With so many shootings–both in Omaha and Colorado–in so little time, we have much to mourn and much to think about.
First of all, there is the unexpected tragedies that have torn families apart in a season when families usually come together. My heart aches for these victims.
Secondly, there is another tragic element in which two people decided that the only option left in life was a violent end that brought about death, chaos, and fear. How does this happen? As we pray for the victims, we should also pray for the tormented souls out there who are imprisoned by this kind of thinking.
After the tears dry and the wounds begin to heal, we also have some big issues to think about. Having just finished reading an article about nonviolence by Shane Claiborn–in which he is attacked by a gang, refuses to fight back, and comes out of it relatively unharmed–I have been thinking a lot about the use of force and issues of self-defense.
In the case of New Life Church, I was surprised to hear they had an armed guard on campus. It was clearly the right call, especially after the first shooting incident at YWAM, but it is saddening to hear that churches need to think about security now. The matter of using violent force will be a tough one Christians to consider. Now is not the time to figure this out, but we cannot avoid this discussion in the near future.
Another big issue that we will have to consider soon is gun control. When is enough, enough? Will several high-profile suburban shootings finally catch our attention, or will gun control advocates hold their ground as they did after Virginia Tech? Can we learn something from the gun laws of nations such as Germany in which gun ownership is linked with a club in which the members of the club bear part of the responsibility for each member?
Church security and gun laws will have to wait, but in the wake of these tragedies and the terror they have caused, they will need to be part of our discussions in the near future.