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 Mad and Lonely Shooter Header

By John Horvat II


The most recent in an epidemic of mass shootings serves to highlight how violent and lonely are the times in which we live. Young, desperate shooters are breaking the precarious rhythms of our daily lives with tragedy. We know little about their personal lives. However, one thing they all have in common is loneliness.

 

The Loner as Ideal Revolutionary

In times past, subversives would seek strength in organization and numbers. They would conspire with others to carry out their nefarious deeds. Intelligence services could trace links and patterns to uncover vast conspiracies.

The loner finds his strength in loneliness. He does not need or seek others. There is no organization or headquarters. He slips quietly under the radar until he unleashes his silent and irrational wrath. As with suicide bombers, the loner is willing to die in his first and final act. Society has little defense against his unpredictable movements. Law enforcement cannot take preventative measures in the face of a past of non-engagement.

There is not even a set of established beliefs for loners. What is erroneously labeled “white supremacist ideology” is usually a self-made mish-mash of contradictory (and often liberal) ideas with little rhyme or reason to them. Analysts like to refer to a process as “online self-radicalization.” Shooters’ “ideology” is more likely the scrambled ramblings of broken individuals who rebel against life and society.

 

Mass Producing Loners

What makes this scenario more frightening is that the loner demographic is growing. Young people who normally become increasingly social as they mature are retreating into themselves. Society is mass-producing loners.

A recent YouGov poll of 1,254 adults 18 and up found that 30 percent of all millennials (age 23-38) feel lonely. It was the highest percentage of the generations surveyed.

The findings are alarming by the devastation they reveal. Some 22 percent of millennials polled claimed they had zero friends. Twenty-seven percent had “no close friends.” Those with “no best friends” registered 30 percent. By comparison, the numbers for those who said they have zero friends among Gen Xers and baby boomers were 16 percent and 9 percent respectively.

The picture gets worse when considering Generation Z born after 1996. While the YouGov poll did not include this generation, other surveys report high or even higher levels of loneliness among its members. Finally, since loneliness tends to increase with age, researches expect the vast baby boomer generation to descend into greater loneliness as they age.

 

Societal Breakdown

Thus, we have become a nation of loners. Obviously, not every loner will become a mass shooter. However, lonely people lack the support they need to cope with the frenetic intemperance of modern life.

People are lonely because the social units that facilitate interaction are coming apart. Families are disintegrating. Communities are fraying. People are retreating into themselves, and that spells disaster. The tragedy of the lone shooters is their isolation. They lack the family links of intense affection. Few people will make an effort to connect with the loners.

If we are to prevent violence, we must address the cause of the problem to be effective. It is not something a government program will resolve.

Everyone knows they need help — especially after the fact. Everyone generally reports on the bizarreness of the shooters’ behavior. Some are not surprised by the news of their evil acts. In the busyness of their daily lives, most people have no time to reach out or take action, even when evidence points to serious problems. The loner is out of sight and out of mind.

 

Red Flag Laws

Thus, people propose red flag laws that would allow police to intervene in cases where such individuals appear dangerous. However, these measures are of limited effectiveness. Of what use are red flag laws when there is no one to wave the flag? Of what use are background checks into the lives of loners with no background? How effective can we be in curbing the present cases when the nation is mass-producing loners on a grand scale?

These are all questions that must be asked if the violence is to be stopped.

However, this is beyond the scope of law enforcement to resolve. Police cannot put all loners under surveillance for crimes they have yet to commit. No police force has the resources to be on the watch for everyone who is possibly dangerous.

 

Higher Recourse

That is why any effort to stop this violence must address a society without a moral compass. We must make every effort to reach out to the loners around us with a moral message. By fostering strong family and community ties, we help prevent the appearance of more loners.

However, in the absence of family and community ties, the options are limited. We should have no illusions. The only real solution for the violent loner must be to a higher power. We, as a nation, must have recourse to God in the face of a moral crisis that affects all.

Thus, we can teach our nation of loners to pray so that they might convert. There are countless examples of such loners who have left the dark path through the power of prayer. However, we must, above all, pray for all who suffer from violent loneliness, asking for God’s aid. Only He can break the vicious cycle of violent loneliness. Only He can always be there when needed. He can solve problems that for us are impossible.

 


 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 20, 2020

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that sufferin...

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September 20

 

Let us understand that God is a physician,

and that suffering is a medicine for salvation,

not a punishment for damnation.

St. Augustine of Hippo


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions

He became involved in smuggling missionaries into the countr...

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Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions

During the 17th century the Christian faith was brought to Korea through the zeal of lay persons. From the very beginning these Christians suffered terrible persecutions and many suffered martyrdom.

Son of Korean converts who were martyred during the persecution of 1839 (and beatified in 1925), Andrew Kim Tae-gon was baptized at fifteen. He traveled thirteen hundred miles to the seminary in Macao, China, and was ordained to the priesthood six years later. He traveled back to his home and became involved in smuggling missionaries into the country to spread Christianity.

During the year 1846, he was arrested with Paul Chong Ha-sang and their companions, and they were all tortured prior to being beheaded for his beliefs. Among them were a few bishops and priests, but for the most part lay people, men and women, married and unmarried, children, young people, and the elderly.

These martyrs suffered greatly and gave their lives for Christ for the religious freedom which came in 1883. Pope John Paul II canonized them on May 6, 1984, during his trip to Korea.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

Order your free 8x10 picture of Our Lady of Fatima

As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort...

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The Rosary, the Devil and the Queen

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As such, he was known for his powerful, moving sermons on the Rosary, which led people to adopt this devotion to their great benefit.

Furiously jealous of the holy man’s success with souls, the devil began to so torture Thomas that he fell sick, and was so ill for so long that the doctors gave up on saving his life.

One night, when the poor man thought he was near death, the devil appeared to him in a hideous form, coward that he is, seeking to frighten Thomas into despair.

But, making an effort, the good priest turned to a beautiful picture of Our Lady near his bed crying out with all his heart and strength:

“Help me, save me, my sweet, sweet Mother!”

No sooner had he pronounced these words, the picture came alive and extending her hand, the heavenly Lady laid it reassuringly on the priest’s arm, saying:

“Do not be afraid, Thomas my son, here I am and I am going to save you. Get up now and go on preaching my Rosary as you did before. I promise to shield and protect you from your enemies.”

No sooner had Our Lady pronounced these words, than the devil fled in a hurry. Getting up, Thomas found that he was perfectly healed. 

Thanking the Blessed Mother with tears of joy, Blessed Thomas again went about preaching the Holy Rosary, now with renewed favor and gumption, and his apostolate and his sermons were enormously successful. 

St. Louis the Montfort concludes this story saying, “Our lady not only blesses those who say her Rosary, but also abundantly rewards those who, by their example, inspire others to say it as well.”

 


 

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In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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