Waking up on Monday morning with the news on television and on the internet pertaining to a shooting in Las Vegas left me troubled. Someone shot from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Hotel killing at least 50 people and injuring around 500 more. The police said they found at least 10 rifles when they had to break in the shooter’s room. The person shot himself before the authorities could apprehend him.
Why would I be troubled? This incident reminded me of something I believe but would as soon not revisit. What I believe is that there is evil in the world.
Before exploring this evil, we need to make a distinction between tragedy and evil. We can experience or witness tragedy without evil, but at the same time, tragedy seems to be a traveling partner with evil.
Recent hurricanes have left a path of destruction, especially for the people of Puerto Rico. Could one call this evil? No, tragedy seems to fit better with this scenario. There was no hatred or malice that entered into its equation. As horrible as these storms were, we simply witnessed the power of nature and sometimes we are victims of their activity. No evil; just tragedy.
However, what happened in Las Vegas demonstrates the reality of evil in our world. The violence, the ambivalence, the uncertainty and the feeling of sadness and pain entered into this ugly picture. Evil is intentional and focused. Evil smiles on the confusion and the loss. Evil delights in its conjuring up tragedy. Yes, I believe evil exists.
As I confess my beliefs in evil in our world, I also boldly state another belief. This belief is, God always prevails! God is present in our empathy, in our reaching out and our being able to distinguish right from wrong. With God, we are able to realize what evil really is. We can also see how God’s loving presence enters into tragedy and evil and redeems both.
Let us keep in our prayers and in our hearts those affected by tragedy and evil. Let us also lift up the awesome truth that God prevails when tragedy and evil strike.