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Why?

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For some reason, this picture spoke a thousand words to me. Overwhelming loss of life. Grief. Trauma. Heartbroken families. Sudden tragedy.

Fifty-nine lives ended abruptly Sunday night.

Five hundred people are still suffering physical injuries.

Thousands of families, first responders, and concert-goers are in the initial stages of traumatic stress and grief.

Once we get past the basic facts—who, what, when, where, and how—we grapple with the ambiguous question of “why.” America has suffered through so many shootings since Columbine in 1999 that the aftermath is sadly predictable: democrats blame guns, republicans buy guns for fear of them being outlawed, and the root of the problem is drowned beneath raging rhetoric.

The root of the problem has little to do with means and everything to do with motive. If possessed by a strong enough desire to harm others, a person will find whatever means are at their disposal to carry it out. In our haste to “fix” things (i.e. demanding we outlaw the means), we overlook the immediate needs of the broken and merely change the means by which future cruelty will be meted out.

The problem is as old as humanity itself. Cain didn’t need a gun to kill his brother Abel. His rage and jealousy propelled him to commit murder, and he intended to do it by whatever means he had at his disposal. For some unfathomable reason, the shooter in Las Vegas wanted to kill innocent people. Was he drunk? High? Mentally unstable? Criminally insane? I don’t know why, and I probably never will.

One thing is certain: This was not an act of love, but an act of cruelty.

In reading up on the shooter, I felt like I was reading a worn-out plot line: Shooter had no family; Divorced twice; Operating alone; committed suicide post-incident. No excuse can or should be made for this incident, but it begs the question: Are we somehow creating a culture of loneliness? Are people withering into cruel creatures because they feel unwanted? Unloved? Unneeded?

We live in a world of shadows and light. We see the light of God’s love in the selfless acts of kindness shared by our fellow humans. In those moments we have a brief glimpse of what it means to be created in the image of God. Sadly, the shadows of satan distort that image, warping it with selfishness, hatred, cruelty, and malice. Sometimes those shadows fall on our path, extinguishing our happiness for days or even decades.

Why?

Why did Hitler sanction Nazi camps? Why did Rwanda happen? Why did those innocent children die at Sandy Hook? Why did millions die in the trenches of the Western front? Why did my friend die from an IED in Iraq?

Why?? Because we all have the capacity to love or to hate; to be selfish or selfless; to walk in the light of God or the darkness of the world.

Instead of asking why, how about I ask myself some Who/What/When/Where/How Questions:

Who can I help today? Who needs a friend?

What can I do to help? What words (or deeds) of encouragement can I bring?

When should I act? (Answer: At every opportunity!)

Where should I go to show this love? (Answer: Start at home and work your way out!)

How can I bring the gentle light of love into the shadows of someone’s brokenness?

Why should I do any of this? Because I want to bring the joy and light and love of my Savior to a broken, dark, and hateful world.

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17 thoughts on “Why?

    1. Amen, sister. Reaching out is hard because it requires a bit of vulnerability. That’s just what Jesus did though, he touched the untouchables and loved selflessly.

      Thank you for your comment. God be with you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Satan is at the center of all the pain, cruelty, injustice and evil, isn’t he? We forget that he prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. I agree, may we walk with the Lord each day so he can help us and hold us when these things happen.

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  1. Here is a question I would like American gun rights supporters to answer honestly. Last weekend a Somali refugee in Canada rammed his car into a police cruiser and then attacked the injured officer with a knife. This ISIS inspired supporter of jihad then got into a Uhaul truck and drove down the main downtown thoroughfare in Edmonton and mowed down four bystanders. The end result: five people in total, including the police officer were injured. All but one are expected to make a full recovery.
    Why didn’t this ISIS flag carrier use a gun to carry out his mayhem? The simple answer is he was living in Canada where guns are harder to come by.
    I know my words will fall on deaf ears. The gun rights people will object to linking these two attacks from the past weekend. But hate and mental derangement know no boundaries, however, national governments do set boundaries on gun availability and use within their borders. America’s embrace of the gun will ensure that incidents like the tragedy in Las Vegas are repeated over and over. I am sure no amount of finger wagging from north of the border will change the American perspective.
    Meanwhile most Canadians are very thankful for laws that restrict firearms. I can only wish that for the sake of the dead and injured, and those who will be mowed down in the future, a bit of common sense will take root rather than resorting to the knee-jerk defense of the gun lobby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, David. I hope you’ll bear with me on this long response.

