Where does one begin? How does one wrap their mind around the carnage, the pain, the hurt, the questions and questionable reports when mass chaos, mass destruction, and mass shootings take place like that which recently occurred in Las Vegas?
Whenever an “act of pure evil” (as President Trump called it) takes place, there have been several things which we can count on happening. Let’s look at a few of these.
Amidst the common loss and pain we hear tales of love for one’s fellow man and heroism. Americans—indeed, humanity at large—rise to the challenge at hand and often put themselves ahead of others. In this latest tragedy, we have read of a nurse who lost his own life protecting his wife, military veterans saving lives, and off duty police officers making themselves targets by standing up and directing others to safety. Another account is told of an U.S. Marine protecting a woman he met only two hours earlier. When thanked by her sister, his response was, “Absolutely, that’s what we do, take care of our own and those around us. Glad I could be there for her in that crazy time.”
With each terrifying event we hear responses of hatred and callousness and love and prayer.Before victim’s bodies grew cold and while others were still dying, there was a chilling hatred that was splashed across Facebook by a top CBS executive. The DAILYWIRE reports: “A top legal executive at CBS, Hayley Geftman-Gold, is in hot water after she reacted to horrifying events in Las Vegas by posting on Facebook that she was ‘not even sympathetic’ to shooting victims because ‘country music fans often are Republican gun toters.’” We are happy to report that she is no longer employed by CBS; however, this isn’t CBS’s “first rodeo” in this realm. Do you remember when Rep. Steve Scalise was severely shot during softball practice? It was another CBS employee who suggested that Republicans wounds were “self inflicted.”
At the other end of the spectrum we heard this same Steve Scalise respond to this mass shooting with compassion, and prayer. Beyond that, according to the The Hill, Scalise also called for “people across America to stand together in solidarity, and to support the Las Vegas community and all of those affected, especially by giving blood and encouraging others to do the same. In the face of unspeakable evil, our whole nation must respond with countless acts of kindness, warmth and generosity.”
Neither love nor hatred is assigned solely to a particular political party or religious affiliation; its compassion or callousness transcends all groups, landing upon and coming from each individual’s heart.
In the wake of every tragedy we see the politicization of some agenda. In many cases it is the Second Amendment which comes under fire. Hillary Clinton and other Democrats saw this as another reason for stricter gun control, but President Trump remains steadfast in supporting the Constitutional rights of Americans on this topic. There were also people who were caught in this shower of bullets who both support the Second Amendment and who do not. Caleb Keeter, a guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band that performed at the festival hours before the shooting broke out, says that he has always been a supporter of the Second Amendment but “Enough is enough….We need gun control RIGHT NOW.” On the other side, the New York Daily News reported “two survivors maintained their support for the Second Amendment, saying there was no way to prevent the attack.” One of the these survivors said,“It’s a tragic cost of freedom, that people can do bad things....If you can find a gun law that would prevent this from happening I could sign up today but I am proud of our country’s Second Amendment rights and I’m glad we are allowed to defend ourselves.”
Too many want to blame guns when it is really the heart of man that is the problem. Until sin-sick men become sick of sin and are changed by the wonderful grace of Jesus, evil will always spew forth from the heart of men.
Another similarity in these regularly occurring tragic events is the claimed motive and its denial. Whether it’s an attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” or ISIS/ISIL taking credit for these atrocities as an Islamic jihad, the authorities most often state that they don’t know why these things have happened. There is a constant lack of justice and a gluttonous overeating of lawlessness due to its being shoved down our throats, which leaves a bad taste in our mouths, perplexity in our minds, and unsettled feelings of no safety and no security. What choice do we have but to think those in authority are either inept or purveyors of political correctness?
ISIL claims that the Las Vegas shooter was a recent convert and that the attack was “in response to calls to target coalition countries.” The Telegraph reports “Isil often claims attacks by individuals inspired by its message but with no known links to the group. ‘Despite popular opinion, they do not claim everything,’ said Shiraz Maher, a lecturer in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. ‘When [Isil] does claim something, there’s usually some degree of actual connection.’”
Having worked on a psychiatric ward for 13 years, when someone told us that they were going to hurt us we paid attention and believed them. When ISIS/ISIL says they are going to hurt us or that they have hurt us, they should be believed and we should take that warning to heart, thereby naming and preparing for the enemy. By no means are we saying that every Muslim is a danger or a terrorist, but we should have our eyes open to the many, many forms of jihad which are taking place in our country.
The final similarity I would point out is the fact that vigils are always held. Men and women are remembered fondly and said to be in a better place. They are missed and this gives some modicum of comfort while soothing our restless minds at the unexpected, senseless violence which was just perpetuated. Bound for heaven or bound for hell, each of these victims is a soul who has stepped into eternity and is done preparing to meet their God. As they are, they eternally shall be.
Our hearts are broken over the loss these families feel and we can be certain that somewhere, sometime, another attack will occur. Perhaps the next one will also be “the largest mass shooting in U.S. history,” as was Orlando before this. It’s possible that you or I or someone we know will be a victim. Recognizing that each tragedy or natural death propels one into eternity to give an account of their life to Almighty God, we must make sure that we are ready.
Those who died, while in attendance at the concert in Las Vegas, never imagined that they’d be in eternity today. There, one man fired on many; two thousand years ago the sin of the world and all who ever lives was fired upon one man, the God-man Jesus Christ. Put your trust in Him today; we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.
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