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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 July 28, 2021

My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help fo...

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July 28

 

My confidence is placed
in God who does not need our help
for accomplishing His designs.
Our single endeavor should be
to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to Him, and
not to spoil His work by our shortcomings.

St. Isaac Jogues


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Samson of Dol

In Cornwall, he converted a number of idol worshipers by mir...

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St. Samson of Dol

St. Samson is counted among the seven founding saints of Brittany. He was born in Wales, his father being the son of Amon of Demetia and Anne of Gwent, daughter of Meurig, king of Glamorgan and Gwent.

Early in life his education was entrusted to St. Illtud, the abbot of Llandtwit Fawr.

Seeking an even more austere life than this school provided, Samson moved to the island monastery of Caldey where he became a model of virtue. There, he succeeded St. Pyr as abbot.

Later, his father Amon and an uncle joined him in the monastic life. At one point he made a visit to Ireland, and on his return, with his father and uncle retired to a hermittage.

But his peace did not last. He was again made abbot, and was subsequently consecrated bishop by St. Dubricius. After a vision instructing him to travel beyond the sea, he sailed for Cornwall, converting a number of idol worshipers by miraculously restoring a boy who had been thrown by a horse.

He founded a couple of churches, after which he sailed for Brittany possibly visiting the Scilly Islands, one of which is named after him.


In Brittany he traveled extensively preaching and teaching, and working many miracles. A town in Guernsey bears his name. He founded two monasteries, one in Dol and another in Normandy. While visiting Paris he attracted the notice of King Childebert who is said to have appointed him bishop of Dol. Samson died peacefully among his monks in the year 565.

Photo by: Humphrey Bolton

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates t...

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The Rosary and the Possessed Girl

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that a Dominican, Father Jean Amat, was once giving a Lenten Mission in the Kingdom of Aragon, Spain, when a young girl, possessed by the devil was brought to him.

Father Amat began the exorcism. After several unsuccessful attempts, the priest had an idea; taking his Rosary, he looped it around the girl’s neck. 

No sooner had he done this, the girl began to squirm and scream and the devil, shouting through her mouth shrieked, “Take if off, take off; these beads are tormenting me!”

At last, moved to pity for the girl, the priest lifted the Rosary beads off her neck.

The next night, while the good Dominican lay in bed, the same devils who possessed the young girl entered his room. Foaming with rage, they tried to seize him, but he had his Rosary clasped in his hand and no efforts from the infernal spirits could wrench the blessed beads from him.

Then, going on the offensive and using the Rosary as a physical weapon, Fr. Amat scourged the demons crying out, “Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, help me, come to my aid!” at which the demons took flight.

The next day on his way to church, the priest met the poor girl, still possessed. One of the devils within her taunted him, “Well, brother, if you had been without your Rosary, we should have made short work of you…”

With renewed trust and vigor, the priest unlaced his Rosary from his belt, and flinging it around the girl’s neck commanded, “By the sacred names of Jesus and Mary His Holy Mother, and by the power of the holy Rosary, I command you, evil spirits, leave the body of this girl at once.”

The demons were immediately forced to obey him, and the young girl was freed.

“These stories,” concludes St. Louis de Montfort, “show the power of the holy Rosary in overcoming all sorts of temptations from the evil spirits and all sorts of sins because these blessed beads of the Rosary put devils to rout.”

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In the Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that a Dominican, Father Jean Amat, was once giving a Lenten Mission in the Kingdom of Aragon, Spain, when a young girl, possessed by the devil was brought to him.

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