      I try very hard to guard my mouth against knee-jerk responses. I still fail quite often! I guess this is where working on taming the tongue and remembering that I need to be humble come in handy. 🙂 Unfortunately, most people are into the five-second soundbite and say whatever pops into their brain…

      When tragedy like this strikes, my initial response is usually this: “We need professional listeners (and maybe even professional ‘huggers’)—people who will be present for those impacted to help them through the shock and grief.” I am married to someone with active PTSD, so that will always be my first reaction. The aftermath of trauma lasts far longer than the injuries themselves.

      As far as gun rights, it’s not as simple as no guns = no violence, though I do not take issue with the question of gun rights being posed. A balanced examination of any issue should put all questions on the table. Please know, that I do appreciate your point of view and I often weigh these things repeatedly when they are brought to my attention.

      It has been my observation that people can do just as much carnage with IEDs as they can with guns. I also vividly remember the devastation as 3,000 Americans died on September 11, 2001 without a single shot being fired. Planes became a weapon instead of a mode of transportation. I still flinch when a plane flies low overhead.

      In any republic (or democracy), we are one election away from tyranny. One bad ruler who decides to take complete control of armaments will be able to subdue the populace without exerting much effort. In America, because we want to keep government as limited as possible, the knowledge that the bulk of the citizenry is armed keeps the government from excessive overreach (though they are still trying). It also provides citizens a means of protection against those who intend to do them harm. First responders can take ten plus minutes to get to a scene, and by then, it’s often too late to help the victim.

      Are guns misused? Absolutely they are—and I hate it. There’s no sugar-coating it. I don’t have the perfect solution…

      I get just as livid when people text and drive, knowing full well that they are one distraction away from killing someone with their car. I just looked up the stats today and found out that according to the CDC, nine people are killed each day by distracted driving. Nine people PER day! That’s around three thousand people each year! Even though the action was not driven by intense evil, the consequences are devastating. The loss of even one life is tragic for their loved ones.

      Allow me to reiterate that your question does not fall on deaf ears. The humble listen and consider. I still believe the source of these incidents stem from the moral ambiguity that has lessened the value of human life. It could be that our society no longer has the wisdom to have guns, but I am not the expert on such issues…

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      1. Very busy my friend. Working 6 days a week and writing devotionals for my looking deadline to submit for editing and trying to blog. Just the way I love things really. And you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow! You are certainly busy! I’m doing good here. I’ve been doing lots of writing and volunteering while trying to keep the family humming along. I’m teaching bible class again too, so I understand busy for sure! Hang in there, brother, and may the Lord bless your work! 😊

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  2. Unfortunately we live in a fallen world because of sin. Broken systems, attitudes and values which are often self focused and history we don’t always learn from. The beautiful thing is that God is so good that he gives us the freedom to make choices, we are not robots! The who, what where, when and how questions are awesome, all in the realm of our control where so many other things are not. We may not be able top prevent all evil, but if every believer decided to be proactive in their life and act on those questions you ask, I wonder how different the world would be…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on themomfred and commented:
    Okay, this post is a bit outside of my guidelines for the avoidance of angst and controversy, but it is beautifully written, and I would particularly like to draw attention to her gracious response in the comments regarding firearms, and now it will be back to the hard work of writing posts myself, but I have greatly enjoyed the sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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