In the aftermath of the most deadly massacre in American history a friend asks: “Why would God allow a man to wreak so much carnage?” And the enormous violence clearly weakened my friend’s belief in God. It should not have weakened his belief in God. Who else or what other agent is around to take the place of the Uncaused Cause? God caused the universe to exist, and as to why God would allow the Las Vegas carnage to take place, it is because God created us with free will, which explains many of the imponderables of history. We have free will to choose between good and evil. On the evening of Oct. 1, a particularly evil human being again chose evil, and now he will repose forever in hell.
That explains the atrocity. Yet it does not help us to prevent further atrocities, whether by lone murderers or jihadists, or dictators hell-bent on world war. Evil will always be out there, and mankind is free to choose it over the good until the end of time.
Still there are some things we can do to lessen the chances of another massacre. Our Democratic friends monopolized the airwaves after the Las Vegas carnage with calls for gun control, as though gathering up more than 300 million guns across America is even plausible. Clearly it is not, and those who think otherwise are not to be taken seriously. From all I can tell, they are not taken seriously by their fellow Americans. The only practical suggestion I have heard of after the atrocity was eliminating bump stocks from being sold. As for plausible gun control, it is pretty much already in effect.
The problem is deeper than controlling guns. As Jeff Lord, the distinguished commentator — recently made all the more distinguished by being fired by CNN for making a perfectly unexceptional joke — has written, the problem of killing the innocent stems from many Americans’ low regard for human life. Many Americans simply do not revere life, and it is difficult to see how they ever again will. Begin with America being a country in which an excess of 500,000 fetuses are aborted annually. I have just been reading Hillary’s masterpiece, “What Happened.” She writes as though abortion were a very elegant solution to a human problem that afflicts only women. Until we can agree that abortion is the taking of a human life that afflicts all of American society, America is not coming to terms with the respect for human life.
Moreover, a reverence for human life is ignored at a seemingly trivial but a very fundamental level, entertainment. My contact with what is called popular entertainment is limited. I get a glimpse of it during media previews on the sports shows that I watch, but those previews are very informative. The previews and the advertisements for other shows are meant to encourage us to spend the rest of the week watching the boob tube or taking in one of Hollywood’s works of genius.
Thus, between innings or time-outs, I see beautiful women pointing guns or knives or other weapons of destruction at beautiful men and vice versa. I see them negotiating vehicles — often weaponized — off cliffs or into even more improbable catastrophes. I see mayhem on a grand scale, breasts popping out of every garment imaginable. It is chaos nonstop, and apparently it entertains millions of Americans all night long. Then there is what passes for comedy or humorous discourse on late-night talk shows. All are agelastic — that is a word that can be applied to practically every attempt at humor on American television. Look it up. Agelastic is even more expressive than stupid.
This week, the Weinstein Company announced that it will continue to create its masterpieces without the contributions of its resident genius, Harvey. He has been fired and quite possibly might be prosecuted, or at least subjected to legal proceedings for the rest of his life. His problem was he could not keep his hands off women or, for that matter, his clothes on in front of them. In Hollywood, many of America’s Shakespeares have this problem. Now, thanks to the curious workings of American culture, the nation is going to do something about Harvey and his fellow, I believe the word is, addicts.
Well, treating Harvey and his fellow addicts the way we have treated Anthony Weiner and should have treated Bill Clinton is a beginning. But it is a long way back to the proper respect for life, which, by the way, is at the center of our Constitution.
• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.