Does Ideology Really Incite Someone to Mass Murder?

OK, so this is usually an upbeat family blog, but I have to take on a topic that distresses me to no end. So if you like reading the fluffy stuff, you may want to skip this one. I won’t hold it against you.

In the wake of the horrific shooting of a congresswoman, wounding of 13 and killing of six others at a community event, certain media outlets are already speculating that the vast right wing conspiracy is to blame. I feel very strongly that mental illness or evil are the only satisfactory explanations for behaving in this manner.  Any attempt to assign political motive, even sometimes when expressed by the attacker, is in itself despicable – an attempt to capitalize on tragedy to point fingers at political opponents.   Each time some horrible tragedy such as this shooting occurs, I listen and wait, for the finger-pointers to come out.

Sometimes the pointy fingers belong to respected media outlets, and sometimes they are the Tolerant Ones, who love to sit on their pedestal and point out the intolerance of those who don’t agree with them. And many people jump on the bandwagon to begin the witch trials.

Obviously, I am not a psychologist.  But I do have a gift for understanding and assessing people.  Some call it interpersonal intelligence.  Some call it discernment, or intuition.  Whatever it is, I believe God gifted me with it.

What I see with each mass murder tragedy is insanity, which latches onto an ideology to justify the actions which were already planned in the heart. Whether it’s Schizophrenia, severe Bi-Polar, Sadism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder? I don’t know. I have no idea.

But I do know that any sane person would not turn their passion for society into an excuse to murder others.

We’ve seen it many times:

  • An anti-abortion activist, in what he claims is Christian defense of the unborn, bombs a building and kills. This is insanity. The activist used the pro-life ideology to justify his murderous heart. Most Christians do not think this is OK.
  • A Muslim terrorist orchestrates a suicide bomb attack carried out by one of his disciples.  There are millions of Muslims who don’t do this, so my conclusion is that this person wanted to murder.  He found and twisted the belief system to fit his intentions.
  • A bullied teen turns an automatic weapon on his classmates. There are many bullied teens who don’t turn to murder. This is mental illness, which drives a person to irrational violence. Bullying is horrible, but it doesn’t cause mass murder. The person who pulls the trigger is responsible for that.
  • The same is true when an environmental activist shoots up a crowd, convinced that the population must be reduced in order to save the planet. Again, was it the environmental ideology which caused the violence? Or was it one man’s twisted interpretation to fulfill his evil desires?

So can we put away the pointy fingers? Just as a disturbed person justifies his mayhem with his chosen ideology, despicable people capitalize on the tragedy in order to demonize his political opponents.

If someone is intent on murder, he will do it.  We can ban guns, censor speech, stifle religion.  But the fact remains, we live in a fallen world. There is evil and sin here on earth.  There is also God’s grace, which comforts us in the face of irrational tragedy. This is what we must cling to, not the blaming.

I know this is a hot topic, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. However, I’ll have to moderate anything that personally attacks someone else or doesn’t constructively further the conversation.

Thanks to Karla Porter for finding the shooting statistics for me

UPDATE: I do have to point out that I do not advocate Sarah Palin’s use of gun metaphor for politics.  Also, it is now surfacing that the gunman was associated with a fascist, anti-semitic anarchist group, and NOT the tea party.  My point is that it is irresponsible to ascribe his inspiration and motives without a thorough assessment and pouring over his writings and actions. People immediately jumped on a group they politically oppose without evidence, and that is what I disdain.

And if you think Sarah Palin was the only one to use a target map to point out political opponents, read this, from Shane Vander Hart.