November 20, 2017

Why isn’t Rachel weeping today?

Rachel weeping for her children

Rachel weeping for her children

Why are large segments of the Church in the U.S., made up of people who claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, the Giver of Life, and the Overcomer of Death, so unmoved by this?

I simply want to ask the Church in the U.S. — why are we so unmoved by this ubiquitous violence and death? Where are the prayer vigils? The marches? The media campaigns? Why such relatively little support for mission work in inner cities compared to the church palaces we build in the suburbs? Why are we not moved to lay down our lives for those who live in the shadow of death each day?

 

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Source: “The San Bernardino shooting is the second mass shooting today and the 355th this year” (Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2015)

Comments

  1. The numbers are staggering, but a breakdown of the events themselves are even more chilling: usually white, single men, often mentally or emotionally unstable. But what is even more disturbing is that the focus has been about the guns and not the fact that a lot, or MOST, of these shooters COULD and SHOULD have gotten help, but current laws prevented family or close friends from asking for governmental or health services intervention.

    Certainly if these shooters had no access to the legally obtained guns there would not have been mass shootings, but the shooters would STILL have to have been identified as mentally or emotionally unstable before their access could have been curtailed. Current laws cannot help.

    Today’s massacre, though, is different from all of the other mass shootings. It was perpetrated by three individuals, dressed in black and wearing masks. This indicates a very well planned attack for, as yet, unknown reasons. In the coming days we will learn more.

    Still unremarked is the slaughter going on in the inner cities where people of color are killing each other in proportionally larger numbers than whites. The totals are greater than those of mass shootings and one month in Chicago alone the body count total was greater than a full year of the mass shootings that get the big headlines.

    The solutions are complicated and some are not possible in our nation due to laws and “rights” of individuals. In the meantime all we can do is cry for the victims and their families…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Latest information is:
      Both the identified perps had Arabic names.
      They did NOT say or yell anything as they shot the place up. (I was expecting “Al’lah’u Akbar!”)
      The only solution proposed is More Gun Control (“Semi-automatic Assault Rifles(TM)”)

      Except for The Trump: “To go after ISIS, you don’t kill them, YOU KILL THEIR FAMILIES.”
      (Anyone heard about the audience reaction to that? I suspect it was wild cheering — “Who is like unto The Trump?”)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        One day on.
        Shooters were a couple; Saudi guy and his mail-order bride. Guy may have worked there.
        Six month old daughter, left with the grandmother.
        No group claiming credit. (And usually groups like al-Daesh are first to the media.)
        No sign of Radicalization in the perp’s past so far.
        Nothing surfaced on Social Media, no Manifestos, no pre-shooting Selfies, nothing.
        Do-it-yourself Paris Copycats?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Little more information surfaced.

          Shooter was state employee, which brings Government Employee Union lawyers into the aftermath. (State Government Employee Unions run California; it’s the local version of Tammany Hall, whatever they want they get.)

          Shooter and wife were at Xmas party at rented hall in the center. Got into shouting match with someone at the party. Left and came back with guns. So far, sounds like a Going Postal Rage.

          Full-court press for Gun Control Will Fix Everything has already started. Secular version of Pat Robertson going on TV or Piper going onto Twitter with their direct lines from God whenever there’s a disaster.

          • Going into postal rage usually involves coming back with a gun still dressed in your blue jeans, not two people dressed in tactical gear and heavy weapons taken from an armament stored back at home. These two people were probably waiting for a reason to go ballistic.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Still more updates.

            With all the gear (including 15 pipe bombs), it looks more and more like what Rick Ro suggested above. These two might have been radicalized and planning something (as in Martyrdom Operation with maximum destruction) and the fight at the office party was a final trigger. FBI is currently pursuing those leads.

            This is info that needed to come out as early as possible; otherwise, it looks like there was some sort of coverup (AKA minimzing the Islamic Angle in the name of Political Correctness and the associated Conspiracy Theories), which just adds fuel to the “Islam Delenda Est” types who have a Final Solution to the Islamic Problem. Enough attacks, enough appearance of the existing govt as incompetent and/or in a National Suicide Pact or Conspiracy with Islam, and the only protection we have will be a Fuehrer who WILL Protect Us by Doing What Has To Be Done.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And more updates.

          As of this morning, definitely an ISIS connection, but no details. Investigation continuing, but looks like its getting pretty tangled.

          Male shooter showed no sign of radicalization or anything out of the ordinary, whether to family, co-workers, or at Mosque. Some indeterminate suspicious activity in the past year or so, but nothing blatant or definite, only apparent after-the-fact. Guy was Pakistani, maybe second-generation, definitely raised in the States.

          (This drives a BIG wedge of suspicion among American Infidels(TM) — if the only indicator he gave was that he was Muslim but showed NO other signs of suspicion, the only safe assumption is that ALL Muslims are a danger.)

          His wife, however, remains an enigma. Mail-order bride from Saudi, passed all the background checks when she immigrated, otherwise almost nothing known about her. Radio talk-show speculation that she might have been an ISIS plant who radicalized him in a deep-cover sleeper operation.

          (As presented on morning drive-time, this speculation actually sounds very plausible.)

          Unconfirmed account that for the past year he was pretty active in his garage with Middle Eastern-appearing visitors. (After the fact, bomb-building.) Neighbors thought this was hinky, but none of them dared call the cops because they didn’t want to be called Racist(TM).

          (See how Al’lah sends madness upon the Infidel preparing them for Slaughter? You KNOW that’s the way ISIS will spin it. And rejoice with this confirmation that God is on their side.)

          Official response is “Thoughts and Prayers to the Victims,” NOT any sort of action (except calls for GUN CONTROL NOW!, of course). As one radio talk-host said “What do we do in response? Solve the problem? No! We dodge the bullet, then dodge the bullet, then dodge the bullet, then dodge the bullet, then dodge the bullet…”

          (And the Fascists with a Final Solution to the Raghead Problem look better every day. When nobody else will protect you, or even acknowledge there’s a problem…)

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            BINGO!

            Wife had definite ISIS connections, making the “deep-cover sleeper marrying and radicalizing the guy” scenario much more solid.

            And FBI has classified it as Terrorism. (Interesting because the FBI’s official legal definition of Terrorism is difficult to qualify for; an act has to be pretty blatant and obviously connected to qualify.)

            Again, it’s important to get this info out as quick as possible to minimize suspicions of Conspiracy or Political Coverup. Hem and haw and hedge too long and the Conspiracy crackheads take control of the narrative and become The REAL Truth.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Afternoon drive-time talk radio last week had the best one-line description of the two:

            “An Islamic Bonnie & Clyde.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And another update:

          The shooters’ six-month-old daughter will be adopted by her uncle.
          His statement says it all:

          “You left your six-month-old daughter in this life,” a frustrated Khan told NBC. “Some people cannot have kids. God gave you a gift of a daughter. And you left that kid behind. What — what did you achieve?”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Conspiracy Theories started surfacing today. Basically that everything was a False Flag Black Op masterminded and orchestrated by The Government. Professional actors for the victims and their relatives, just like the Conspiracy Theories after Sandy Hook. Mostly done by innuendo on the order of “Why did the FBI let the media in the house? When they’ve never done anything like that before? Hmmmmm… Why did they say there were three shooters and now they are only two? Hmmmmmm… The NSA is listening in on all our phone calls, intercepting all our emails, yet they missed these ‘terrorists’. Hmmmmmm…”

    • There is no doubt a mental health component here. But to deal with this would require providing adequate mental health care for all Americans as a preventative, rather than trying to screen out a drop of potential shooters from an ocean of those suffering from the same mental health disorders and exhibiting the same symptoms.

      • I agree. And blaming Mental Health seems often to be used as an escape hatch to avoid discussing the pragmatic issues presented: 1) Ubiquitous availability of guns, 2) Unanswered confrontational-ism and bigotry in the civic place, 3) a society very segregated along multiples lines. But with the hand-wave of they-are-crazy all of that is pushed under the carpet.

