Can We Please Just Shut Up and Mourn?
- Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The deadliest U.S. shooting took place in Killeen, Texas in 1991 when George Hennard drove his pickup truck into Luby’s Cafeteria and shot 23 people before taking his own life. Of course, one of the defining moments of our time is the tragedy of Columbine where the names Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were elevated from high school students to notorious killers when they took the lives of 12 students and a teacher before turning their guns on themselves.
Add to this running total of insanity the church shootings in Texas and Kentucky and the rampage of a madman in the Amish country and you have the personification of evil unleashed on our culture.
But what should happen as the smoke clears from the latest assault on our senses? I am not sure what should happen but I am definitely sure what should not happen. We should not be engaging in Monday morning quarterbacking and second guessing while parents are holding their breath to see if their sons or daughters are among those who were killed. I turned on my satellite radio as the news began to flow out of Virginia Tech and I was appalled to discover that before the last victim was removed from the building the finger pointing had begun. There were discussions about why the Administration failed to close down the 2,700 acre plus campus immediately. There were questions about how the gunman could kill two people in the morning in a dorm and two hours later extend the carnage to mind boggling proportions in a classroom and office building. People were blaming the president of the university, God, the devil, our sin sick culture, campus security, the police, and the government; literally no one was free from the possibility of blame. All of this while parents, friends, and loved ones were realizing their worst nightmare had come to pass.
What is wrong with us?! Can’t we at least for a few days just shut up and mourn? Can anything be gained at this point by pointing fingers? Will we find even a small measure of comfort in ascribing blame to someone or some institution? God help us that we have become so insensitive that we would look for answers to this tragedy before we look to God for comfort. This is not the time to cry out for a pound of flesh from decent people who reacted as best they could to an unfolding disaster. It is a time to cry out from our very soul to the God of all comfort for a huge measure of His grace in the face of this devastating evil.
There will be plenty of time later on to ask why. If we feel we have to hold somebody accountable for a random act of evil that can come later. We are so reluctant to acknowledge that evil exists we want to find a human scapegoat for the work of Satan. Some called into my talk show this morning to sound off about how evil we have become as a nation and how God was visiting judgment on us once again. I wonder if any of those callers would care to share that assessment with the parents of any of the students who were shot down in cold blood. Have we become so cold and callous that we view every event in light of making a political or spiritual point? That would be like me as a pastor going to the home of someone who died in car accident and asking them how they felt about the traffic laws of the state. It would be an insanely insensitive and sinful thing to do and yet the 24-hour news cycle is pursuing the same course.
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