Google+ Followers

Friday, June 17, 2016

Now What?

Like most people in America and around the world, I was shocked, saddened, sickened, and outraged by the Orlando massacre last Sunday.

The President has made his all-too-familiar visit to the scene of the devastation and has met with survivors and the family members of the dead.  And once again, from the marble halls of Congress to the campaign trail to the kitchen table, the nation has plunged once more into a fevered debate over gun policies and the Second Amendment.  And just to make things that much more complicated, a complex and troubling picture of the Orlando murderer is beginning to emerge.  Was he a terrorist?  Was he inspired by the Islamic State?  Did he target a gay nightclub because he was struggling with his own sexuality?  Were there signs that he had a propensity toward violence?  We may never know the answers to all of these questions; but our desperate need to find some thread of order in this chaos, some evil puppeteer behind the curtain, will nevertheless compel us to search for them.

The only question that keeps coming back to me is "Now what?"  After the funerals, impassioned speeches, and community vigils have dropped off the front page of our social media news feeds and are replaced by the celebrity scandal of the moment, what will we do?

I am reminded of a line from T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men:"

"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."

Someone please tell me that this will not be our fate.