        There is a noted lack of conversation about how #2 feeds into aggravating people who may have mental-health issues.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And #1 has all too often been “Just do THIS and it’ll solve EVERYTHING FOREVERMORE!”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Something the IRA said during The Troubles:

        “We only need to get lucky once. You have to get lucky every single time.”

    • Oscar you said that the shooters are usually white, single men, often mentally or emotionally unstable. In the cases that garner the most national headlines and cause the most shock (the shootings at schools, movie theaters, churches) you are right. But the definition for a mass shooting is four people were shot whether they were killed or wounded. I think gang and drug violence has more to do with the high number of mass shooting than anything.

      • Jon, I purposely tried to stay away from that because it implies a mostly non-white component to the conversation, although if you re-read my post you will see that I mentioned that those types of shootings far out number the SWG (single white guy) shootings, by FAR!

      • Jon, this link to the Washington Post article then links to the other mass shooting yesterday in Savannah, which sounds like a nighttime drive-by. Currently the top comment on that article is:

        “I am from Savannah. This is a crime infested, drug laden area with mostly criminal elements roaming the streets after dark. The area is so bad that my husband who works for a major pest control company says that no techs are allowed to be in that area after dark for their own safety. Numerous attempts have been made to better the area but until the community aids in this effort little to nothing will or has changed.”

    • Still unremarked is the slaughter going on in the inner cities where people of color are killing each other in proportionally larger numbers than whites.

      “But what about black on black violence?”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Same reason airliner crashes freak people out and car crashes don’t.

        With car crashes, the body count trickles in one or two or three at a time, from many locations all over. When an airliner goes down, it’s hundreds of dead all in one place from ONE crash. It’s going to make a much bigger splash.

  2. Wow, just wow. What is going on? Are they really mostly committed by young white males with suspected mental health issues, or does the media only highlight those? Wasn’t their a former newscaster who killed his co-workers on live TV who was African American decent and gay? Are the mental health assessments only given after a shooting because people can’t explain it any other way or are they really all undiagnosed schizophrenics – and why don’t schizophrenics in other countries do this sort of thing? Plenty of illegal guns among the gangs here in Canada, can’t be that hard to obtain.

    Could it be the US competitive culture (high school football players should not be as admired as they are, they are just some guys who play a game, I’ve always found that weird about the US, you have to go there to see how lauded these 16 year olds are to believe it) and tendency for sociopaths to rise to the top in US corporation? I saw another news report tonight about how the amount of mass shootings have gone up since 2013 to record levels of at least once a week! Where before, mass shooting only occurred a few times a year. Time to get all the mass killers info into a database and look for commonalities – esp. underground websites they frequent – I suspect there is something there.

    • Loo, as an American I MUST admit that, yes, it IS cultural.

    • or does the media only highlight those?

      “There haven’t been more shootings, the media just focuses on them more!” – too many people I’ve heard say that with my own ears

  3. “usually white, single men, often mentally or emotionally unstable”

    Is this your perception, or do you have hard statistics? My perception from following the news stories, particularly the ones that garner national attention, would agree with your statement. However, on NPR today I heard an analyst saying that only 10-15% of the mass shooting perpetrators had any sort of pre-diagnosed mental condition. So to say that the majority of these occurrences may have been preventable with a better mental health safety net does not quite hold water. (I don’t know how many people who should be diagnosed as mentally ill are going undiagnosed; perhaps that is the issue; and clearly a shooter is not in a healthy state of mind the moment they decide to start shooting). According to the analyst, the largest common factor among mass shooting perpetrators is that they are related to one or more of their victims. That is, perhaps issues of domestic violence should be at the forefront of this discussion, in addition to mental health care and gun control.

  4. I suspect, in my bleaker moments, that some people have tacitly accepted these incidents as the price that must be paid so that they might continue to stockpile guns.

    And if this incident does turn out to be a terrorist incident – don’t look for weeping. Look for even more anger.

    • > some people have tacitly accepted these incidents as the price

      They word it as the price society must pay so they can “protect their freedom”.

      I have lived your bleaker moment; I have had co-workers say exactly this.

      • That Other Jean says:

        The Second Amendment was written to assure a trained, armed militia to protect individual states at a time when there was no concept of of a genuinely united country with each state largely subordinate to a strong central government. It was not written in order to permit every Tom, Dick, and Harriet to amass a private arsenal and carry it around with them. Let the gun nuts join the National Guard. We cannot continue to live like this.

        NB: I have no problem with properly trained and screened hunters and target shooters. I do have a problem with non-military, non-police people who carry weapons with them throughout their daily lives out of some non-specific fear or as an extension of their anatomy.

        • Someone left a comment on Slactivist that California used to have pretty good open air carry laws, but those got struck down when Black Panthers would start openly carrying going about their everyday lives while keeping an eye on white cops doing their jobs.

          History is fun. And racist.

          • > History is fun. And racist.

            Yes.

            The machinations generated to continue to run away from the racial history of gun violence begins to border on the comical; a grim comedy. And I suspect a lot of people flunked history.

          • That Other Jean says:

            That it is. But you have to go looking for the racism. We teach a pretty well-scrubbed, jingoistic version of history in high schools.

  5. If we did see more of the kind of reaction Chaplain Mike is calling for, we might see less of this kind of reaction…

    “There are many assumptions packed into these attacks on prayer: that all religious people, and specifically Christians, are gun supporters, and vice versa. That people who care about gun control can’t be religious, and if they are, they should keep quiet in the aftermath of yet another heart-wrenching act of violence. At one time in American history, liberals and conservatives shared a language of God, but that’s clearly no longer the case; any invocation of faith is taken as implicit advocacy of right-wing political beliefs.”

    Prayer Shaming After a Mass Shooting in San Bernardino

    • No, you and the Atlantic are wrong: prayer and spellcasting are useless and it always will be. There are no gods, no magic, no worthwhile prayers. Only human actions matter.

      • I think you are missing the point.

        • No, I’m not. The worthlessness of your gods would, in a better world, be a problem only for you. But you people continually make it a problem for me, too.

          • Actually you are now confirming the point that Eeyore was making.

          • Feel free to give us the full monty ant-god rant on the blog started by someone ELSE who strongly believed that this god stuff really matters. J: do you have any convictions about garden variety rudeness ??

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            As well as WITNESSING(TM) for Atheism.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            J is just a funhouse mirror of all those preachers in the pulpits this coming Sunday who will blame the shooting on America Rejecting Gawd. Atheism/Evilution/Homosexuality/No Prayer in Schools as the cause.

            Just as all the Activists coming out of the woodwork for Gun Control are funhouse mirrors of Pat Robertson pontificating on TV and Piper fluttering his hands on Twitter. “If You’d Just Followed MY Agenda This Would Never Have Happened(TM).”

        • turnsalso says:

          Let’s see… aggressive expression, ignoring the point of any comment or article to divert the conversation, overgeneralizing across several posts, ostensibly for no other reason than winding up readers for the troll’s own amusement… This is classic trolling, though its artlessness makes it notably ineffective in this community.

      • J, I agree. Prayer won’t accomplish what many think it does, because they are using prayer wrong and asking the wrong things of prayer. Human action is what will fix things. But prayer is still necessary, if at least for that sense of human connection when a group gathers.

        • Prayer is never necessary. If we didn’t teach one generation of children to pray then it would vanish forever.

          • Are you just pipe-dreaming here, J, or do you view the universal abolition and/or phasing out of religious practices and beliefs as a practical, achievable possibility? You’re talking about the vast majority of the people on the planet. And you’re talking about symbols and ideas that are deeply entrenched in almost every culture and society. Short of triggering World War III and the complete self-extinction of humankind, I don’t see a religionless world as even a remote possibility any time in the next 2,000 years.

