Third Party & Independents Archives

Evil in Las Vegas - Tom Petty is Gone

When the mourning for the massacre in Vegas yields to the endless debate over 2nd amendment rights versus gun control regulations, we also have to ask if this was a psychotic act or an evil act. Why ask that question? They must basically mean the same thing, right? A psychotic or sociopath is someone whose emotions, whose sense of the value of others, is not wired right, and therefore whose conscience is lacking in fundamental ways.

That’s evil right?

Perhaps not quite. Perhaps evil is when you attack people not because your twisted mind sees them as something not really human, but rather because you hate their diverse, flourishing humanity. You hate all that value, all that intrinsic worth that a peaceful crowd of concertgoers represents, on what must have been a beautiful mild fall evening in the desert night in Las Vegas.

Because the way we think about Stephen Paddock, influences the way we deal with this worst mass shooting ever on American soil.

If evil is an archaic, irrational term that belongs inside a closed, dusty bible locked away in a church basement - which is how large parts of the academic and by extension the legal world views Christianity's and Judaism's conception of evil - then psychology and psychiatry are the only way to understand Stephen Paddock. And therefore - if you refuse to truly admit the presence of evil - the only way to deal with a mass shooting is by enacting more regulation: for example, extensive psychological tests on top of the hoops one already has to jump through in order to purchase an automatic weapon. And even if those added tests, or bans, or other regs wouldn't have stopped a Stephen Paddock from acquiring the weapons he used, it is the only possible course of action if you believe that religion is irrelevant. If you believe, that people of faith are bitter clingers-on to bibles and guns.

But if you do believe that evil does indeed live in this world, and that we are all potential prey, then as much as you may consider psychological theories on why Paddock did what he did, you have to see the act intrinsically as pure evil, in the words of the president. Remember that the constitution was founded on God-given natural rights.

So clearly, some regulation (and there is already far more than some regulation) of automatic weapons is a needed thing. But what is also needed are at least two other things:

Better enforcement of whatever existing regulations are already on the books.
An acknowledgment that humans are capable of evil, and that our prayers for the victims go hand in hand with the knowledge that salvation from evil is a gift that does not reach those who will not accept that fact, and instead turn to evil.
As Paddock started shooting, Tom Petty was in a hospital - having on Sunday had a seizure or heart attack - and was then proclaimed dead on Monday, although there are some conflicting reports that he is still on life support. While last week was seen as a really bad week for the GOP, this week has started out as a really bad week for the nation's soul. I have been thinking of Curtis Mayfied and People Get Ready and the soothing yet rigorously demanding lyrics that graced his work of gospel and soul and rock. Only America could have produced a Curtis Mayfield. Only America could have produced a truly great songwriter like Tom Petty. And only America will find a way to deal with what happened in Las Vegas. As much as the world will criticize and lecture.

Posted by AllardK at October 3, 2017 6:45 AM
Comment #420396

Was this article written by someone who is evil, or psychotic? Tom Petty is the same age as I am, and I’ve been to Cassadega. He outlived many of his contemporaries. I don’t care to know anything more about a mass murderer.

Posted by: ohrealy at October 4, 2017 8:21 PM
Comment #420400

I have family in Las Vegas, working for the Bellagio. I almost went into shock. This seems appropriate. NINA SIMONE - Sinnerman (1965):

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