I couldn’t take this in when I first heard. I was at a play rehearsal, and when my mate told me – may the Higher Powers forgive me – I thought he was telling me some sick joke. He said he didn’t joke about things like that and I thought, no, of course you don’t, who does? Who that’s in any way human could make something like this up? Then again, who actually perpetrates a horror like this? But it’s a fact, somebody has most likely planned and compassed the death and maiming of people who were just out to take part in a joyous event, innocent people who have done no harm, random victims of someone’s cowardly determination to inflict pain suffering and death on fellow human beings. It defies comprehension.
I say “most likely” because – as I write – there remains a shred of possibility that this wasn’t a terrorist attack. But it seems almost certain that a terrorist attack it will have been, that yet again shadowy figures have decided to take human life to make some esoteric point.
There’s no point calling these people animals. Animals don’t do this; it’s the sort of uncivilised behaviour confined to – supposedly – the most civilised species on the planet. Only “intelligent”, “cultured”, “civilised” Man does this. Only Man has the tools; only Man has the urge to slaughter his fellow beings on such a gross scale, for reasons that don’t stack up against the primal need to eat and survive. Man is a predator, like so many other animals. But Man alone kills for reasons of sport, culture, ideology. It’s a sickness not shared by other predators, and that means that a tiger or a lion or anything else that kills to eat has a nobility that we sometimes call savage, but is in reality a whole hell of a lot more noble and understandable than the base and repulsive urges that drive members or our species to visit these horrors upon each other. Go figure. Really, we owe the rest of the Animal Kingdom a massive apology for every time any of us has ever called some depraved human killer “an animal”. It’s the most ironically insulting and groundless snub we could deliver to other species who conduct themselves in a far more admirable manner than we “civilised humans” do.
Sorry, I’m rambling on because I’m shocked, disgusted and ashamed. Who knows what we will find out in the next few days as this situation develops, but it seems certain that lives have been lost, and other lives will be changed irrevocably; and no-one affected was given any choice in the matter, nor any chance to escape the fate wished upon them by anonymous cowards.
No cause is worth this. No religion is worth this. Nothing is worth the tiniest fraction of the suffering that has been caused. We need to get over ourselves as a species. We’re all here for a short span only, and nothing is more important than being alive, and making the most of every moment we’re here. For all we know, this is our only existence, at any time in the vast span of Creation; we’ve waited billions of years to be alive, and we’ll be gone after a century, give or take, and then there’ll be billions more years when we’re not here. And yet people regard this rare and precious phenomenon of life so cheaply, so casually, that they presume to deprive others of it, for some pathetic creed or notion that they wish to impose on others, and devil take the hindmost. The arrogance and ignorance of that just beats the hell out of me.
I know I’ll dream tonight about the pictures I’ve seen. I know that I feel guiltily glad it’s someone else torn and tattered, or dead – and not me or anybody I love. I don’t want it to happen to anybody, but Hell, I don’t want it to happen to me or mine. That’s my human selfishness, and I can’t deny it – but how much more selfish do you have to be to actually plot and do something like this? My mind is boggling at that.
I wish the dead peace, the injured the best recovery they can have, the bereaved what comfort and support they can get. And I wish the rescue and medical services the strength and resolve they will need. For those who did it – I wish some sense of perspective so that they can see how awful is the thing they’ve done, instead of living in some cloud-cuckoo mindset where they feel it’s in any way justified. Don’t call them animals. They’re nothing so dignified. They’re the most despicable, wretched kind of human being, and you can’t say worse than that.