A step toward stopping violence

Originally appeared on spirituality.com

Now I’ll be famous.” These are among the last words written by the young man who killed himself after having murdered eight people and injured five others when he fired a rifle in an Omaha, Neb., mall. He isn’t the only such shooter to expect a violent act to redeem his life or bring fame, but that didn’t make his actions easier to understand.

I found an answer in something Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, wrote of a time when she visited the man who assassinated US President Garfield: “I ... found him in the mental state called moral idiocy. He had no sense of his crime; but regarded his act as one of simple justice, and himself as the victim” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 112). Speaking further of moral idiocy, she said, “... it ends in a total loss of moral, intellectual, and spiritual discernment....”

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