13 die in Washington shootings

A gunman killed a dozen people in a Navy office building in Washington, D.C. The shooter, who was also killed, was a contractor named Aaron Alexis.  He does not seem to be an Islamic terrorist.  At first, authorities said there were three gunmen, but the word now is that there was only one.

Still, there are lots of questions about this attack.  For example, how did Alexis, with his history of mental illness and run-ins with the law, get his security clearance that allowed him to work at the complex?  How did he get his gun–some reports have said a shotgun and others an assault rifle–through security?  And how did he wreak such mayhem in a military facility bristling with armed guards?  This incident at the Naval Yard is the second mass shooting at a military installation in the Washington, D.C., area, after the massacre at Ft. Hood.  Why are our military installations so vulnerable to this kind of attack?

UPDATE:  Two members of our church work there.  They are OK, but I don’t know anything else.  That really brings it home.

[Read more...]

A call to legalize sex between teachers and pupils

More taboos keep falling down.  A column in the Washington Post, no less (the leading newspaper of our governing class), argues that we should legalize sex between teachers and underage students. [Read more...]

Lacking any sense of proportion

Mark Steyn tells about a dad who asked his 15-year-old son to hold his beer for a second so he could take a picture.  Whereupon he got busted by the cops for giving alcohol to a minor.  Mr. Steyn puts his finger on a problem in law enforcement that, I would add, is also a problem in politics, public discourse, and the culture in general:  The lack of  any sense of proportion. [Read more...]

Murder by reason of boredom

Three teenagers in Duncan, Oklahoma, shot and killed a college student from Australia just jogging by.  Why?  Because they were bored.

This happened not in some big city but in a small Oklahoma town of less than 24,000.  Boring, perhaps (speaking as a product of a small Oklahoma town).  But after the jump we see that the teens, aged 15, 16, and 17, were all involved with social media, videos, iPhones, a giant TV, and rap music.  They had lots of stimulation.  So why were they so bored, bored enough to kill?

The fact is, constant stimulation such as our entertainment technology provides INCREASES boredom.  A person gets tired of all this stuff and requires higher and higher levels of stimulation before they can have an effect.  So in this case, they got that thrill of transgression from killing someone.

The ancients considered boredom to be a dangerous spiritual condition–a deadening ungrateful insensitivity to God’s gift of existence–and it has been described as a major spiritual problem of our times.  It doesn’t always lead to murder, of course.  But it can lead to cheating on one’s spouse, abandoning one’s children, substance abuse, and soul-destroying attitudes such as ingratitude, hatred of life, and despair.  If the answer isn’t more stimulation, what’s the solution to this kind of boredom? [Read more...]

City vs. Suburbs

Retiring baby-boomers are increasingly moving away from their houses in the suburbs to condos in the city.  This makes sense.  Single and just-married adults living in small apartments when just starting out, then moving to larger homes, more space, and better schools in the suburbs when their family grows.  Then, when the nest is empty, moving back to smaller, lower-maintenance apartments when they reach retirement age.  With both the young and the old liking a stimulating environment close at hand with less driving.

But this hasn’t happened all that much until lately, and it goes along with some interesting demographic changes.  Poverty is up 64% in suburbs, twice the rate as in cities.  And the crime rate is falling in cities and rising in the suburbs.

Why do you think that is?  What can be done to improve suburbs?  Or make cities habitable for families?  And where do small towns fit into all of this? [Read more...]


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