We grow ever closer to the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks which shook many Americans from their complacency. How quickly was vanquished the hubris that our nation was invulnerable to mass murders committed by those claiming religious grounds for exterminating others whom they considered to be the enemies of their faith and political ambitions. In the ensuing years, we’ve seen similar horrendous deeds around the globe, perpetrated by those who find their prejudices and fanaticism sufficient cause to terminate the lives of individuals with whom they’ve not had any contact—people essentially unknown to them who are sacrifices on the altars of their fanaticism, from whatever source such toxic beliefs might spring.
More recently, here in the United States we’ve had an increase of incidents wherein disturbed individuals have used firearms to murder people en masse. Some have been disgruntled employees seeking revenge for what they deemed unfair treatment. Others have harbored personal rage which blasted past boiling, so that their fury for whatever has frustrated their sense of just desserts has lead to fatal attacks on random victims. These malcontents are possessed of a narcissism that justifies the sacrificing of innocent lives towards making society atone for imagined calumnies against them. They have no empathy for those whom they execute on the altars of their egomania. Some have taken to calling these “acts of domestic terrorism,” yet the causes for such atrocities are broader than simple faith-based attacks on those of differing beliefs. As serial killers have been studied and profiled, it is time for those surviving killers to be analyzed so that awareness can be heightened and techniques evolved towards anticipation and prevention of future massacres.
The reality that humans incubate loathing for others, whom they deem less than human so that they can be used as fodder to sate their self-cultivated wrath, is a truth we must face. Surely many more will perish to those whose consciousnesses are arid, thorny landscapes wherein twisted emotions arise and seek violent expression. It is a challenge we must meet if we are to craft societies in which we can proceed without fear as we seek to fulfill our chosen means of creative fulfillment.
For reason to triumph, it is clear that religious barbarism must be vanquished. Additionally, the savagery of those whose vanity and self-absorption finds others to be fodder for their seething outrage must also be curtailed. Perhaps then, our societies might actively evolve towards sanity, equity and liberty, bringing a safer pursuit of vital existence into being.
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore