This morning I wake up to a glorious sunrise and the temperature near 80 even before 8 am. I glance at my phone and I see 20 people have been executed in a nightclub in Orlando. Before I get to church the number is revised to 50. Here we go again.
I am proud of our pastor because she doesn’t take this as business as usual. She has us pray for not only the victims and their families, but for the entire planet. She has us think about the shooter’s family and, yes, even the shooter himself. Our guided meditation is a meditation affirming peace for the entire world.
When I return home, Facebook is full of the typical reactions. Liberals are calling for more gun control. Conservatives are saying don’t blame the gun designed for military use that can fire 30 rounds without being reloaded; rounds that can be reloaded in a couple of seconds, rounds that can kill two or more people with one shot in a crowded space. Ignore the fact you can only buy a limited number of Sudafed, but you can buy hundreds or thousands of bullets for an assault weapon.
Everyone has a solution. More gun control, a ban on Muslims, more guns on citizens, step up the war on terror. No one wants to accept the fact that there is nothing we can do to stop a determined nut who is hell bent on killing. The shooter would have passed any background check. We can’t jail people even for saying they support Al Qaeda and/or ISIS. These things happen and will continue to happen. Period.
There are prayers for the victims, prayers for the victim’s families. Some even pray for the shooter’s family. They didn’t just have their son transition early. He left behind a son himself; a son who will have to live the rest of his life with the legacy of being the son of a murderer. He left behind a mother and father who very few will comfort and even fewer will mourn the passing of their boy because of the way he chose to go out. The shooter could not possibly have begun to plumb the depths of the agony he has caused for just his family, let alone the families of the victims, the nation and even the world.
I am going to try to resist politicizing this. It’s a waste of breath to call for a ban on assault weapons. The gun clingers will just claim he would have found another way to kill 50 and would 53. I’m not going to argue with those who say if we had just bombed ISIS more it would have stopped this New York born homophobe from acting in Orlando. There is no point in having these arguments again. We have more than one mass shooting a day in the United States now (not all resulting in fatalities). We have decided, even though we won’t admit it, that we are OK with that. Most mass shootings don’t even make the national news. They’re too common. If you want to get on TV, you have to kill four or more people. Kill 50 and we really pay attention. We don’t have time for small killings.
Today, the victim’s families are being told their loved ones are not coming home. The shooter’s family is going through a special kind of hell. The “victims” are in bliss as they are Home. And while I am still a committed universalist, I believe that our actions here have consequences, even if self imposed. I believe the shooter is suffering as he feels the unimaginable ripple effects of his heinous actions. His intent was to end the lives of the people in that club, something that in his eyes was the ultimate punishment. What he doesn’t realize is that for those who “died”, he set them free from this crazy place. The hell he thought he was sending them to is being experience by the survivors and the families of those he took. Pray for those left behind. And maybe spare a prayer for the shooter.