          • Are you a pray-er? Is that what gives you the authority to speak like that? Do you know what it is to join your spirit to God’s spirit and see something new happen? Should you be listened to based on your substantive experience in this matter?

    • > people who care about gun control can’t be religious, and if they are, they should keep quiet

      Heh, I have been told this point-blank [pun intended :)]

      > At one time in American history, liberals and conservatives shared

      That time has passed.

      > any invocation of faith is taken as implicit advocacy of right-wing political beliefs.

      Yep. It is an impressive rhetorical victory. Religious language regarding traditionally left/progressive [honestly – formerly centrist] issues is useless.

      • turnsalso says:

        > Religious language regarding traditionally left/progressive [honestly – formerly centrist] issues is useless.
        Sad, but true.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        > At one time in American history, liberals and conservatives shared

        That time has passed.

        The Other is now The Enemy/The Conspiracy, and must be annihilated.
        “HERE AHURA-MAZDA, THERE AHRIMAN!”

    • I both agree and disagree with that article (read it last night). The comments are atrocious, as to be expected. But doing something is always better than sitting on your behind and just mouthing words. And doing something IS the Christian option, the church has always known that prayer only gets us so far, and that’s what gets me upset.

    • Donalbain says:

      The issue isn’t that politicians are offering prayers. It is that they are ONLY offering prayers.

  6. The regular occurrence of these mass shootings happens in the US because guns are ubiquitous here. Although the Paris attacks may have skewed our perceptions, the fact is that gun violence is rare in Western Europe, and as a result murder is similarly rare. But getting all those tens of millions of guns off the streets would be a Gargantuan enough task; add to this the fact that we have a powerful gun-rights lobby in this nation that has convinced the populace that all this bloodshed is necessary to protect their Constitutional rights, and the task is impossible. “Violence is as American as apple pie.”

    • > “Violence is as American as apple pie.”

      +1. This is not a *new* normal, it is just the normal. I expect it will remain this way for decades.

      • We pay more media attention to gun violence when it happens in mass shootings, because more often affluent, middle-class people are victims of these, and they are committed by similarly classed perpetrators, usually with mental health issues. But the gun violence that happens routinely in poor neighborhoods, and the victims of it, continue to be largely ignored by media and the rest of the populace.

        • Maybe god will stop it from happening if we just pray more.

          • Senecagriggs yahoo says:

            Does God allow evil?

            If so, it must serve His purposes.

            I think His view of history is different than ours.

          • Funny, I never quite pictured God as an “ends justifies the means” type.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Maybe god will stop it from happening if we just pray more.

            In this, J is in complete agreement with all those MenaGAWD like Pat Robertson, John Piper, and all those Megachurch Pastor/Apostles.

          • And God must have allowed it to happen because the Lutherans ordained gay ministers.

            Really, we brought this upon ourselves.

            Maybe if we just remember Israel a little bit harder…

          • @Seneca: Gods have no views on or power over evil because there are no gods.

        • turnsalso says:

          Case in point: the attack in Paris. More people in Syria and Iraq die every day, but where is the outrage over that?

    • Fact is, the Second Amendment of our Constitution may be a fatal flaw, in terms of trying to decrease the gun-violence in the US.

      • Agree. It is sad that we cannot have rational discussions about The Constitution. I think it is a tragically flawed – and very human – document in numerous ways; second amendment being just one.

        But we have too many people who approach it as Scripture.

        • That Other Jean says:

          My reply to you up-thread regarding the Second Amendment would fit better here, but I hadn’t read this far when I wrote it. Sorry about that.

      • Unless….we actually read the Second Amendment, which expressly calls for reasonable limits, to wit, “a well-regulated militia.” Since the guns-rights movement worked for decades to include (successfully, per SCOTUS rulings) personal gun ownership under the militia umbrella term, it follows that reasonable regulations are a part of the Amendment’s provisions, not an abrogation thereof.

        You’d never know that from what the NRA has to say about it, of course.

        • Trevis, historically the NRA agreed with you. They changed their tune in the 1960s and 70s.

        • You know, part of me wants to see an actual foreign power invade America, just to watch the wish fulfillment and “skill” of the American population fighting back. Would be bloody entertaining.

          But that’s not how wars are fought now. We’re not going to have armies of thousands of jihadists marching through the streets. We’ll have lone gunmen or teams, picking strategic targets, using small arms or large explosives.

          What good is a well armed population against that? Unless everyone in America with a guy also had some some military or police training, not a whole lot.

          So the argument of us storing up guns to protect ourselves…only reapplies to each other, not to some invading body.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            You know, part of me wants to see an actual foreign power invade America, just to watch the wish fulfillment and “skill” of the American population fighting back. Would be bloody entertaining.

            Red Dawn, 1984.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dawn
            (Which is actually an adaptation of a standard RUSSIAN film genre of the Cold War: WW2 “Heroic Partisans”.)

            We’ll have lone gunmen or teams, picking strategic targets, using small arms or large explosives.

            That is called “asymmetrical warfare”, a type of guerilla warfare used by small dedicated groups against much larger and more powerful enemies.

            “We are the Little Folk, we
            To little to love or to hate;
            But leave us alone and you’ll see
            How fast we can bring down your State.”
            — Rudyard Kipling, “Pict’s Song”

          • Still never seen that movie, or the remake, lol

            Maybe I’ll watch it next November after I go cast my vote to cancel someone else’s vote out.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            If you do, rent the original.
            Do NOT see the remake.

            When it first came out in the Eighties, I watched it the first time for the hardware (which WAS correct for mid-1980s Russian Army Issue) and the second time realizing it was an adaptation of a Russian WW2 genre film. The latter is all but forgotten.

            There was also a story going around that while being denounced by American media as Right Wing Reaganist Warmongering(TM), the movie also caused a big shakeup in Russian Military Intelligence. The WW3 scenario in the movie apparently was REAL close to an actual Russian war/contingency plan and there was Cold War Russian Paranoia about a security leak. (Fictional scenarios coinciding with actual secrets with no actual connection happens a lot in history; there was a similar leak panic here during WW2 when an SF story paralleled the actual Manhattan Project a little two closely.)

    • turnsalso says:

      To be fair, Switzerland has lots of gun owners as well, but less crime. While more control is certainly sensible for the United States in my opinion, cultural shift (and corresponding shifts in concern for the public) could have the same effect. Too often, though, saying that amounts to an excuse not to alter either, and as such, an attempt to endorse the conservative position without looking like it.

    • Yup! Get rid of the Second amendment and severely limit free speech and all of this goes away…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And it’s Unicorns Farting Rainbows and Free Ice Cream for Everybody, Forevermore!

        • jazziscoolithink says:

          Yeah, let’s just not do anything. No one offer any solutions because they won’t work. Make no changes. And it’s Unicorns Farting Hand Grenades and Free Blood Pudding for Everybody, Forevermore!

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Why did you add “and free speech”? Nobody else was calling for thay. You are introducing strawmen in order to distract from the argument, from the problem at hand, from the facts.

        You sir, are the problem, the rottenness at the core. How does it feel to have so much blood on your hands?

        • And how long do you think First Amendment freedoms (or Fourth, or Fifth, etc.) would last after repealing the Second? What has to happen to a man to make him condemn the innocent for the crimes of others?

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            That is fallacious reasoning. Your freedom of speech does not depend on your ability to buy an AK47. And anyway, there are plenty of legal opinions suggesting that the modern interpretation on the 2nd is a bit removed from the original intent thereof.

            Guilt? Refusing to address a question that costs many lives, no, firthering the ability of those that take lives without any reasonable cause constitutes shared guilt imho.

          • That meme going around about “so what other amendments written by white slave owners do you also like?” is perfect.

            But I’m guessing a lot of 2A people also would prefer women and blacks not be allowed to vote.

            JUST GUESSING.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            StuartB, you weren’t on OJ’s Dream Team were you?

            Because that’s their style of Playing the Race Card.

