What happened in Parkland, Florida is indeed a tragedy, but it’s a story we’ve seen before, and will probably see again.
So far it seems that the LA Times has the best fact-only profile of the incident and the perpetrator. It’s fairly complete as of today (March 5, 2018) given what we already assume to know so I encourage you to read it first before proceeding.
We’ve seen this before
We’ve seen this before several times. You already know them:
- Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5, 2017
- Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1, 2017
- Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016
- San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015
- Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015
- Washington, DC on September 16, 2013
- Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012
- Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012
- Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009
- Binghamton, New York on April 3, 2009
Of these Orlando, San Bernardino, and Fort Hood are acknowledged to be the result of Islamic terrorism. Only Parkland, Aurora, and Fort Hood have perpetrators that have survived.
No really, we’ve seen this before
The story of Cain and Abel is frequently quoted as a jealous man killing his brother. This story is over-simplified on many, many levels often for expedient or even underhanded reasons. Here’s the real story of Cain and Abel.
Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. You have to remember that Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden for eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is important mainly for the reason that in this act of defiance mankind becomes aware of it’s inadequacies, vulnerabilities, and short-comings. After being cast from the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve (and by extension mankind) was made to suffer and work. Suffering and work mean sacrifice.
Cain had a problem with sacrifice. There are several interpretations of this many of which are open to debate but the two popular theories are that he wasn’t sacrificing the right things or that he wasn’t sacrificing enough in the eyes of God. No matter how hard he felt he tried or what he felt he sacrificed but God denies his sacrifices. Cain confronts God but God suggests to him that his sacrifices can be accepted if he sacrifices the right things (Genesis 4:7).
Cain doesn’t like this answer but tries again, and every subsequent sacrifice is denied. The secondary story here is that in the Hebrew tradition, the first born is usually the leader of the group or family. But because God is accepting Abel’s sacrifices and thereby blessing him with the rewards that come with it, Cain is seeing this as a possible usurpation.
Cain then kills Abel. By killing God’s favorite disciple Cain effectively tells God that he refutes his power and therefore refutes humanity (remember, humanity is sacrifice). In other words, Cain feels himself above God and humanity (man is made in God’s image).
Mass shootings are exactly the same story. The murderer feels themselves above humanity. In many cases (Parkland, Newtown, Sutherland Springs, etc.) they double down on this notion by killing obviously and overly innocent people (like children).
Sometimes this ends in suicide or induce the police into taking them out. This is the ultimate “finger” given to God: basically the murderer is saying that they not only reject humanity but they also reject life itself. It’s a final solution to what they see as the problem.
What this means
By murdering innocent people the murderer denies God and His creation. There’s a very good chance we’ll see this again. The murderers will feel that their sacrifices and work will be denied and will therefore take revenge on God (humanity). There will be more killings of some type or another, as there has been throughout history - the volume of which varies, as a denial of humanity.
It’s sadly a story as old as time.