Something is definitely odd about the gunman and the shooting massacre in Vegas: A 64 year-old multi-millionaire accountant with no military training, no record, apparently a gambling addict, holed up in a hotel room for four days, bringing in nearly two dozen high-powered automatic rifles, sets at least a few up on stands, along with cameras in the hallways to alert him to any police or security, then begins to shoot for just over ten minutes, killing 59 and wounding 500 or so. Questions abound: Did no hotel staff ever check his room over the week he was checked in? Did not the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign look a little stale and odd after day three? Then there is his motive, his disappeared Asian ‘girlfriend’, ‘sent away’ the day before; whether he was radicalized, and ISIS was indeed involved; after all, even a guy his age is entitled to his 72 virgins in ‘paradise’; whether he had fellow shooters, who escaped down a back staircase, or just sauntered down the elevator with all the other guests.
The mind reels. Who knows? Although it may destroy a lot of good, as we have seen, evil itself is a bland, empty thing, often without cause, on the rise apparently everywhere, and it seems as though the mask of the diabolic is slipping off, revealing the horror within. But the horror has been with us for some time: As many as this unfortunate man killed, and God rest all their souls and comfort their families, that number is far exceeded by the number of abortions committed on any given day. Then there are all the secret sins, mostly unrepented, which underlie the whole ‘culture of death’ of which Pope John Paul warned so prophetically. After describing the more heinous crimes against life, he warns that we may revert to a state of barbarism which one hoped had been left behind forever.
Well, two decades after those words were written, we are pretty much at that state, in the States and elsewhere. Modern day barbarians, either of the white, stuffy, semi-respectable type, or the legions of others covered in hideous tattoos, necks, torso, arms; all with blank stares, with nary a thought of the supernatural, nor of any notion of eternal destiny, living for the moment, feral, unhinged, but who still go through the motions of modern ‘civility’, so long as the veneer lasts, and food and drink easy to get, or, as may be the case here, they peer just a bit too long into the void…. And just wait until the veneer breaks. We may be in for a lot more Vegases. And this is before we even get to the dangers of a resurgent Islam…
But then we hear stories of goodness, of sacrifice, of people risking their limbs and lives to help others out of harm’s way, even those who knew what a high-velocity bullet could do to human bones and flesh and arteries. There is always hope, and a portion of humanity will, we hope, choose the path of life that leads to life.
Catalonia declared that it will declare independence on Monday, after a rather bloody referendum which Spanish police strove to stop, to little avail. 92% in favour of saying good-bye. Hmm. King Felipe, who claims to rule the moribund nation of Spain, disagrees, even that any such ‘referendum’ took place. This may go badly for both sides, but especially for him. The Iberian peninsula has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, about 1.3 per woman, from which, as Mark Steyn points out, no country has ever recovered. Spain in many ways is already dead; it just doesn’t know it.
The northeast corner known as Catalonia is the most economically robust region of Spain, and wants to go it alone, rather than prop up what is left of their ageing fellow Spaniards, with welfare-bound ‘immigrants’ flooding in to add to the burden.
Independence is a right of any cohesive group of people, within limits, of course. In many ways, I’d love to declare independence from Ontario, and Canada, for that matter, freeing myself from the eco-carbon-anti-life tyranny of Wynne and Trudeau, carving out a nice little country around my property line, such as it is. Or even around the town in which I live. But such would not fly.
The Catalonians have a stronger case. Why stay in sclerotic Spain, withering away? As the song goes, sometime you just gotta cut loose, and take yer’ chances. Maybe the new sense of freedom will imbue the Cats with more energy and esprit, inspiring blasé Millennials to get married, start families and have lots of bambinos, and begin the much-overdue re-population of Europe. They have a long way to go, but there is an old Chinese proverb that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the second best time, is now.
Finally, today we celebrated Saint Francis of Assisi, who, by his own radical and unparalleled sequela Christi, helped prop up Europe and the Church during the late twelfth century. What was done before can be done again. Holiness will never go out of style.
Saint Francis, ora pro nobis!