This week, the world learned about an American soldier who allegedly went on a killing spree in an Afghan village. The veteran Army staff sergeant is reported to have moved from house to house as villagers slept and killed 16 civilians, including 9 children. Meanwhile, half a world away, Alexander Song, 19, a University of Maryland student, posted a message on a website: "'I will be on a shooting rampage tomorrow on campus. Hopefully I kill enough people to make it to national news.'"
There is a war that is going on in the minds and in the souls of people—a war that is taking place inside. Although the violence may be projected outward, it is inner conflict, turmoil, confusion, hurt and more that can escalate and cause people to strike out, to attack others, to even harm themselves. The solution? Seeking help is an obvious one. But it is apparent that many of the perpetrators don't realize they need help? Then it's up to others --family, friends, loved ones and even strangers--to be vigilant; to take it upon themselves to make sure they are OK and others are OK, too.
William Tecumseh Sherman, the Union general who initiated a "scorched earth" strategy during the Civil War that left thousands of people dead or wounded, was right: "War is hell!" but until we realize there can be "an inner war and an inner hell" that can exist within every human, we will have more alleged killing sprees by veteran soldiers and more murderous threats by 19-year-old students.