It has happened again. A new place, with new victims, and a new perpetrator. Unfortunately, we aren’t surprised. What is even sadder, we may have lost the ability to be surprised.
We are not surprised that man used his car and a knife as weapons against innocent people. The fact that ambulances transported ten people to the hospital as a result of the attack doesn’t surprise us. As we sort through the details of this terrible incident, we will find ourselves unsurprised about most of the details. The only detail that we always find shocking is the location. This time it was Ohio State University.
In the coming days, news outlets will call all the usual suspects. We will rehearse the same debates about safety on campuses, keeping weapons out of the hands of mentally unstable people, etc., etc., etc.. And yet, for all of the talking heads that parade across tv screens, we will overlook that which is blatantly obvious, the sinfulness of the human heart.
Debates about mental health will rage as if the only thing we need to prevent this from happening are more psychologists and psychiatrists. And we can understand why this gets so much attention. Setting out to intentionally hurt or harm others is inherently irrational. So, the argument goes, those who would perpetrate such acts must be mentally unstable.
While this sounds good on the surface, we must face the reality that by chalking everything up to mental illness we do not remove the moral dimensions of the act. Regardless of the perpetrator’s mental status, this attack is immoral. The harming of others in this way is nothing less than evil. But this gets to the heart of the problem.
In looking at this one man’s actions, we see our sinfulness on display. We would much rather believe the actions of these few represent something of an anomaly that can be fixed with counseling or medicine because the alternative is to recognize our wickedness. We would much rather see ourselves as sick than sinful. But all of these attacks against make it painfully obvious that we, as a people, are fallen. No amount of medicine can change this fact. Within each one of us lies the same fallen nature that moved this man, and countless others before him, to acts of unspeakable horror. We are not, however, left without hope.
As Christians, we know that our first response is prayer. Students, staff, and faculty at Ohio State are shaken to their core. What began as a typical day has changed to a day of pain, fear, and anguish. Therefore, we pray for the victims of this attack, that God, in His grace, would provide them healing after such an evil act. We pray that God would give peace to this campus once again.
God’s restraining grace has kept events like this from being even more ubiquitous. Thus, as we face the reality of human sinfulness, we pray with the apostle John, “even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come.”