The Rise

My deepest, deepest condolences to all of the victims, their friends and families.

This is a fairly unprofitable story to attempt to cover in song. Something about the victims, themselves, turns pretty quickly into unintended sap and what Andrew Sullivan calls, hathos. Something thematic or narrative threatens to be too dark and insensitive.

Still, between the Colorado shootings and the continuing demise of Penn State, this musical capsule of time would be incomplete without some vignette.

I’m pretty compelled by these sorts of incidents. And, I hope it’s not all morbid curiousity, though surely some percentage is. I realize it’s a higher calling to remember the victims instead of memorializing the predators. But, this razor thin line between James Holmes, son, friend, sibling, accomplished student, and James Holmes, the apparently lost, psychotic, maniacal movie mass murderer, is ceaselessly important to me. Same with Sandusky. His sins, and those of the individuals that would have concealed them, have now forced Penn State to take down the statute of what was the winningest coach in Division 1 Football history and the NCAA to levy sanctions of such unprecedented scale as to essentially destroy the program. Not to mention the real human tragedy — the countless child victims. You can’t help but renew questions about the nature of who we are fundamentally as people, something of divine imagination or base animal evolution.

The spiritual mystic, St. John of the Cross, wrote of the “Dark Night of the Soul,” the difficult separation from this world as we move toward closer union with God. That notion has been expanded in Christian parlance to describe any sort of severe crisis of faith. Even Mother Teresa confessed her own deep, deep darkness.

I think the incidents in Colorado and Happy Valley induce a collective dark night. Tired theological apologetics about the opportunity for true love and goodness coming only at the concomitant risk of true hate and evil ring sort of unpersuasively abstract when nearly 60 people are senselessly gunned down by a stranger playing dress up and comic villain. And, no matter how much you’d like to think Holmes is some creature apart, easily condemned, there is Joker in us all.

I’ve tried to remember where I was going with this. But, I don’t really have a closing sentiment or pithy summarizing turn. I’m just really, really sorry.

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by pumpkinFoot.

Today’s song blog here:

Dark Night

3 thoughts on “The Rise

  1. You have a great way of putting perspective on these moments. Moving away from the sensational to looking internal, which can be the hardest; to realize we can’t overcome, on our own, the Joker inside. Thanks brother for always reminding me of that.

  2. There’s so much to be said but I do believe that you nailed every point I would make about these things, in this very blog. Thanks Joe.

  3. Thanks to you both. I’m glad you guys think so. I felt like maybe there was more to say. Or maybe less.

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