I can remember the last two times I was shocked by some bad national news. The second to last was the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. At the time being a parent of school age children, I can remember a wave of grief go through me while trying to imagine the terror and the pain felt by the students, faculty, staff and families of the school.
The very last time I was shocked was on September 11, 2001. I heard about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center on the radio while I was driving into Philadelphia on that beautiful clear sky day. I remember the fear of not knowing what was next or if there were more attacks coming.
Now again, last Monday morningís sad news about another mass killing at the Washington Navy Yard. I call it sad news because to me these events are no longer shocking. It is sad and disappointing but not shocking. It may be part of the new normal being shoved down our throats. Investigators are trying to determine the killerís motive but does it matter? Evil is evil and you canít explain it or defend against it. Iíve lived long enough to tell you that evil is on a rampage in this world. More than ever, there is more bad news and atrocities all over the world every day.
There have now been so many mass murders and killing sprees that you can research them by category; workplace, school, religious, political, racial, domestic violence and others. The causes of these killings are varied and many unknown as numerous killers end the horror by killing themselves.
We all remember last summer, July 2012 in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie when 12 people were killed and 70 injured by a demented evil punk in a batman suit. My daughters and I were also at a midnight screening of the same movie on the same night while in South Carolina. We also had a young man in a Batman suit run through our theater. He surprised everyone and we all had a laugh. However, the next morning when we saw and heard the news about Aurora, we all felt that story deeper because we were in the exact scenario eight hours earlier and we could have just as easily been victims. I was saddened by the news, but I wasnít shocked.
I predict more of these same tragedies. It seems to me that now there is no social or spiritual force in the United States or the world to change things. I believe things here and overseas are much worse than they were six years ago. There is a feeling of chaos and a world spinning out of control.
The United States of America used to be the leader in the world for good, the stabilizing force. Now Americaís enemies have been emboldened by our lack of leadership and indecision. President Obama abdicated Americaís role and handed world leadership to a Russian former KGB tough guy, Vladimir Putin who out maneuvered Obama and took advantage of every Obama stumble and blunder in recent weeks over the Syrian chemical weapons issue. Mr. Obama, there is no such thing as ďlead from behind.Ē Letís see now if President Putin wins the next Nobel Peace Prize.
I try to be positive and look for the good in the world. I have not become a full time worrywart and I have not become desensitized to these mass killings and bad news, but I have become un-comfortably numb.
John C. Bieber is an author and columnist based in Berks County. He can be contacted at www.Facebook.com/john.c.bieber