A Heinous Act

I had every intention of writing about Chik-fil-a and company president Dan Cathey’s assertion of something we really knew: that the Cathey family and Chik-fil-a are basically anti-gay. But, something happened last night that I can’t ignore. In a crowded movie theater, in the middle of the latest Batman movie, a man in a bullet-proof vest stood and fired into the ceiling. Then, he popped a can of tear gas and threw it into the crowd. As they moved to the exits to escape the gas, he opened fire on them, killing 12 and injuring at least 50 others, including more than a few children. The  police have a subject in custody, a man named James Holmes. A search of his car turned up a gas mask, an assault rifle, two hand guns and ammunition. So far, there is no mention of why he did this or what he might hoped to accomplish. This incident is bringing back memories of the shooting in Arizona that took the lives of 5 people and injured 18, one of them Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Right now, I’m falling back on what a friend told me back then, that you can’t make sense of the senseless, so let it go. Or, at least I’m trying to do that.

I’ve seen several people on-line who believe that more people carrying concealed weapons would have stopped this, but I’m not sure about that. In North Carolina, training lasts one day and spends most of that on legalities, not combat shooting. That’s a problem, because shooting at paper targets is one thing, shooting at a real, live human being (especially one that’s shooting back) is something else entirely. A lot of people believe they could easily pull the trigger on someone like James Holmes, but I don’t know about that. I know some of the people who say they could do this, but I hope they’re wrong. Taking a life is never, and should never be, easy and I just don’t believe my friends are that callous. Then, we have the possibility of ill-trained marksmen spraying the theater, trying to hit the gunman and instead adding to his body count of dead and wounded. No, this incident would have only been made worse by more weapons going off.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the Second Amendment and I’m okay with concealed carry…, sometimes. I don’t own any weapons and have no plans to acquire any; I’m placing my safety in the hands of God. It wouldn’t matter if I loaded up like a Mexican bandito, I do not believe I could take another human life under any circumstance. It’s just not in me, partly because the rabbi I follow teaches non-violence. He tells us in Matthew, chapter 5

”  But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well. 40 When they wish to haul you to court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. 41 When they force you to go one mile, go with them two.”

I’ll end this with a prayer written by my friend, Kimberly Knight, a pastor in the United Church of Christ:

” Gracious and loving God, you watch the ways of all of us and the utter destruction of which our hands are capable. … We implore you to weave goodness and grace In the lives of those destroyed by senseless violence. Surround those whose lives are shattered with a sense of your present love. Wrap them in the worn quilt of your compassion. Though they are lost in grief, May they find you and be comforted. Amen”