As a rule doctors are pretty smart. (As a rule, I said.)
We are the ones sitting in the front of the class raising our hands to answer the question the teacher hasn't even finished asking yet.
We are the Hermione's of the academic world.
One thing we despise more than anything else, is not having the answer to a problem. In medicine, we call the situation where we do not know the cause of an illness "idiopathic".
The origin is Greek, roughly meaning the cause of the disease is "one's own". My pathology professor used to claim it just meant that we are idiots for not knowing.
And so today we are confronted with an unimaginable horror. Hundreds of innocent people gunned down for what appears to be no reason.
Yet, the "No Reason" part kills us. We need a reason, desperately.
We want to know that he did it for ISIS, or he had a brain tumor, or was on the verge of a psychotic break for years, and just snapped.
We want a reason. Not that it will bring back the dead or make their deaths more bearable, but because we can't stand the thought of an individual, with absolutely no criminal background of any kind (so far, anyway) could do this.
How do you plan this level of murder?
The Colorado theater shooter was judged insane. That somehow makes us feel better. This guy's dead, so we may never know.
The cause will be "idiopathic".
We will once again debate gun control, which I personally support, but with the realization that he could just as easily (maybe more so) driven a Mack truck into the crowd.
People will fall back (like Trump) to say this is an act of pure evil. OK, I'll grant you that.
But even evil acts typically have some motivation behind them, whether it be money, power, sexual gratification, or all of the above.
Ultimately, though, I believe that just like we will not be able, nor expected, to explain "Why" Hurricane Maria decided to devastate Puerto Rico, we will never have a satisfactory answer to this terrible act.
My response, as I get older, is to simply accept that certain disasters cannot be prevented. No matter how many laws you pass. Those wishing to do harm have it so much easier over those of us trying to do good.
In the end, we must accept that life is fragile, that everyday is important and that despite acts of wickedness that we cannot fathom, we will survive.
One is tempted to say, we can learn from this, but I don't think there is anything to be learned except that we will never be able to eradicate this type of behavior, unless we get into the Sci-fi realm where we can read people's thoughts, like the movie Minority Report.
But, in the end, if someone claims to know why, especially if they claim it's some kind of "Divine Punishment", keep in mind my warning:
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Filed under: Health Care