“It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion” (W.R. Inge).
This quote has more then one meaning. For me, I am left with the question, “who the heck are these wolves? And how powerless am I against them?”
It is implied that the wolves are those who will eat the sheep. And that despite our best efforts, we can’t keep these wolves from the door. They can huff and puff and blow our house down…even if it is constructed of brick and mortar.
So it is as we read of a 17-year-old boy carrying a shotgun and a revolver opening fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, most of them students. And before that late May shooting in Texas, there had been 23 gun incidents and 17 deaths at American schools and universities since a gunman killed 17 staff and students at a Florida High School in February.
Closer to home, and as of the day of this article being written, 2 people detonated a bomb in a Mississauga restaurant injuring 15 people.
Where is our power to stop it? In Sweden they are making a valiant attempt to fence out the wolves (at least some of them) by distributing an updated 20-page booklet on how to survive such threats as “accidents, extreme weather, an attack, or war!” I suppose this can help. But even in Sweden where homicide and murder rates are well known as very low, other crimes, such as sex related offenses (including rape) and robberies, have increased…some quite significantly. It seems that no matter the attempts to stop them, the hungry wolves don’t simply leave…instead, they adapt to meet the times.
Can anything prepare and equip us to fend off the wolves? Can such a manual as Sweden’s, no matter how well written or extensive, fully address the kind of terrors we hear increasingly happening every week? Its one thing to fight off the wolf you can visualize and monitor. It is an entirely different story when the most shocking crimes are occurring by the hand of the quiet neighbor living around the corner…the notorious wolf who hides in sheep’s clothing.
Generally, I’m full of all manner of hopeful thought, but truth is, the wolf is for real. Bad things happen. And there is no avoiding it. Most of us can suppress this truth until till something happens. Then we fall apart with some manner of a PTSD that we didn’t even know our body was carrying.
Much work is being done to try and understand the social, political, and economic structures that wakens the hunger of wolves. Much of this falls into the category of crime management; a highly complex study of the need for effectual preventative campaigns, law enforcement and criminal justice. This includes such measures (many arguable) as stricter sentencing for violent crimes, tightened gun control, increased (and strategic) policing, early childhood intervention, urban upgrading, and family education.
However, trust as we must that these ideas will get a foot hold, for now, at least, the wolf is here to stay. And, as I see it, we must make psychological and spiritual adjustments to counter the effect that such an undeniable threat creates.
To be continued…