The horrific violence perpetrated on innocents in Nice, France yesterday fills my mind and soul this morning. Reuters reported at 5 a.m., “A gunman at the wheel of a heavy truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act.
The attacker, identified by a police source as a 31-year-old Tunisian-born Frenchman, also opened fire before officers shot him dead. The man was not on the watch list of French intelligence services, but was known to the police in connection with common crimes such as theft and violence, the source said.”
This is the most up-to-date information I could find this morning. We must wait now, as we have waited before (after Orlando, Charleston, San Bernardino, Paris, Newtown) to know the facts as to whether this tragedy was spurred by some evil group. The problem with minute by minute media coverage, no matter how carefully done, is the tendency to make assumptions and attempt to “name” the source of such despicable acts. At the moment, we do not know if the Nice attack was spearheaded by a terrorist group or the act of one very sick person. We must wait to know.
|Does the peony cry? Yes, all nature cries today.|
Even the "stones cry out" with yet another senseless act!
What do we do during this interim period of not-knowing? Isn’t there something more important at this moment than knowing who is responsible? Should we not be acting on what we do know? We know that at least 84 people died, we know that scores were wounded, we know that many families have suffered, we know that thousands are forever scarred psychologically by what they saw and experienced last night and thousands all over the globe are fearful (including ourselves). Can we focus on what we know and be with our brothers and sisters (that is, feel, hurt, cry, agonize, and mourn with them, which is the heart of intercessory prayer)? Can we stop being just detached spectators, and become involved participants in what happened last night? This world in which we live is not only one geographically, it is meant to be one spiritually as well. We can help make it spiritually one right now—we can be with our brothers and sisters in the depths of their anguish by taking it into our own hearts.
Sometimes we tend to worship the gods of our enemies. Nietzsche wrote, “When you fight a monster, beware lest you become a monster.” The strange paradox of war is that while we proclaim that we hate our enemy’s ways and ideas, we proceed, in our fear and anger, to imitate them. Another horrendous tragedy has occurred. Let us not imitate the enemy, but imitate “Love at the heart of all things.” Let us love one another.