rifles and hunting rifles?
Perhaps we cannot defend against the disease of the mind that can plan and execute mass murder, but we can make it more difficult to obtain the weapons whose only function is to kill people quickly and efficiently.
Our laws say something about our morality. Our individual freedom is not dependent upon taking the right to bear arms to an extreme that the founders of our nation never intended. The common good always balances individual rights. What is the value of a human life? I believe it is more important than the right to possess an assault rifle that can kill and wound seventy-one people in a matter of seconds.