I've heard several news reports in the last couple of days describing the murders at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in suburban Chicago as "senseless killings," and in this news report from India, a "senseless tragedy":
Seven Dead In US Campus Shooting, Killer Identified (Night Lead) News Post India
Is there a tragedy that "makes sense?"
There are many other killings, robberies, and other crimes which are always called "senseless," when in fact they make perfect sense -- to the criminal. A few notable examples:
Daniel James "Dan" White (1946–1985) was a former San Francisco City Supervisor who assassinated Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978 at City Hall.
President Jimmy Carter called this a "senseless killing."
But in Dan White's mind, the killings made perfect sense.
(In a controversial verdict, which led to the coining of the legal slang "the Twinkie defense," White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder. )
On September 6, 1986, in Istanbul, two terrorists from Abu Nidal's organization killed 22 and wounded six inside the Neve Shalom Synagogue during Shabbat services.
President Ronald Reagan described these murders as "senseless killings."
But to Islamo-fascist terrorists, killing Jews makes perfect sense.
President Lyndon Johnson said "Senseless killings, robberies, and auto accidents have resulted from the radical personality changes induced by the indiscriminate use of drugs."
Only a small percentage of drug users commit violent or property crimes. There are certainly many recreational drug users who are gainfully employed, make good money, and do not fund their drug use through criminal activities, any more than gainfully employed recreational smokers, recreational coffee drinkers, and recreational golfers. The few who commit such crimes do not engage in these activities "senselessly," or randomly, as though 50% blindly hold up banks or convenience stores, while, like the flip of a coin, the other 50% accidentally ("senselessly") hold up schools, abandoned buildings, and veterans' memorials, which have no rational possibility of providing the money they need for their drugs. These crimes are not "senseless."
"Black on black" violence in South Africa was the result of communist opposition to the apartheid government of F.W. de Klerk. Human rights organizations called these killings "senseless," as did the elder George Bush, but they were part of a well thought-out political strategy.
Dubya's Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, said of the bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 13th, 2003 "These are mindless, senseless killings." But many sharp minds planned the bombings, which seemed to them a sensible strategy to achieve their goals.
Secretary of State Colin Powell called the bombings "cowardly":
BBC NEWS Middle East Saudi bombing deaths rise
You and I probably wouldn't be brave enough to risk "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor" to carry out such an assignment. Terrorists are not "cowards." Secretary Powell missed the point.
In Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters at Fort Hood, Texas on April 11th, 2004, George W. Bush declared:
But I know what we're doing in Iraq is right. It's right for long-term peace. It's right for the security of our country, and it's hard work. And today, on bended knee, I thank the good Lord for protecting those of our troops overseas and our coalition troops and innocent Iraqis who suffer at the hands of some of these senseless killings by people who are trying to shake our will.
Obviously the killings are not "senseless" in the minds of those who calculate that the killings will "shake our will."
Finally, when Democrats need to raise extra money to make good on campaign promises, they levy "windfall profits" taxes on all the nasty businesses that create things we want and trick us into buying them, or Republicans perpetrate other forms of extortion on individuals. These are not "senseless" acts of theft and robbery. "Makes sense to me," politicians say.
The vast majority of crimes are not "senseless," random, haphazard, or non-rational. They make sense to the perpetrator.
"It seemed like the right thing to do at the time."
"I was desperate."
"He had it coming."
Calling such crimes "senseless" only perpetuates crime by ignoring the real cause and the real solution.
Crimes are not "senseless." Crimes are immoral. They are violations of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."
Those who believe in the myth of "separation of church and state" seem to believe that the greater crime is teaching children in school that God says "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal."
The United States Supreme Court once declared that America was a "Christian nation," a nation based on the philosophy that "Religion, morality and knowledge are necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind." This is why "Religion was once deemed to be a function of the public school system," as Justice Douglas admitted in his concurring opinion in Engel v. Vitale, 370 US 421 at 443, the case which removed voluntary prayer from public schools in 1962.
Every single person who signed the U.S. Constitution understood that the only way to prevent "senseless killings" was to denounce them as immoral and as violations of God's Commandments -- not just "senseless" -- and to endorse and promote Christian morality.