“We must never make the problem of pain worse than it is by vague talk about the ‘unimaginable sum of human misery…’ There is no such thing as a sum of suffering, for no one suffers it. When we have reached the maximum that a single person can suffer, we have, no doubt, reached something very horrible, but we have reached all the suffering there ever can be in the universe. The addition of a million fellow-sufferers adds no more pain.” -C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” -Matthew 2:18 (ESV)
In the aftermath of the tragic events at Pulse in Orlando, there has been something of an undercurrent of “dismay” at the labeling of the event as the “deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.” The majority of the debate has centered around the meaning of the term, “mass shooting.” For example, by one common definition, there have been “136 mass shootings in the first 164 days of this year.” By another count, there have been “178… since the early 1900’s.” Neither of these, however, include Wounded Knee, Rosewood, or St. Valentine’s, not to mention non-gun-related crimes or serial killers (does the temporal spacing lessen the degree?). How are we to determine which is/are worse?
The answer truly is: all of them. Continue reading