Sunday, October 21, 2007


This is what happens when you no longer have strong communities where people know each other and look out after one another. In the wake of the shooting in a Cleveland high school, the city, already strapped and barely making it along, will spend over three million dollars to install metal detectors in all of its schools (not to mention the cost of having people to man them etc.)

Is this not disturbing? It is not the cost, but the fact that we feel it necessary to have metal detectors in schools. And further, it is not that there might be another kid out there who might be on the path to becoming the type of person who would do the same thing, but that our communities have so fallen apart that there was not one person who was there to help this boy in his formative years or was aware of his violent tendencies and as community try to bring some help to the kid.

The sad part here is that as we move further and further from community and freedom being the basis of civilization to autonomy and license, the more we have to rely on things and laws and enforcement to enable us to survive side by side.

Major medical decisions are now relegated to a piece of paper when you were in a state that may not equal your current mindset, yet a piece of paper is held as binding instead of a flesh and blood person who you know and trust, who takes council with the doctors, possibly family and hopefully your faith tradition to plot a course for the future when you are unable.

Adriana Trigiani in “Rococo” writing about people who come to rely too heavily on money puts forth that, “Rich people develop a feeling of invincibility, but none of us are exempt from the pain and suffering of life. A wealthy person thinks, 'If I need a kidney, I’ll buy one; If I lose my career I’ll coast;' or when 'I’m old, I won’t need to rely on the kindness of others, I can pay someone to take care of me.' Instead of building up relationships that matter, the rich man nurtures his relationship with his accountant.”

Apparently there were many signs that this kid was headed for trouble (as it seems there almost always is.) True freedom would still exist for that boy and the people he shot had community been more cohesive and concerned about the young man than being afraid of trespassing on someone’s business. That is the basis of the community of Church. It is the basis of true freedom. It is us and God, not me and God.

“When you go at it alone, the worst in you will come out.” - Fr. Canice


Anonymous said...

From what I have been hearing about the school shooting, teachers, counselors, and even the Principal had tried to help the child. The school counselor had met with him several times but he refused assistance.

The school started up again today and I saw the usual students riding the trolley. Although a few seemed unphased, there were others who were unusually quiet.

Albert Barnes said, "It is the business of every Christian, as well as of every Christian minister, to be a witness for Christ, and to endeavour to convice the world that he is worthy of confidence and love."

Like you stated in the blog, I wonder if someone took the time to show him that he was worthy and loved if this would have still happened. Tough questions for a tough world.

Adoro te Devote said...

This just plays into what's been going through my mind all weekend.

On Friday night in my Old Testament class, we went line by line through Genesis 3 and 4, and saw the progression of sin. First blaming each other and God, then disordered relationships, jealousy, and it just went from there...even on down to murder.

Things aren't getting any better; they're getting worse. The rift in our relationships with others are becoming more and more disordered instead of healthier, to the point that mothers think it's "love" to slaughter their unborn children. And still, it's not ending there.

A couple weeks ago, I was considering this horrible state of the world, and the thought occurred to me: If things are this bad now, how awful would it be had Jesus NOT come?

And that idea is just too horrible to even imagine.

Adrienne said...

As our material possessions increase our need for God starts to circle the drain. Who needs God when you have the newest video game, biggest SUV or 6 bathrooms (all fully stocked with toilet paper)?

You also lose your reliance on the help of others in you community. The faith of very poor people is often astonishing.

As to the kid in Cleveland – unfortunately, in many cases it is the over abundance of self-esteem rather than lack of which causes some of this violence. We have artificially inflated our children’s self-esteem to the point where if they are thwarted the response is violent.

Anonymous said...

Well, the faith of very poor people often comes at the enormous generation-long cost of their dignity; it is (as you know by your using "often") nothing to hold up as example without that caveat, but indeed, Adrienne-- and your point in that last sentence is potent. It is always through an inflated ego that violence comes, even in a temporary and unpremeditated explosion, such as road rage.

As for degrees of separation with others, I marveled to my husband once over how insane it seemed that we are going to end up in eternity together--so why can't we seem to get close here, first?? He smiled and said, "Oh, but I thought we were close." I slugged him and said, "You know what I mean." He said he didn't know why that incongruity existed, but that I should get out there and do my thing about it.

And amen, Adoro.

And as Anonymous notes, there is someone who feels him- or herself a pariah, and acts out on that.. and Fr. Canice's words ring true.