How does the Devil enter a soul? Obviously through grave sin, but many commit such sins and don’t seem to be overtly possessed, or commit heinous crimes, like the tragedy on Ash Wednesday. I wonder what went on in the soul of the shooter in the Florida massacre, whose fame I will not increase by writing out his name, nor the one in Vegas, nor back in Colombine, or any number of these mass slaughters that seem to have arisen only in cultural twilight of the twentieth and the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Mark Steyn lists a number of converging causes, lack of fatherhood, the internet, lost identity, lack of religion and purpose in life, and, not least the almost complete dysfunction of education itself, filled with perpetual and aimless students who learn little and do even less, coming out unprepared for life and reality. No wonder people are lost and depressed.
The shooter, one of these aimless souls, apparently heard ‘voices in his head’. A good legal defense, but one wonders. He supposedly tried to run away in the midst of his former classmates, before sitting down for a drink at a fast-food joint. I suppose once the Evil One is done with one of his minions he just lets him go.
Was he insane? He looks it, but so did Hitler. What is the line between certain forms of ‘insanity’ and diabolical possession? Curiously, this five year old post after the Newtown slaughter of grade-schoolers evinces that most of these killers were on some kind of medically-prescribed psychotropic drugs to cure a ‘mental illness’ that may well have had, rather, a spiritual etiology. What produces a pathetic individual like the one we have seen on the front page of the news cannot just be physiological and cultural.
Alas, and fie.
Then again, we are all capable of grave evil, if we but let go of the charity and grace of God. As Saint Therese was once reported to have quipped, it is not what souls in mortal sin do that surprises her, but what they don’t do.
And what they don’t do is so far limited, by and large, by the thin, and getting thinner, veneer of ‘civilization’ and ‘culture’. As that breaks down, we are likely to see more Floridas and Vegases and Newtons.
Pray for the killer, pray for his victims, and may God have mercy upon all.