          • jazziscoolithink says:

            I can think of a few countries that don’t have the 2nd amendment but still have free speech. Oh, and their gun deaths are significantly lower, too…

          • Donalbain says:

            Because no nation on earth has freedom of speech apart from the USA>

        • > strawmen in order to distract from the argument

          Welcome to all conversations about gun control, race relations, and the constitution.

      • That’s stupid. You idiots say that guns keep us safe. Except they don’t. They just keep being used to kill us. Over and over and over.

        • I imagine the guy or gal packing a .45 feels safer than the guy or gal who doesn’t. And I feel safer standing next to the friend who’s packing, too.

          • But everybody would be safer if there were few people carrying guns; more guns translate to more killing, any way you cut it. Our streets have become a war zone because of the easy availability and pervasiveness of guns.

            Btw, you’re likely no safer because your buddy is packing, unless he has his weapon in a holster on his hip, and even then….

          • Donalbain says:

            Feels safer != Is safer

  7. > why are we so unmoved by this ubiquitous violence and death?

    Because it happens to ‘them’ over ‘there’, not hear. Or that is at least the perception of those in church palaces.

    It is factually false; the “inner city” is not the center of crime and poverty in America, hasn’t been for awhile. Facts do no matter, it is the narrative, supported by the memory of Boomers. It is the downside of memory, sometimes we remember for too long.

    Does Colorado Springs, CO, Savannah, GA, and San Bernardino, CA sounds like the “inner city”? Yet that narrative continues.

    > Where are the prayer vigils? The marches? The media campaigns?

    Middle-class people do not march, protest, etc… They click on things on Facebook. Not just saying that, the NSA Directory says that – to make a people peaceable [non-confrontational] make them a little bit wealthy, then they don’t do those things. Everyone knows this.

    > Why such relatively little support for mission work in inner cities compared to the
    > church palaces we build in the suburbs?

    Because those people are Black. Attend some meetings; it will disabuse you of the notion that the suburbs are not about Race. I did not believe that, I do now; there is no doubt. I’ve watched Pastors stand up and say – authoritative intonation – about how they speak for their congregant’s concern for their safety. I’ve watched opposition to sidewalks and bus stops because it would bring ‘those people’ into their neighborhood, and then they would “look at our houses”. All manner of coded talk, sometimes coded, sometimes not; like the opposition to repairing a run down park because ‘everyone knows blacks and puerto ricans cannot share a park, the police will be there all the time, and they are the ones who will use it during the day because they don’t have jobs’.

    Today I have to admit that my former [suburban mega-church] co-religionists are racists. I’ve heard too much.

    Those Church Palaces exist on a premise of fear of The Stranger, because they exist in places created by fear of The Stranger; asking for courage is absurd. Asking someone who is afraid to surrender their weapons is absurd.

    > Why are we not moved to lay down our lives for those who live in the shadow of death each day?

    Because that is Unrealistic and not Reasonable. Two words behind which any kind of counter-factual nonsense can hide.

    • turnsalso says:

      > Middle-class people do not march, protest, etc… They click on things on Facebook.
      I resent that remark! Sometimes we dump buckets of ice water on each other. And other times wear pink.

      • And eat at Chick Fil A and shop at Walmart and Hobby Lobby!

        And then blame rap music and rock and video games and D&D!

        Oh won’t someone think of the children…

        • turnsalso says:

          Don’t forget adding cause-based filters to our Facebook and Twitter profile pictures!

          • Those are two oddities to me, because it’s rarely Millennials or younger I see doing that online…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      > why are we so unmoved by this ubiquitous violence and death?

      Because (1) It Wasn’t Me or Anyone I Know and (2) the Troop Size Limit — once the numbers become bigger than this threshold, you can’t see them as individual people.

      “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is only a statistic.”
      — Stalin

      “Tragedy is I Cut My Finger. Comedy is YOU fall down a manhole and die.”
      — Mel Brooks, “The 2000-year-old Man”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Does Colorado Springs, CO, Savannah, GA, and San Bernardino, CA sounds like the “inner city”? Yet that narrative continues.

      San Berdoo got hit pretty hard by the post Cold War slump; most of the city’s industry was Defense Contractors and the Air Force Bases nearby. (Replacing the railroads which were the town’s original main employer.) It got pretty depressed even before the 2008 Depression, and I don’t know if it ever recovered completely.

      Middle-class people do not march, protest, etc… They click on things on Facebook. Not just saying that, the NSA Directory says that – to make a people peaceable [non-confrontational] make them a little bit wealthy, then they don’t do those things.

      Especially when there’s a Mortgage and Credit Card debt in the equation. They get very non-confrontational when it comes to pointy-haired employers.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      > Why such relatively little support for mission work in inner cities compared to the
      > church palaces we build in the suburbs?

      Because those people are Black.

      More like the Burbs are where the Money is.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I’ve watched Pastors stand up and say – authoritative intonation – about how they speak for their congregant’s concern for their safety. I’ve watched opposition to sidewalks and bus stops because it would bring ‘those people’ into their neighborhood, and then they would “look at our houses”.

      Can’t they just use the N-word? I’d have a lot more respect for them if they did — it’d be more honest!

      And when it’s out in the open like that, you can deal with it in the open!

      Though where I am, “those people” are more likely to be “Mexicans” (all local Hispanics get lumped into Mexicans) and probably Asians. Both because of historically-recent immigration influxes; the different language and customs don’t help, but again are a more honest difference.

  8. Andrew Zook says:

    My guesses as to why? A lot of american ‘christians’ worship or value some things more than the one true God…(political parties, their own safety/comfort, old political document…) and secondly too many have a skewed, gnostic understanding of God’s purposes for His creation… for them escape is the only answer; the world is meant to be sad and ugly…it’s irredeemable and human effort is meaningless… God only cares about individual hearts/souls/spirits and really only wants to change attitudes and feelings and thoughts pinging around in your head.

    • “”” for them escape is the only answer; the world is meant to be sad and ugly…it’s irredeemable and human effort is meaningless… “””

      Yep. The Law-vs.-Grace configuration, played out in practice; human effort is meaningless, wait to be beamed out of here, all of it is going to burn. In the meantime watch on-demand movies in your living room far removed from all that Dirty.

      • Hey ya’ll, maybe we should rent dat dem dere Compton movie, see what all the hubbub is about.

        • Have to comment on your reverse against rednecks. Makes you the same…………….I would have to say with all their faults some of the nicest people I have ever met are rednecks and will tell you so. The 80 something guys I have worked with are so inspiring to me with the simplicity just as much as Miguel and others here with the intelligence. Can you see what you are doing Stuart or is it will just throw stuff around and see where it sticks. Man Klasie, J , you makes me want to stop but then you all just win and set out what you wanted to do and accomplished it. Kiddie tricks too turn buttons and now look what happens….sh…..t actually works. Ever think of getting some help.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Considering my color, age cohort, income, and profession I should be hanging out with Yuppies.
            Instead, I hang out with redneck types.

            Redneck has a beef with you, he’ll challenge you to a fight. Whatever he’ll do, he’ll do it to your face. NOT smile and be oh-so-polite to your face and then send a process server with a lawsuit. Or harass you with lawyers and try to ruin you. Or falsely accuse you with online gossip to third parties.

    • Andrew you know quite well He is acquainted with our grief and sorrow. If you haven’t said it yourself it isn’t an and or situation. God cares about all things that go on so much so He doesn’t step in and make it okay by powdering our asses at every turn, Secondly who among us is so sure and prideful to think maybe their thinking doesn’t need a little tweaking. Mine sure does and on a daily basis it is one reason why I spend time in prayer. If I don’t talk to Father then how am I ever going to know. For sure by now I should know a lot more than I once did. In just two generations no one will remember the suffering it took to grow here I went through even though they are going to do it in their own way.
      I wonder why he number our hairs. When we watch those whose calling like Mother Teresa was to do GOD’S WORK we would do well to remember it was the simple folk who made it possible just by loving enough to drop something in the offering and work and pay their taxes. They were part of it too. I like your comments Andrew, always have. Hope it didn’t come across wrong.

