Civility Lost
Have we lost our moral compass?
By David E. Black
Date Published: 7/1/2016


I write this a few days after the horrific shooting in Orlando. What causes any human being to shoot over 100 people at a club in Orlando at 2:00 a.m. in the morning, killing half of them and injuring the others? What causes a moral compass to take someone so far off course to commit such a cold, heinous crime? How does one individual come to devalue life so much to brutally take the lives of so many, knowing that he will not likely live through the act himself?

There’s talk of homegrown terror, commitment to ISIS, a conflicted personality, a hate crime but what about the fundamental right and wrong of the situation? What happened to civil discussions? Why didn’t this person seek help from mental health professionals? This isn’t just about the Orlando shooting, pick a place, pick a person, or pick an incident. What causes anyone to go so far wrong?

I certainly don’t have the answer, but I do think we live in a world with a much less civil tone than what we used to have following the end of World War II. As we think about things a few weeks after a Memorial Day holiday and the President’s visit to Hiroshima marking the 71st anniversary of the leveling of that city using an atomic bomb, I can’t help but believe that the world powers learned something from that experience. Yes, a huge number of lives were lost, but most believe a huge number of lives and many more months and even years of senseless warfare were averted by use of that weapon.

I also think all humans, Americans, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Israeli, Egyptian, Iranian, Iraqi learned from the dropping of “the bomb” and understood the destructive power available to the human race and in varying ways, we became a more civil planet, a more civil global society as least for a number of years. Over 70 years later, things seem to be crumbling fast, not just in our country but around the world. The Taliban/ISIS really? I’m no religious scholar, but don’t most religions teach peace, sharing and understanding? Find a religion where is it acceptable to kill another human being. Religious intolerance doesn’t come from the religion, it generally comes from those who interpret and preach their interpretation of the religion. 

Or perhaps someone has been converted to radical extremism through the internet. Really, the internet? Again, what happened to individual responsibility and the individual’s moral compass? How did it get so out of whack? For all of these domestic killers, what is missing from their life experience that causes them to fall so far off center? What have they been exposed to or lacked in their life experience that has caused them to get so far off course? How can they shoot and kill innocent people (including young children) before taking their own life or dying in a hail of police gun fire? There are some smart people in our country that study human nature, let’s start looking at commonalities of the shooters instead of looking to laws and law makers to find a quick fix that does not exist. Common sense and civility is what we need and speaking of civility, can we even find those attributes in Washington today?

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