Readers Respond

When will people stop killing each other so horribly, so unnecessarily and so blindly? | READER COMMENTARY

Bishop Kim W. Brown, right, and Elder Valerie K. Brown, center, pray during a prayer vigil held by the Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors at The Mount (Mount Lebanon Baptist Church) in Chesapeake, Virginia on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, for the six people killed at a Walmart in Chesapeake when a store supervisor opened fire with a handgun before an employee meeting Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The bodies keep piling up. Six in a Virginia Walmart. Another three a few days earlier on a Virginia school bus. Four near an Idaho college. Thirty-four at a day care center in Thailand. Twenty in a Mexican town including its mayor. And on and on (”White gunman pleads guilty in Buffalo supermarket massacre that killed 10 Black people,” Nov. 28).

And it’s not just mass murder. Daily calamities are destroying hundreds of other lives around the world, like the recent stampede in South Korea that killed 150 and a boat load of migrants that went down off the coast of Greece (another 34). And let’s not forget the countless children around the world dying daily because of malnutrition and disease. And of course, the Russia-Ukraine war which has reportedly killed a combined 200,000, although perhaps they should be classified as mass murders.


It all reminds me of the words of the High Lama of Shangri-La, the fictional paradise in James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon”: “Look at the world today,” he said. “Is there anything more pitiful? What madness there is. What blindness. What unintelligent leadership. A scurrying mass of bewildered humanity, crashing headlong against each other …”

To me, these words perfectly describe the chaos that envelops much of humanity today.


When the numbers get this large and unremitting, you can’t simply blame them on isolated or deranged individuals. They have a context in which masses of people are rendered vulnerable, whether due to gross inequality and its resulting poverty and resentment or the machinations of corporate boardrooms and wealthy billionaires or political division or destructive social media or the consequences of looming climate change.

The point is that the pressures of unmet human need are constantly at work both at home and abroad resulting in unnecessary deaths of countless human beings. And if we don’t get a grip on them soon, we will surely be headed for a grim future, thoughts and prayers notwithstanding.

What madness, indeed.

— Howard Bluth, Baltimore

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