      As for gun control….go ahead try it. See who you might be afraid of next. The very things one side says the other is saying only with every ones little bits of insanity attached. Fact is we are leaving and would do well to remember just that and not place value where there isn’t any. Does that mean we stop advancing as we have been doing. Of course not just the opposite, but to leave the notion we will become without death all on our own in a world where even the longest living things have a time limit and not remember this while we are advancing , God forgive me is foolishness.

      Mourning Dove: I asked God once what can I do. He said Just follow me……Just follow me. Sometimes that seems ordinary, but that’s when the ordinary becomes extra. Sometimes we just got to see.

      • As for gun control….go ahead try it. See who you might be afraid of next.

        It’s this mentality that scares me. Those who would threaten to shoot someone who came to take their guns don’t deserve to own guns. Period. That’s anti-gun safety, anti-everything about firearms that I know of. I’ve done the classes. I’ve been to the ranges. The handful of people who are truly responsible and sober about their firearms and their capabilities are amazing people, but their values aren’t being transferred.

        We have too many Nascar watching beer drinking rednecks, to use a stereotype, who would do anything just to hold on to what little power they have. They beat their wives, they beat their kids, they collect their government assistance checks, they work their factory job since barely graduating high school, and they like to have a good old time and unwind, and no black man in office is coming to take away what’s mind. We listen to country, we vote Republican, we sing our praise and worship songs in church, and we hang our cross from the rear view mirror above the Playboy bunny mudflaps, and we certainly roll down our windows to yell at those sand n*ggers to go back to Africa along with Hussein.

        Murica is great, fire off a round if you agree.

        These. These are the people of the United States of America.

        • Well you leave me speechless as usual because I have no idea what your talking about. I could care less about gun control. I remember when I sold off all my guns and the man next to me while I was selling them for a profit because of another gun control scare said what are you going to do when they come for you I said die like you only I have profit in my hand now. I don’t want to kill no one and was hoping to get out of here with that left undone. I really don’t think I would even in war. I would just be the first to die. Quickly I hope. Taught my children about firearms from really little. We only had a lot of fun target shooting and reloading as a hobbies and trying to put holes inside of holes. I have no trouble with gun control. I’m not afraid. My question is if you are afraid of guns what will you be afraid of next and where does that end?????

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          As for gun control….go ahead try it. See who you might be afraid of next.

          Stuart, W does have a point with this. When you factor in “professional activists” expressed by this exchange from classic Peanuts:

          “What do you want to be when you grow up, Linus?”
          “A fanatic.”
          “Uh… Have you decided what you’re going to be fanatical about?”
          “I don’t know… I guess I’ll just be a Wishy-Washy Fanatic.”

          Wishy-Washy Fanatics are attracted to Activism because it makes them Important. They’re the secular version of the Righteous Scolding Church Lady with her Moral Superiority Dance, just with nothing to do with religion proper. (Church Lady Superiority Dance for Brights.)

          Problem is, they have to stay Active for a Cause. If they accomplish their goals and their Cause prevails, what do they do next? Answer: Find another Cause. Because their Moral Enlightement and Superiority and zeal for The Cause is what counts. Like the minor supporting character of “The Professional Revolutionary” from the 1952 film Viva Zaptata! — gung-ho for The Revolution, at Zapata’s side against Diaz and later Huerta, but once Zapata wins he immdediately switches to the next Revolution and sets up Zapata’s assassination.

          And then there’s Scope Creep; once they accomplish some goal (like Assault Rifles(TM)), it becomes a stepping stone to the next goal, going even further. Like MADD scope-crept from tougher drunk-driving laws to eventually pushing to revive Prohibition — Demon Rum gone secular.

  9. Mourning Dove says:

    Why? you ask. My perspective is this…

    I’m not doing anything because I don’t know what to do.

    I live in a very rural area. Like several of the other posters, I work full-time, have a spouse and children, and am active in my church and community. What can I do?

    Just yesterday I spent a great deal of time in prayer asking some (to me) tough questions…God, with the threat of ISIS, what am I supposed to do? I am just one person living a pretty quiet, average life. I have no money or power to ‘fight’ with. About Planned Parenthood, what I am supposed to do? How can I adjust my time, energy, finances, to fight these evils? About gun violence, what I am supposed to do? I happen to live in a county that is known statewide for it’s large amount of firearms and devotion to the NRA. Other than my spouse, I don’t know of one person in my community that would like to see stricter gun control laws (not that that’s the answer….)

    I cry out to God and ask if just going about my daily routine, loving those in my path, serving, being quick to repent, and praying to become more Christlike…is that enough?

    I’m not doing anything because I have absolutely no idea of what to do.

    • > I’m not doing anything because I have absolutely no idea of what to do.

      You are not alone; I hear this often.

      And “…work full-time, have a spouse and children…..” is a legitimate constraint.

      Especially for those living in rural places there is, honestly, not a lot of options.

      The only suggestion I can offer is to look much further towards the ground than “ISIS”, “Planned Parenthood”, etc… Focusing on these ‘big’ issues [I like to think of them as Dragon Issues], leave most people with nothing to do, and a sense of detachment and despair. Fighting Dragons is what Angels and Heros do, not farmers and accountants. The same applies on the Left for issues like Gay Marriage, Human Rights, Free Speech, etc… These mega-issues can consume and distract us – distract us from all manner of ‘smaller’ moral choices being made all around us; many of which are completely ignored by our Churches, Parties, etc… But most people’s every day lived lives are impacted far more by the accumulation of those small moral choices, made in their own local community, than by the distant roar of the dragons. Certainly you have schools, libraries, parks, etc… where you are; I recommend starting there, just finding something you can do. You never know, that might lead you to something else. And doing something will help with the despair, and there is that whole loving your neighbor thing [who is not necessarily in your church]. Perhaps dial back on Church a bit and add something else [recognizing time and energy constraints], so you hear more voices, meet a wider range of people. I know that as I have heard more voices I am less impressed by the distant roar.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And “…work full-time, have a spouse and children…..” is a legitimate constraint.

        There’s a reason most Activists are also professional Moochers.
        (And I include Tithe-supported Professional Christian Activists in that.)
        That way they have no job or life to get in the way of The Cause 24/7/365.

        on these ‘big’ issues [I like to think of them as Dragon Issues], leave most people with nothing to do, and a sense of detachment and despair.

        |
        But Activists like to tunnel-vision on the Dragon Issues.
        It makes them more Important.

        “Instead of having kids March for World Peace, teach them how to deal with the schoolyard Saddam who shakes them down for their lunch money. Instead of Saving The Planet(TM), teach them how to deal with wastefulness in their lives.”

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          Actually, here is a question: Can you prove that most activists are moochers?

          • No, the assertion is cynical and bogus.

            Some people claim this due to being distracted from Activism by Celebrities. Activists outnumber Celebrities a hundred to one. Others because just shouting “ya’ll are frauds!” is easier than engaging.

        • > But Activists like to tunnel-vision on the Dragon Issues.

          And I now many many activists NOT working on Dragon issues. Easily the majority of activists are NOT working on Dragon issues. It only takes a few guys to make noise and spew crap onto social media. Most activists are trying to stay awake through interminable meetings, answering voice mail messages and emails, and editing documents.

          So, no, you are wrong. Arm-chair Slactivists love Dragon issues; and there is a lot of gravity to those issues due to social media, it is easy to get sucked in. One of the best ways to avoid being sucked in is to do something productive with ones time.

      • Perhaps dial back on Church a bit and add something else

        This. Change the voices you listen to. Stop listening to the Pastors and Political Talking Heads inciting terrorism. Listen to the voices of your real neighbors, not just those next to you in the church directory. Get out of the bubble, rediscover empathy, and start practicing the Fruit.

