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Mass Murder with No Cause and No Fealty

I consider Mark Steyn to be one of the best and most relevant commentators of our time. His words are almost always on point and his books from a decade ago read like prophetic visions of a dark future fast becoming reality.

In his blog post, The Triumph of Amoral Will, he sums up the scene:

The records continue to tumble: It's only a month since the deadliest single-shooter massacre in American history. Now we have the worst slaughter in Texas history and the deadliest church shooting in US history: Twenty-five people are dead for no other reason that they attended Sunday service in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. One man walked in, began firing, and, from a weekly congregation of approximately fifty, left almost everyone slain or injured, including the Pastor's 14-year-old daughter.

Many in New Zealand will be glad that we don't have these massacres, but we do. New Zealand's largest mass shooting was the Aramoana massacre in 1990, with fourteen dead. Prior to that tragedy, there had only been a couple of shootings with about half-a-dozen victims apiece in our short history. Between 1990 and 2000, New Zealand had a shooting almost every two years with an average of six victims. For the last two decades things have been relatively quiet, with only the occasional double or triple murder.

Since 1990, the United States have had sixteen mass shootings with similar or larger death tolls to the Aramoana massacre, a number of these being terrorist attacks. The United States have almost seventy times our population: 323 million versus 4.7 million. Adjusted for population, to match our one large shooting spree, they would have to have had at least two mass murders with over a dozen victims every single year for the last thirty years. The comparison goes to show just how mind-boggling huge the United States are.

In between these two bloodbaths, some guy went Allahu Akbar on a Manhattan bike path and killed eight people. Within five days, the usual psycho misfit loner from the teeming swamps of loserdom managed to make a proud Uzbek Soldier of Allah look like a know-nothing piker who can't even rack up a third of the corpse count of some schlub with an unknown grievance against a town of 400 people. Some global caliphate you got there, Sayfullo.

We're still lucky in New Zealand, as we are probably the only western nation that hasn't had a visit from the religion of peace yet. Mark rightly laments that the "misfit loner from the teeming swamps of loserdom" has more success and attention than the "proud Uzbek Soldier of Allah", as the later ideology presents a far more dangerous and serious threat to our way of life. The former is merely a symptom of our decline.

A republic requires virtue, and the decline of virtue is accompanied necessarily by the decline of the concept of evil, and its substitution by exculpatory analysis of the "motives" of evil. A more useful conversation would be on what it takes to remove the most basic societal inhibition - including the instinctive revulsion that would prevent most of us from taking the lives of strangers, including in this case eighteen-month-old babies. That inhibition is weaker in the dar al-Islam, because of Islam's institutional contempt for "the other" (unbelievers) but also because of the rewards promised in the afterlife. Thus, violence is sanctioned by paradise. That is the precise inversion of our society, and yet the weakening of inhibition seems to be proceeding here, too. A church sealed off by yellow police tape: a shameful and astonishing sight, and yet one senses that it will neither shame nor astonish us for long, that something else will come along to make the records books and distract a couple of news cycles.

These murderers get their faces and names on full display in the media. They go to the tops of the charts and set new records. People will study them for years and years, always seeking for "the motive" when the truth is plainly to be seen. The value of life in our society is in sharp decline, with harsh attitudes towards the unborn, the sick, and the suffering. Senseless violence permeates all forms of media and entertainment and the mass murders receive countless hours of prime-time fame.

Mark goes on to make a number of excellent remarks, I'd recommend reading the whole piece. He closes of by quoting a remark he made about the Las Vegas massacre.

America's four deadliest single-shooter mass murders occurred in the last decade. Only one of them - the Orlando nightclub massacre - can be said to have a political or ideological component. The rest seem to be a peculiarly contemporary form of narcissism - that, when my life heads south, the only way to give it meaning is to take large numbers of people with me. There is no cause, no fealty, no "Allahu Akbar!" - because pointless slaughter is the supreme triumph of amoral will: Who needs Allah? You're your own Allah. Unlike Manchester or Nice or Paris or Berlin or Brussels, there is no meaning: Indeed, the only meaning is the meaninglessness; that is the point - the black void at the heart of the act. [emphasis added]

In the end, it's not the promise of paradise that drives many of these deranged murderers: it's a disbelief in a higher authority and the promise of immortality in this world.

Welcome to the post-Christian world. Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride.