Anna is a pastor, writer, and theologian who obtained her BA in religion in '06, Diploma of Ministry in '16, and Diploma of Divinity in '17.
The pattern of violence
Here we are again. A little more than a month after the deadliest mass shooting in modern North American history claimed the lives of 58 innocent men and women, we’re back. This time 26 men, women, and children were gunned down in what became the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, and the fifth deadliest in modern US history. It won’t be long before I’m writing still another article on yet another mass shooting. It’s starting to get to where you can set your clock by it. There’s not too much I can add to the debate, everybody has made their points and nothing has changed. And nothing will change. Nothing will change because we don’t want it to change. I wrote an article already about how guns are an idol to some. Sadly, the fate of Americans is in the hands of those who put guns before God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
— Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:9
Most gun owners would like congress to enact common sense gun laws to prevent mass tragedies. Most gun owners are reasonable people who want the senseless violence to stop. Unfortunately, they aren’t the ones passing legislation or lobbying the government. That’s in the hands of people who value money over human life. Between January 1st to June 30th, the NRA spent $3.2 million lobbying the government to advance their own agenda. They spent more in the first six months in 2017 than they did in the entire year of 2016. You can believe that human welfare wasn’t part of their agenda.
While the NRA is far from the largest lobby in Washington, they are among the most powerful. Unfortunately, such interest groups rarely work for the interest of the entire country. Policy that they promote can occasionally lead to harm, as was the case in Texas yesterday. The gunman was 26 year old, Devin Patrick Kelley, who, in 2014, was given a dishonorable discharge from the US Air Force after he assaulted his wife and child. That same year he was charged with cruelty to animals in El Paso County Colorado. Despite this history of violence, he passed the background check to legally obtain a Ruger AR-556 rifle, however, due to his previous legal problems, he was denied a right to carry permit. Naturally, the lack of a legal permit did nothing to deter him from walking into First Baptist Church, near San Antonio, Texas, opening fire on random churchgoers, and killing innocent parishioners ranging in ages from 18 months to 77 years. Roughly half of the victims were children, including the pastor’s fourteen year old daughter. Within a single family, eight members, spanning three generations, were killed, including a pregnant mother. About 20 other people were wounded in the massacre.
By the latest reports, the attack seems to be a domestic violence issue, rather than a religious one. Kelley had allegedly sent his mother -in -law threatening texts prior to the incident. She was a member of the church, although she was absent that morning. However, the investigation is still ongoing and no motive has yet been officially determined.
26 Children have gone home to God
Those 26 slain souls are martyrs now. Ironic that they were killed on a day that some Protestant denominations commemorate the saints of the church. The loss of these saints is a tragedy, but all is not lost. They died in the hope of Christ. They’re now clothed in white, standing before the throne of God (Revelations 7). Their troubles are over and they’re at peace. For Christians it’s not about this life, it’s about the next life. This journey is full of trials and tribulations to test us, refine us, and make us whole before an Almighty God. Those 26 saints have completed their race and are now enjoying their reward, given freely to them by the Grace of God.
No, I will not mourn the dead in that massacre, for they now reside in the Kingdom of Heaven. I will, however, grieve with their family and friends. I will mourn with their pastor. I will cry with their neighbors, coworkers, classmates, and teachers. My sympathy goes out to those left behind the senseless tragedy. With them I grieve, I pray, and I ask “why?” why do we live in a nation where this is the norm? We’ve become numb to such violence as it happens far too often. This slaughter will dominate the headlines for another few days, and then we’ll move on. We’ll turn our attention to the Russian scandal, or the latest sex abuse crime, and we’ll forget that 26 people lost their lives on November 5th 2017.
Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.
— Psalm 34:14
More meaningless debates
Over the next few days, our nation will discuss the gun debate, but no meaningful reform will pass. Our politicians will talk about mental health, but nothing will be done to actually help the mentally ill. People will leave their thoughts and prayers on Twitter and Facebook, but few, if any, will reach out to help the survivors and family members of the slain. And frankly, I’m tired. I’m tired of the tens of thousands of innocent people murdered every year. I’m tired of politicians who refuse to step up and pass legislation that will increase the safety of the very people who voted for them. I’m tired of writing about the violence in this country. And I despair that it will continue.
As a nation we know what we should do, but we refuse to do it. We’ve accepted mass murder as a normal fact of life. We’re no longer outraged by the evil that permeates our society. We now just take it for granted that we can be killed in a school, concert, movie theater, or church. There are no more safe places, we see the evil and the violence as an expected, unfortunate, annual occurrence, on par with taxes or prostate exams. We pretend we live in a Christian nation, but the violence contradicts those claims. Any nation that accepts such savage brutality is ruled by Satan, not by God.
The sad fact is: mankind is dark. Devin Patrick Kelley allegedly posted atheist memes on Facebook and proudly displayed pictures of his guns. He was a violent individual who beat his wife, child, and even his pet. Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, had a history of anger management issues. Omar Mateen, the Orlando killer, hated gays, Dylann Roof, the Charleston church shooter, hated African Americans, Greg Hennard, who killed 24 people in Texas in 1991, hated women and minorities. Adam Lanza, who murdered 28 people at Sandy Hook, had a disturbing fascination with the Columbine massacre, which itself was perpetrated by two teens who had a history of violence against animals.
Mankind is dark, but Jesus is light. There will always be deeply disturbed, deranged, and violent individuals. As Christians, it is our duty to pray for their souls. We should pray for a damaged country, and for the violence to end. As Christians we should be proactive in fight for peace. We should stand in the frontlines against evil. We should fight for legislation that would protect us all. Praying for victims is only the beginning; we should donate towards funeral and hospital costs, reach out to the survivors, and let it be known that our God is the God of peace and righteousness. This is our duty as Christians; to extend the olive branch of peace to all mankind. Violence is an insult to man and God alike. As a nation, it is our duty to acknowledge that there will always be evil and twisted human beings, but we don't need to arm them.
© 2017 Anna Watson
Alternative Prime from > California on November 07, 2017:
NICE Article ~ Unfortunately, the United States or the World has NEVER Experienced such "X-Tremely DARK , Tumultuous & Dangerous Times" until ANGRY, Hate Filled Weakling Mr. Trump arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a "RIGGED Election" orchestrated by our Arch Enemy RUSSIA resulted in a Deranged, Unhinged Pseudo-President ~
What an UNFORTUNATE Tragedy, the worst Mass Shooting in Texas' HISTORY occuring shortly after the worst Mass Shooting in Nevada HISTORY & in between, the worst Mass Homicide via a motor vehicle in New York since 9/11 ~ The 10 month trend is ominous & OUR Hearts Break for the victims, but we can't help but ponder the thought of WHY Mr. Trump has ushered in via "INCITEMENT & Instigation", a HISTORIC & Record Breaking Up-Tick in Mass Murder, Terrorism both Domestic & Foreign, Hate CRIMEs & Violence ~
All this VIOLENCE was supposed to "Miraculously END" when he entered our white house remember? But what happened? It's "X-Tremely WORSE" ~
GUNz take the lives of thousands of innocent Americans annually which is WHY we must ENFORCE the 2cnd Amendment "Firearm BAN" immediately, unless affiliated with the Military, National Guard, Police Force etc ~ Republicans recently "ROLLED Back" a law which prohibited gun ownership for mentally ill elderly individuals who need help with day to day living ~ An insane act by a CONservative Congress ~
Perhaps it's as simple as "DARK Kharma" producing "DARK Demonic Occurances" ~