    • About Planned Parenthood, what I am supposed to do? How can I adjust my time, energy, finances, to fight these evils?

      For starters, quit thinking of Planned Parenthood as evil. Or, separate out the baby from the bathwater.

      Then, tell others that Planned Parenthood is not evil, or not fully evil, whichever you land on.

      And repeatedly tell them that. Make yourself a nuisance. Speak TRUTH at all times, with love for them, so they’d change their minds, and quit spreading lies and false information that lead to Christian Terrorism and murder.

      Be like Christ. Love others. Love God.

      What else is there to do? That’s 100x more than most. And it’s the right thing.

      • My first daughter was born because of plan parenthood and the woman’s name who helped is her middle name Kay. I have a hard time with the subject. That little girl changed my life forever.

  10. There are other questions that needs to be asked. Why do so many people want to kill other people? Why do so many people think so little of life whether it be their own or someone else? How do we expect people to be shocked by violence when we are entertained by it daily? Even if the guns are taken away that problem still remains.
    As for the questions in the post, I think there are several reasons, whether they are good or not. Many people just don’t do those sorts of things, regardless of what the cause is. Many don’t see that it does any good. Many Christians are at work in the inner cities, but they don’t get a lot of press. Many are weeping over what happened, but they have to go to work tomorrow and the next day. A lot of times people don’t get involved until something touches them personally, and there are still a lot of people who haven’t been personally involved in such a thing.
    Many times for something like this to happen there has to be a leader. So if you want to see it happen, take the lead.

    • Why do so many people want to kill other people? Why do so many people think so little of life whether it be their own or someone else? How do we expect people to be shocked by violence when we are entertained by it daily?

      Because our churches teach the Old Testament more than they teach Christ and the NT. And because most gun owners really do want to use their guns to shoot people and want an excuse to do so. Never carry a gun unless you intend to use it.

      oh wait, were you asking about non-white or Americans?

      beats me, i don’t know. sin nature maybe? something something adam’s magical inheritance.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      How do we expect people to be shocked by violence when we are entertained by it daily?

      And the more over-the-top violence in ever-more-delicious CGI detail the better.

      One of ISIS’s actual recruiting strategies is going after gamers with a “We badass — Join us and you get do all the things you do in GTA FOR REAL” tactic.

  11. Senecagriggs yahoo says:

    The San Bernadino shooting was not an “inner city” problem.

    It was a Muslim problem.

    • The vast majority of the shootings in my city are in poor inner city neighborhoods or done by members of those neighborhoods elsewhere. The fact that a few high profile cases are not does not change the fact that certain areas of our cities where mental illness, drugs, and gangs proliferate are the primary contexts for this issue.

      • senecagriggs yahoo says:

        Oh I agree with you about the problems of the inner city. I was just noting, the San Berdo shooting wasn’t an inner city issue.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      If that is so, then the vast majority of the other shootings are Christian problems.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Possibly in the sense of this guy may have been Old Country enough to react to an altercation at an office Xmas party in the Old Country tribal manner — Restoring HONOR with Blood Vengeance.

      “With sword I wash my shame away;
      Fate, bring on me what you may!”
      — Old Arab proverb

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Some Arabs are atheists. some are non-practicing Muslims. Some are Yazidis. Some are Christians. Some are Druze. Some are…

        Take your racist head out your ass.

      • That Other Jean says:

        Nope. I just listened to the Sheriff/ Police Chief/ FBI’s news conference. The couple who shot up the party rented a house that was essentially an arsenal—many guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, remote-control bombs (that fortunately didn’t work), Ordinary people going about their business, even those who get pissed at a party and go get a gun, don’t tend to own arsenals and bombs. They were clearly planning something, though nobody knows exactly what, yet.

  12. I would like to raise a question that might point to deeper issues, issues that politicians don’t want to address (too many other uncomfortable questions might arise). If the availability of guns is the problem (as is often stated – ‘these things don’t happen in other countries’) why didn’t we see this happening in the 1950s? (The ‘mass shooting’ phenomenon began in 1964 and until the last couple of years, the rate stayed the same – about 25 per year.) At that time just about anyone could walk into a hardware store and walk out with a gun – no questions, no paperwork, no background check, yet we didn’t see this happening. Some will argue that it’s the kinds of guns available now that is different. But the Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol (with 15 round magazines) has been around (and available) since 1926, and after Korea, Army surplus .30 caliber Carbines (powerful semi-automatic weapons with 30-round magazines – REAL ‘weapons of war’ that had actually seen war) were readily available to civilians. So the same kind of high-power weapons were MORE readily available yet we didn’t see this kind of carnage.

    My point is that MAYBE it’s a little more complicated than just the availability of guns (though that certainly is part of the problem). Maybe changes in our society (I’m not talking about the typical ‘moral issues’ things – abortion, breakdown of the family [though that is probably a large part of the problem, especially in inner-city crime], etc) but things like the breakdown of ‘community’ (who knows their neighbors anymore?) and neighborhoods, or any sense of accountability to anyone (even spouses?). And I don’t believe there were ever the ‘good old days’, and people of color, etc. certainly were treated more unfairly in the 1950s. But, we didn’t see this kind of violence. (BTW, the murder rate in the US began rising in the early 1960s, peaking in the early 1990s – it’s actually about half what it was at the peak, though much of that decrease can probably be attributed to better medical care.) Is it merely coincidental that the murder rate began rising at a time when Americans adopted a philosophy of radical individualism – everyone was about ‘doing my own thing’ or ‘if it feels good, do it’ (as well as disrespect for authority)?

    It’s true that most other countries don’t have these kinds of events as often as we do. However, after the Sandy Hook shooting, USA Today ran a story citing work by a British criminologist, Peter Squires, who argued that culture is a larger factor in violence in the US than guns. Specifically he noted that American society is much more ‘fragmented’ while European societies are much more homogeneous – they are tight-knit societies with strong social bonds, where 1) people feel more responsible to others (read ‘less individualistic’) and 2) less likely to allow someone with issues to slip through the cracks (one might also argue that they have better social services to deal with issues like mental health). These societies have less violence (and animosity toward others) in general than the US – we seem to have created a culture that is more prone to violence and crime than many others (e.g. look at our prison population compared to other countries). I think the solution lies in addressing some serious (and politically incorrect) social issues, but nobody wants to go there.

    • Fully agree. The proliferation of guns is only part of the problem. That’s why my post today addresses the Church, a community that is supposed to care about all these things, but which doesn’t seem to get worked up over violence and death in the same way it does about other issues.

      • CM, we are jaded, numbed and acculturated to violence. In movies, on TV, in certain types of music, it is like a terminal cancer that has spread unchecked.

        The voices that speak up and shout “NO! This is WRONG!” have been cowed into silence. Honest inquiries into the problem have been met with “You’re a racist!” (one I have heard on this site, veiled, but still made) or “That’s Marxist ideology!” And to make it worse our media LOVES, salivates and panders to all of this, and we eat it up!

        I don’t know what to do about it either, and prayer only increases my anxiety. I work in my community and volunteer in non church related matters, I know, and speak with, my neighbors and try to show mercy and express grace in my day to day dealings. Yet it seems that nothing changes.

        As Christianity grew the world around it crumbled. The Roman empire grew more corrupt and then weakened and, eventually, fragmented and morphed into something else. We take ourselves too seriously when it comes to the culture and thinking that we can “change” it. We CAN’T! At best all we can do is affect those around us while we thoughtfully examine our involvement in those cultural things that we claim to abhor.

        Be salt and light and let God deal with the rest. It may sound defeatist to some, but that is what believers in Rome did and what Christians in Byzantium did, and where are those empires today?

        • Oscar, I completely agree with you. I am not so much cowed into silence as depressed into it. But in my “real” life, away from the media, I find strength and hope in helping others as best I can, and letting them help me, and praying for God’s guidance daily.

