Whenever a manmade tragedy shocks our senses, such as the tragic murder-suicide involving a professional football player over the weekend, it’s invariably labeled “senseless.”
“There are no answers. None that make sense, anyway,” one writer in Kansas City posed.
We understand the sentiment. It’s actually comforting, in a way.
But it’s not necessarily so.
Out of respect for those involved and the infant nature of the investigation, we won’t address the particular case of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, 25, who shot his 22-year-old girlfriend Saturday and left their 3-month-old daughter orphaned when he turned the gun on himself.
But the harsh fact is, there are many toxic ingredients that can coalesce to create such tragedies.
Ego. Selfishness. Substance abuse, now available by prescription. Macho bravado. A culture of resorting to violence at the drop of a hat. A view that women are to be controlled. Jumping headlong into tenuous relationships. Bringing babies into them. A culture that worships at the altar of Gratification. Too much too soon in lives too-little grounded by upbringing and guided by the long-term view of spirituality.
We snicker at old-fashioned concepts such as courtship and marriage, and we turn a blind eye to the collateral damage of fashionable lifestyles – the well-documented increased likelihood of crime, poverty, illiteracy and more. We consider it oppressive, or at least quaint, to expect any manner of discipline in our young.
Just do it, several generations have been told now.
Meanwhile, while we may learn about the ego in school, it remains an intellectual ambiguity for the psychology books. We’re never quite told how controlling and dangerous and destructive the ego can be.
And in a society in which so many father figures are nowhere to be found, notions of manhood are perilously perverted, passed down by 18-year-olds who, themselves, learned the rites of passage on the street.
As for self-gratification in the age of “The Customer is Always Right,” it has nearly become a constitutional right – so much so that failure to provide young women with free contraceptives in order to enjoy indiscriminate intercourse was, this election year, deemed to be a “war on women.”
We don’t know what played into the tragedy in Kansas City. In football these days, for instance, head injuries are always on the list of suspects. That’s for the authorities to sort out.
But don’t tell us such things have no answers, no explanations, no contributing factors. Nothing happens in a vacuum. There are plenty of ills in society that can create a poisonous confluence.
Of course, the knee-jerk reaction among some, such as sportscaster Bob Costas, is that a handgun caused the tragedy. In the same way, one supposes, that an SUV causes a car wreck.
It’s so easy to blame an inanimate object. So much easier than explaining how taking the object out of a law-abiding person’s hands will protect anyone from a thug who is already predisposed to breaking the law.
And it’s much easier than taking a good, hard look at the feel-good faddism that has become verboten to question in public.