Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned
~ W.B. Yeats
Today we learned that there is no shelter from the depravity of our era. Even in the peaceful, pastoral environs of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where the insulated Amish community excludes electricity and automobiles from its lifestyle, the evil violence that scars our modern times finds a nesting place.
A lone gunman entered a one-room schoolhouse and brutally murdered three, no--four little girls. At least six more remain in critical condition from the execution-style shootings. The butcher killed himself; he was a local milk truck driver.
What is going on in our society?
There are as many theories as there are people you ask. Personally, I believe our culture has lost its soul. There is no right or wrong any longer; there are only "extenuating circumstances" and "outside factors" to justify any and all actions. There are no clearly recognized good or evil actions; there are merely "choices" and "alternatives."
One may point to the decline of strong family structures, the weakening educational system, the loosening of cultural restraints, or shrinking congregations in churches and synogogues, as aspects of our societal degeneration. All of these negative elements, and more, converge to produce the "mere anarchy" of which Yeats speaks so prophetically in his 1921 poem.
The "blood-dimmed tide" has indeed been loosed. And innocence has long since been engulfed in its deadly fury.