          Oh, wait, didn’t J just enlighten us that prayer is useless and there is no God. Sorry, my bad. 🙂

      • Chris Perry says:

        You are exactly right. The “Church” today has become too fragmented over theological issues like what baptism looks like, the idolatry of scripture, and creating an us versus the rest of the world viewpoint. If you aren’t with us on every single detail, you can’t belong, and will be suffering eternal conscience torment in hell for the sin of disagreement. Just look at the numerous church covenant contracts that have proliferated in order to control their members.

        The culture wars have been going on since the dawn of time. Instead of participating in the battles, shouldn’t we be following the example of our King and seeking out the casualties of the culture wars and giving them succor and love?

        In my mind, the only way this problem gets mitigated is if we as individuals start looking for every opportunity to love those who we come into contact with us every single day. Most of this anger and violence can be attributed to the lack of knowledge that we are loved by our Father, warts and all.

    • I wish that some basic assumptions would be addressed:

      1) Fear of the Stranger is not unfounded. Guilt-shaming people who feel nervous about “dangerous brown people” by self-righteous people {I’m looking at you, Tom Tomorrow, and nearly all of the commenters on the Daily Kos] is really counter-productive.

      2)Pretending that you have no fear of the Stranger just because you are not a “right-wing crazy” is just plain posing.

      People are more alike than cultures are. It’s true we all want the same things; food, shelter, respect, autonomy, love, but our cultures teach us to obtain them in different ways. Dealing with people who have a different culture is exhausting, and that is when you are a member of the majority culture. I can only imagine what it is like for immigrants and outsiders, even though I am married to a woman from South America.

      I live in a neighborhood that can only be called pore. Everybody here, except me, has guns. There’s a lot of squirrel and possum hunting going on in the woods and I’ve gotten used to seeing people of different races walking along the side of the road carrying a firearm. My neighborhood is about 40% black, 40% white of the Southron peckerwood variety, and about 20% Hispanic. I’ve lived here 2 years, and I’ve never seen as much “get-along” as I’ve seen here. Just recently, though, the Ku Klux Klan threw pamphlets into everybody’s driveway. The deputy I talked to said they had traced the source of the pamphlets to our neighborhood.

      Somebody in my neighborhood is recruiting for the Klan. Now everybody’s eyeing me, wondering if I am the Grand Klavern. Everybody’s talk has gotten a lot more guarded. The Rev’run [ a Black preacher who lives two doors down ] doesn’t say hello to me anymore. His son used to cut my lawn. The Hispanic guy took his Virgin of Guadalupe medallion off his mailbox. Three months ago I saw two families, black and white, who were neighbors, work together to put asphalt driveways in both their properties. Now, they’re never outside at the same time.

      There’s always somebody stirring up shit.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Very succinct. After the previous government here in Canada stirred up ethnic and racial hatred by dogwhistle campaigning in their re-election bid, we have experienced the same. I have seen it for myself, and I have to move my kids out of the High School they attend in the conservative, Mennonite dominated community we live. The crap is defintely smelling more intensely than before.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I vaguely remember a Psychology Today article from maybe 30 years ago about Americans and the “Thrillseeking Personality” — much more likely to break the mold and dare great things on their own, but also much more prone to violence. And how this permeated US culture and cultural mythology more than any other. Possibly from the country largely being settled by rebels and rejects who had to dare great things to make something of themselves.

      • I had heard that the Attention Deficit Disorder gene is way high in the American population, and not just the NORTH American population. It makes sense. If you were calm enough to be a sodbuster in Europe all your life and not make waves, you probably stayed. It you were twitchy, well, there was always the Atlantic passage.

        DH Lawrence also commented on us as being killers. Just go on Democratic Underground or Daily Kos and admit that while you like individual black people, you prudently leave an area when a critical mass of people of a certain age, sex, and melanin level accrues. Death is too good for you. Hell might be too good for you but its the best they can do. So killers kill to avoid being killed, even more so if you’re twitchy to begin with

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          That reminds me of my observation whenever some official or pundit or media celebrity says we should do so-and-so because “That’s the way they do it in Europe”.

          Most white Americans are Americans because either they or their ancestors were trying to GET AWAY from “The way they do things in Europe”.

    • Randy Thompson says:

      “Specifically he noted that American society is much more ‘fragmented’ while European societies are much more homogeneous – they are tight-knit societies with strong social bonds, where 1) people feel more responsible to others (read ‘less individualistic’). . . ”

      Yes, exactly.

      I have sensed for some time that America has lost almost all sense of the common good. There is now special interest instead. What’s best for us has given way to what’s best for me. When that’s the case, politics and the culture wars become a zero sum game with ever increasing special interests playing the game. The United States is rapidly replacing the Balkans as the world’s Balkans. (Does anyone remember the bloodbath in the (original) Balkans twenty years ago that made no sense at all to anyone other than the people killing each other?)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        The Zero Sum Game:
        Since there’s only so much to go around, the only way to get more for Me is to Take It Away From You.
        The only way for Me to climb up is to Push You Down.
        The only way for Me to win is to Make You Lose.

        I personally suspect a lot of the Environmental Activism in the wake of the Sixties might have had an unintended side effect. “We are all passengers on this One Small Spaceship Earth;” except instead of communal sharing, they ended up invoking the Zero Sum Game while singing Kum-Ba-yah.

        • Spaceship earth. Good one. A spaceship that goes in a circle forever until it is no more now there’s going somewhere

    • Andrew Zook says:

      @Greg. I’m in favor of more gun control, but your points are also excellent. I’ve come to believe too that america has many deeper issues than just the laws on or not on the books…or politicians in office. You’ve noted many of the same things I’ve pondered (the fragmentation, the hyper-individualism, the belief in exceptionalism that prohibits us from learning things from others who clearly do it better, the social darwinist greed…) – the interesting thing is how the american church in general mirrors these same cultural ethos, yet we hold in Scripture and in Tradition and in the Life of Christ, a path away from these cultural weights… yet we continue to ignore (and even disdain) those beautiful, God’s Kingdom things, that are right under our noses and that are the lights on the path out of this american darkness.

      • @Andrew. Thanks. I would agree that BECAUSE our society has become more violent we might need more gun control (though most of what has been proposed lately probably wouldn’t have stopped many of the recent mass shootings – unless everyone who wants to buy a gun has to get a mental health exam before buying it – and even that might not help much). Short of a complete ban and roundup that would take decades, I don’t know what would stop the killing (but things like background checks and tougher sentences for straw purchasers might help). But I’m afraid that without addressing other serious issues we are just putting a band-aid (and perhaps a harmful one) on a cancer that will eventually kill us anyway.

        At the extreme risk of sounding parochial or racist (I’m as racist as anyone who claims not to be, but do greatly value, and enjoy learning about other cultures) I sometimes think our recent emphasis on ‘diversity’ may be responsible for much of this problem (and the fact that it seems to have increased lately). Constantly having it presented front and center (through media, protests, etc.) no doubt pushes some people over the line (those unstable to begin with). We do need to seek justice for everyone, and allow people to be who they are. But the bigger issue is that as a society should we not be emphasizing what we have in common – what unites us – instead of constantly emphasizing our differences (things that divide us)? I’m not saying that we all have to be ‘Mericans and dress, talk, and act the same, but I’ve been to England and people there typically identify themselves as ‘British’, not hyphenated Brits. There is diversity, but people don’t wear it on their sleeve. People are accepted for who they are because they don’t constantly emphasize who they are!

        Our emphasis on diversity, I believe, is due to our history as a nation – slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, segregation, the civil rights movement, etc.. These things have shaped us as a nation – it is in our DNA, so to speak. (We also have the American Revolution, the frontier experience, Indian Wars, the Great Depression, Vietnam, Watergate, etc. in our past.) We have ideals as a nation that we have never quite lived up to, and we seem to try to over-correct, often causing more problems. It is almost as if, unknowingly, our nation’s founders envisioned and created a nation with values and ideals that eventually would be its own undoing, and ours seems to be a little tattered around the fringes.

