Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shootings: What next?

Guest Blogger, Cara Putman

I’ve spent much of the last week shaking my head and asking God what’s going on? First, there was the shooting at Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, last Wednesday. A highly troubled teen decided it was okay to take a gun into a Von Maur and open fire, killing 8 and himself.

Then Sunday morning I saw that a Youth With a Mission center outside of Denver, Colorado, had been attacked. At that time, the headlines said that four had been shot. Now we know that two were killed.

Then Sunday late afternoon, the headlines started flowing with details of a shooting at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As I write this, nobody is saying the YWAM and New Life shootings are connected, though there’s a sense that people desperately want them to be. Somehow it makes the tragedies easier to bear if one person or a small group was responsible for those two events rather than two separate individuals getting similar, horrific ideas in the same short period of time.

Westroads reopened on Saturday, and as far as I could tell on Monday morning, Von Maur remains closed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shopped in Westroads. When I lived in Lincoln and had family living in Omaha, it wasn’t unusual at all to run up the Interstate to Omaha to shop there.

Omaha is the heartland. Colorado Springs is an amazing city, one of the few that Eric and I talk about moving to with big grins on our faces. It has so much to offer, and yet remains a small city.

These shootings demonstrate once again, that senseless violence can occur anywhere.

We’re at a university development conference in Chicago with colleges from around the Midwest. Sunday some were talking about whether these shootings would lower thresholds and make the unacceptable acceptable in people’s minds. Is the day coming when we’ll enter shopping malls through metal detectors? I don’t know.

But as I thought about it I remembered that church shooting in Fort Wayne back in September 1999. That shooting was shocking as seven victims died during the youth service shooting. A pipe bomb was also used, though it had little effect, just as smoke machines seem to have been planted at New Life.

So as my heart breaks for these families, and as I ask God why He allows these attacks on His children, I also pray that somehow He will reveal His glory and His goodness in the midst of senseless tragedy.He is the only one who can turn the horrible deeds of this world into something beautiful.

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At Wednesday, 12 December, 2007, Blogger Gina Conroy said...

Very sad!

http://toothdigger.blogspot.com/ has some more info and links the two shootings in Colorado to the same shooter.

At Wednesday, 26 December, 2007, OpenID deannj3869 said...

I agree, these along with many other tragic situations that have worsened over the years, are all very sad and extremely disturbing. My heart also breaks for all of these famlies that have been in someway hurt by these events and also to those that will one day be involved.. Where you have stated "I ask God why He allows these attacks on His children, I also pray that somehow He will reveal His glory and His goodness in the midst of senseless tragedy.He is the only one who can turn the horrible deeds of this world into something beautiful." I truly believe God has a huge influence in everything that takes place but I feel he is giving us all a message that "we" are not doing something correctly. Our society has created an individualized, judgemental, stereotyping environment that places so many unnecessary pressures on not only children but also adults that are not priviledged enough to have the means(which can be from healthy foods to clothing, unconditional love and understanding, support(true support to allow them to become who they truly thrive on being), warm shelter,educational means or positive role models with the simpliest knowledge to problem solve productively in their lives) to fulfill the diverse needs required to successfully become self-actualized and be a productive part of society. Because the pressures create barriers which lead to an endless feeling we find a growing amount of irrational behaviors, which are often considered mental illnesses, and very often not taken seriously enough, which then leads to these horrific events. Instead of asking only God for the answers perhaps we should as a nation look within ourselves and our neighbors to begin creating environments that are less individually judgemental. Try to open our hearts and minds to letting people be who they are and stop the selfishness of trying to make people be who we feel they should be. Perhaps parents,schools and society should stop pressuring children in areas that are benefitting and meaningful to the adults and less meaningful to the child. Many have grown blind to what is truly benefitting to the children in the world today.As a parent of 2 children and completely devoted to their well being. I also have to very often step back and remember what is truly benefitting to them, or myself. I witness way too many parents living through their children and place their children into situations that encourage unhealthy competition. Evolution maybe important for many things in this world but I am not convinced that it is benefitting the children. Perhaps God is sending signs that we are going wrong in ways of the rediculous things that we are developing to offer to these children and adults. The adults are less hard working and way more dependant. I find it interesting to look into other countries that have developed societies that are group focused..are their children feeling these pressures? Are there as many issues of bullying? So, although I am very aware that are several growing cases of illnesses that do drive people to behave in ways that are harmeful to theirselves or others,I strongly question how many of these cases are due to increasing pressures of the environment that are often unthought of(by adults or other children that ARE capable of meeting the expectations) due to how "normal" todays expectations have become
or perhaps due to the many unnecassary chemicals that have become way over used in so many things(food, paint, ink, toys, heating). Could the entertainment industry possibly make anymore violent movies, games, toys or encouraging music to motivate more of this behavior? Of course I don't believe they have created the problem but it is an obvious encouragment for these children that dwell on emotions as such. Probably there will never be a solid answer for these questions mainly because it is easier to bandade things and be thankful it wasn't OUR own families and move on. In my heart and mind, the world has driven many of these poor children MAD, my sypathy not only goes to those who have wounded hearts but those who suffer the wounded minds driving them to do these irrational acts!!


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