Yesterday in Knoxville, TN the unthinkable happened.
While children were up front performing "Annie" in a Unitarian/Universalist service a madman opened fire with a 12 gauge shotgun, killing two and injuring five in the service. None of the children were harmed.
This wasn't his church. And he entered carrying a guitar case (in which was his shotgun). Hello? Churches are so naive when it comes to security these days. But that's another post.
Listed in this news article about the incident were the following reasons given by law enforcement and his neighbor as to why this man did such a horrible thing:
1. His lack of being able to obtain a job and his frustration over that;
2. His stated hatred for the liberal movement;
3. His anger toward the Bible and Christians;
4. His parents made him go to church.
Strange reasons? Not at all. What makes most of us angry? Employment (or lack of it). Politics. Religion. Parents. I've had my share of anger about every one of those in my lifetime. Who hasn't?
It's true that the Universalist/Unitarian religion is liberal. I personally disagree with most of what they believe and stand for. But you don't go around killing those with whom you disagree. At least not in a civilized society.
I had no choice about going to church while growing up. It was a non-negotiable. So why don't I hate my parents for making me go? In fact, I required my own kids to go as well, and guess where they are every Sunday by their own choice now as adults? What makes the difference?
They're calling this a "hate crime". Hate and anger are a dangerous duo. Sadly, I believe there will be more incidents like this one in our country's future, not less.
His response to life made him mad. He chose not to deal with his anger in a civil, moral fashion. He chose to be violent. No one made him do what he did. Not his parents; not a church; not liberalism; not religious hypocrisy.
Pray for the victims and their families. Pray for the gunman. It appears his soul is lost. Pray for justice.