It's human nature to assign blame. I have a theory that by pinning responsibility on someone else, we absolve ourselves. And we feel less afraid, because once we decide why it happened we think we can prevent it.
So who raises a shooter? Who gives birth to him? Who has first grade pictures with missing front teeth on their living room walls to prove that this monster was once a regular kid? We know a few things for sure, the shooter is usually quiet and introverted or outgoing and really friendly. They had learning disabilities or were geniuses. They were bullied. They were bullies.
Always, we can't believe it.
We long for the details, the history that tells the whole story. I do, at least. I can't get enough of the human-ness of the shooter. The regular stuff. Those elementary school pictures that are shown on CNN, I could stare at them for hours. The junior high basketball player who grows up and kills a room full of people. Shouldn't someone that disturbed be too, I don't know, messed up to play basketball?
Who raises a shooter?
Not satan standing in the middle of a pentagram painted in red on a teenager's bedroom wall. Or subliminally sung backwards in a song or at the end of a virtual assault rifle in a video game. Nothing so obvious or, we think, preventable. The satan responsible for the shooter is the one who wants only one thing, you in hell. That's it, that's the motivation we want as we ask why oh why oh why?
So satan can have him, the shooter, in hell.
Jesus is all that has ever saved us and all that will stop the shooter. Jesus, redeemer of the world. It doesn't really matter all that much, those details we are so hungry for. All that truly matters is that each of us takes on the great commission, go ye into all the world!
Pentagrams on the walls, offensive music, video games and Harry Potter and camo and vile language and defiance and horror movies? Assault weapons? The internet? Those are distractors. Those are the things that we focus on when in fact, they will burn in the end with the rest of earth's temporal details. They make people unlikeable, they encourage debates and polarization in families and in Washington. All the while, little boys with gap toothed grins are growing up into shooters. Under our noses. Yours and mine. After all, we could be the next citizen to gaze into the camera and tell the reporter, "I just can't believe it."
We need Jesus to turn us into lovers of the unlovable. Until we can consider the names of Klebold and Harris, Adam Lanza and all of the ones who will yet become another name on the list of shooters and be broken into people that can love them and mourn for them; we have failed.
And in our failure, we have become a people who give birth to shooters.
It's a hard pill to swallow. But we all bear the responsibility to love them, both before and after the gunfire. There is not expression of Jesus except love. Only God could give us that kind of love, it will never make sense. And we'll never know how many shooters we disarmed on this side of heaven. So I will thank you now. Thank you to those who loved with the unreasonable love of Jesus and stopped the shooter before he aimed his hatred at Jay and Mac. Or Dean. Or my parents or sister and her family.
Thank you, you saved my family's lives.
I promise, I will do the same for you.
Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.