I googled Jared Loughner and got 52 million results.
The news media is calling it the Tragedy in Tucson. And with the shootings, the pundits have come out on all sides. Some call for gun control. Some have attempted to root out or look for conspiracy theory themes. All express outrage—some of it moral, some political. Some have called him a right wing extremist. Others have even pondered his monetary philosophy.
I’ll leave the final results of the debate to the media to figure out.
Here’s what struck me: Jared Loughner was ill—quite ill. At the root, he suffered from the most basic condition: he was lonely. His life had turned inward. He was an island. He was a man unto himself.
He offered no one community. He was a part of no one’s community. The only community he experienced was in an online world without any return emotion, any sense of belonging and caring. His life had so turned inward that he could only express his pain through rage.
That saddens me. And I provide it instructive for my own life. How inward is my own life? How strong is my community? How deeply affected am I by the pain of others, and likewise, how often do I allow others to share my pain with me?
I’m not a psychologist. I’m a lawyer, but I’m in a business where I help people give their money away. In order to be generous, it seems to me to be a truth that we must not be so tangled up with our inward world. Our inward world must allow us to look outward and to see others as we are: all of us broken; all of us in need of redemption.
William F. High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation (www.servantchristian.com). Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity.