After weeks, maybe months, of persuasion, I took the boys to a midnight (actually a midnight:twenty) showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Let’s get this clarified at the first. I don’t do late nights. And it’s an odd (or is it) coincidence that today’s 365 Things talks about a good night’s sleep.
So yesterday morning, after getting in bed at 3:45, I did not accept the alarm at 5:00 to go to the YMCA. I actually slept until about 8:00 a.m. and groggily made it down stairs to telework and to consume a lot of coffee.
Did I mention a lot of coffee?
I turned on the PC for my morning reading and email checking only to be faced with the news out of Aurora, Colorado. A deranged gunman had opened fire on a theater showing “The Dark Knight Rises.” The initial report I saw was 14 dead, but the final numbers were 12 dead and 58 injured.
Then we as Americans started showing our true character.
One would hope that character would be an honest outpouring of shock and sympathy. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney issued statements and scaled back the campaigning. There were messages of support and compassion across the internet. Every refresh of Facebook or Twitter showed another.
But our true character came with the finger pointing. And, in reality, it showed that evil was just not in the heart of the gunman.
First I heard that the murderer had been identified as an Iranian immigrant, but that the “news” was quickly pulled. Of course the conservative site where I learned that was certain it was the liberal bias to never identify a radical Muslim.
The reality was that information was incorrect.
But it’s hard to fault the conservative site for making that assumption when you have ABC’s Brian Ross coming out and identifying the shooter as a member of the Colorado Tea Party. Prompting a 52 year-old man to issue a statement on his Facebook page (being bombarded with “friend” requests) to say “Hey! That’s not me!”
ABC retracted the statement but not before that man was caused a considerable amount of grief. Have we not learned anything from our experiences in rushing to judgment on the Treyvon Martin death, or the Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting? Ask Richard Jewell what his life was like after he was mistakenly identified as the Atlanta Olympics bomber.
I hope the gentleman in Colorado falsely accused by ABC news spent a lot of time with his attorney yesterday. And I hope when he’s the owner, he brings us better programming on ABC.
People. Slow down.
I put out this plea on Facebook yesterday morning:
Can we all just agree that the shooter in Colorado was crazy and evil and get a grip before MISTAKENLY making this about politics again?
It was a futile attempt that was already too late.
As the day progressed the typical calls for gun control emerged. Countering that was the argument that if people were allowed to carry guns, (the Aurora mall is a “gun free zone”) that the shooter could have been stopped.
That’s all speculation. But reality is that legal gun ownership is not the problem. 65,000,000 gun owners in the United States didn’t kill anyone on Friday.
Still, yesterday wasn’t the time for that debate.
There is evil in this world. There is evil in this country.
That’s what killed 12 people and injured 58 others. Evil.
And a good bit of crazy.
As a follower of Christ, I have to see this in a spiritual context. Scripture tells us:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
~ Psalm 33:12
That’s not to open up the whole “is America a Christian nation” argument.
But what is indisputable is that we were founded on Judeo-Christian values. Don’t argue with me, learn your history.
And we have been a nation that has called on God to bless our country in times of good and bad.
But we’re now a country where prayer is no longer allowed in schools or in public meetings. A country where Jesus is mocked almost daily in television, music and other media. A country where a pastor can be jailed for having a Bible study in his home.
Yet somehow evil like the Aurora shooting still shocks us.
Look, I’m not some sort of end times zealot or doomsday prophet. But I do understand that the hope for the United States doesn’t lie in government or more laws. There is no candidate, right or left, that can heal this land.
I’m running the risk of getting too preachy here, and I don’t want to do that.
I understand that there is one real hope for this nation, and this world. We can call on him.
But don’t be surprised by the evil prevalent when we reject him.
Here’s what (or who) we need: