Everyone is talking about the mass murder in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last I heard there were fifty-eight dead and over four hundred wounded. Could be more by now. That is hideous. Senseless from a rational perspective. (It probably makes sense of a sort to the late murderer; I might intellectually grasp the concept if I was informed, but I cannot empathize.) I am horrified at the disregard of one human being for another.
As a Christian, I am directed to ‘love’ at least in the ‘agapeo’ sense of being concerned about my fellow man to my own expense. Certainly to value other human beings at the same level as myself. Included in that is the limitation of not murdering others for my own benefit, including amusement.
Manifestly, this did not apply to the murderer. At least at the time of his action, he didn’t value any of his victims in any sense I would understand. I do not claim to have magical or Divinely directed insight on his thinking, but his actions tend to give this impression. That mass murder that the murderer committed demonstrates a disregard for other human life. (From the circumstances one can rule out ‘just war’ or ‘self-defense’ as exemptions to the ‘murder’ concept; whether the reader accepts those concepts or not, they simply do not apply.)
In Christian terms, “sin” is disobedience of God. God’s will and or God’s direct command. Even without a Christian world-view, one can agree murder (killing another for personal reasons) is at least wrong, and ‘sinful’ by that criteria. (If anyone disagrees, please explain.) Therefore, murder, these murders is the result of sin. At least for us Christians; non-Christians are free to theorize the murderer committed the acts because his underwear didn’t fit, or his parents didn’t buy him a dog or a bad breakfast or something. (Feel free to disagree, but explain please. I’d really like to hear.)
In fact, Jesus once made the statement about the inner being of a human (called the ‘heart’ in both Hebrew and Greek language and thinking) is the source of wrongful thoughts and actions. I think ‘modern’ psychiatry would call this part of a human the ‘id’. (I could be mistaken, but most all authorities agree there is a ‘central’ or ‘core’ portion of the human which to some extent or other directs human attitudes and actions.)
In [the gospel of] Matthew, chapter 15, and Mark 7, Jesus is taken to task – criticized – by a small group of Pharisees because His (Jesus’) disciples didn’t follow a tradition (rule of conduct loosely based on the Mosaic Law) regarding the ceremonial washing of hands. To be clear, this was not a violation of one’s Mother warning one to wash hands before eating to avoid germs, but a violation of a ceremonial rule (possibly verging on superstition) regarding ‘legal’ preparation for eating. Ignoring this rule was not just bad manners or slovenly living, but a ‘sin’ against God, according to the tradition.
Cutting much of the discussion (read Matthew 15 and Mark 7 for two accounts of the whole treatment), Jesus summed up the matter by telling the Pharisees “Listen to me, everyone, and understand. There is nothing outside of a person that can defile him by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him.” (Matthew 15:17 and Mark 7:15 both say essentially the same thing.) Later on, Jesus expounds a bit to His disciples by telling them (Matthew 15: 16-20 and Mark 7: 18-22) Jesus said, “Even after all this, are you still so foolish? Don’t you understand that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach and then passes out into the sewer? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person. For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are the things that defile a person; it is not eating with unwashed hands that defiles a person.”
From this, one understands that external ‘artifacts’ are not particularly in control of a person’s actions or attitudes, but one’s own desires and intents are in control.
The concept ‘artifacts’ cause human behavior is difficult to explain and quite absurd in practice. No one really believes ball point pens cause forgery, ball point pens cause mis-spelled words, flatware causes obesity, automobiles cause excessive speed or traffic accidents, windows cause peeping Toms, and my favorite, television causes insipidness of thought.
Of course, there is a political and life-style faction which holds firearms cause crime, especially violent crime. Which is as silly and irrational as any of the above.
The mass murder in Las Vegas is indeed horrific. As was the mass murder in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016. As was the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. As was several other mass murders without rational purpose. Reasonable humans want to prevent such things from happening again.
However, blaming artifacts is wasting time and effort. Not to mention those sorts of mass murders will continue. The instrumentality may be different, but the murders will be the same.