        Thus when people compare the US to other countries and say ‘the problem is obviously guns since other counties don’t have this happening’ it’s important to remember that we have a unique history (and values, as you note, things like social darwinism that justifies greed) that probably predisposes us to violence (or at least individualism, selfishness, and this ‘I answer to no one’ mentality). If we compare the US to Japan (as is sometimes done) it’s important to remember a critical difference – in Japan NOBODY questions authority, where in the US it’s our national past-time! In Japan people have a very strong sense of communal good and responsibility, which is entirely lacking here. If you gave everyone in Japan a gun and ammo their murder rate probably wouldn’t change much at all! By comparison, Brazil, a fairly prosperous nation with about 2/3 the US population has very strict gun laws, yet their murder rate is about 6 times ours – the difference is culture, values, and probably corruption and poverty, not gun laws, or lack of them.

        This is where the church SHOULD be leading the way – by emphasizing our unity in Christ, while not having to agree on every theological detail. Unfortunately churches, and ‘the church’, are about as fragmented as the rest of our society (if not more so, with theological justifications) so we don’t offer much of a model to be emulated. Having used up whatever good-will the church had fighting the culture wars, I’m not sure we have much of a voice left. You are correct that we (as the church) have the answer under our noses. I would like to think the church could be that example and provide that answer to our society’s woes, but I don’t have much hope for that. Is it possible to be a Christian fatalist?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        @Greg. I’m in favor of more gun control, but your points are also excellent. I’ve come to believe too that america has many deeper issues than just the laws on or not on the books…or politicians in office.

        And the Gun Control outcry after anything like this always smelled to me of Displacement Behavior — a psychological reaction to things going out of your control. When things are spiraling out of control all over, FIND SOMETHING YOU *CAN* CONTROL AND MICROMANAGE IT TO DEATH! “I’M DOING SOMETHING! SEE? SEE? SEE?”

  13. Chaplain Mike, why is your default assumption that people are “unmoved”? Is it because “something” isn’t being done? By “somebody else”? Is it because no one is seriously calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment? Is it because no one “cares” about the poor as much as you do? That seems to be the case for every “Christian” who has the time to offer an opinion their pastor or their favorite news channel has taught them to hold.

    You know, as awful as the blanket condemnation of offering thoughts and prayers coming from avowed atheists is, I have to admit they probably have a point. What have we seen from “Christians” so far except lots of self-serving virtue-signalling and hand-wringing (“Why are people so unmoved?”) and useless finger-pointing (“It’s the GUNS/NRA/POVERTY/RACISM/SEXISM/HOMOPHOBIA, stupid!”)

    I’ve followed this blog for years, but I think this may be my last post. Michael Spencer is truly dead.

    • Chris, I didn’t ask why “people” are unmoved, I asked specifically why “the Church” — that is, the Church in its public pronouncements, in its public statements by its leaders, in its public involvement in the “culture wars,” etc. seems so unmoved and silent on this. Compare the response to the resounding outcry over “gay marriage,” for example.

      • And I guarantee you that Michael is weeping with the saints before the altar right now, crying “How long?”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s whether it’s SEXUAL or not.

        I’ve observed that a lot of activist types are either anti-Violence or anti-Sex but never both. The usual pattern is pro-one and anti-the other.

        “I’m against gun control and pro-abortion rights. When I get the weird looks, I just tell them I’m pro-Death and let it go at that.”
        — My old DM

      • Chaplain Mike,

        I think ChrisL is unfair to most Christians, and certainly to you, who walk with suffering people through the valley of the shadow day after day — something most of us (including Chris L, I’m pretty sure) couldn’t even dream of trying.

        I do understand his/her and your frustration with The Church. The Church makes pronouncements galore, but as far as anything more — I don’t see it. The church is too subsumed in the Culture Wars, and I’m afraid it probably has been and will be for as long as I can see. Back in the Bible-believing church-and-prayer-all-the- time days of the 19th century, remember that both North and South fighters and their families in the American Civil War prayed to (theoretically) the same God and read (theoretically) the same Bible. And they killed each other in horrible numbers.

        Nowadays, most American Christians are either allied with the Trump wing of the Republican party (“Kill ’em all!!!), or in more moderate denominations that merely issue statements of grave (heh) concern about the various slaughters.

        My final disillusionment with The Church came maybe ten years ago, when Israel attacked Gaza, slaughtering innocents by the hundreds, bombing schools and hospitals, and generally wreaking havoc on a helpless population. Just because they could (having pulled the Jews out a couple years before). I thought, surely, now my Episcopal church or the Pope will actually DO something, not just express concern. I mean, what a statement it would have made the the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope and the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church had actually GONE to Gaza, and put themselves in the line of fire. Or done something equally courageous. But of course, nothing like that happened. We did get a lot of statements of grave concern from them. And from the fundamentalists? “Kill them ALL!” — meaning the Gazans, of course.

        I realized then that the Church in its public face exists only to make public pronouncements and statements of grave concern.

        Well, once in a great while, The Church and the culture meld, and you have the Civil Rights movement in America. Or, on the opposite end, ISIS.

        Only individual Christians, such as you, CM, and almost all of the other commenters on this board, will or can make any difference.

  14. I recently read “The Last Gunfight” by Jeff Guinn, about the incident at the OK Corral in Tombstone. I was surprised to learn that Tombstone had fairly strict gun control laws during the time of the shootout.

    When you rode into town, you had to check in your weapons at either the sherriff’s office or the Grand Hotel. You could only check them out as you were in the process of leaving town (which is why the gunfight was at a livery alley). The purpose was to reduce the number of gunshots during drunken, rowdy or hot-headed behavior, typically by out-of-town cowboys who just got paid for completing their cattle runs.

    I wondered what happened to those laws. Were they struck down by a court ruling? Or could a city enact those same laws today?
    As far as I can tell from my limited research, as business proprietors became more prosperous, they became consistent targets for (armed) robbery. The laws were repealed so they could have a chance to defend themselves.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Tombstone is still the ONLY town in Arizona that doesn’t allow open carry.

      They kept that town ordnance on the books for historical reasons — it was instituted by the Earps.

    • > Or could a city enact those same laws today?

      Depends on the state the city is in.

      > as business proprietors became more prosperous

      Don’t know anything about Tombstone; but across America gun laws changed as black populations migrated to northern cities and the industrial regions of the country. This followed the automation of cotton harvesting – which displaced nearly a thousand workers with each machine – resulting in the largest population migration in *all* of human history. Demographers and historians refer to this as the “Great Migration”. Much of the history of the 50s and 60s is a follow on to the economic disruption caused by an invention; kind of amazing.

  15. Christiane says:

    I need to ask:
    what exactly IS the argument that we should NOT close loop-holes so that the mentally-ill cannot get hold of guns and ammunition?

    is it ‘slippery slope’?

    The truth is we have ‘enabled’ sick people to kill . . . it’s like indirectly being sick ourselves because the responsibility does fall on us as a society. Would we have loop holes that allow children and toddlers to carry loaded guns around? Then why are we allowing people with severe mental difficulties to do the same?

    We aren’t being responsible as a nation. We need to protect our mentally disabled, not make them ‘responsible’ for the deaths of others . . . allowing loop holes that place guns in the hands of a mentally disturbed person is irresponsible . . . a sign of a sick nation . . . especially when we have identified this problem and still do nothing about it

    • Christiane says:

      sorry for screed, but I get sick of hearing . . . ‘Look what that crazy nut did’ when I know that the poor thing was enabled

      and it doesn’t stop with gun provision either: our mentally ill people are vulnerable to the encouragement of those in the extremes of anti-abortion politics, and extreme Islamophobia and homophobia . . . the ‘rhetoric’ is of these extremists, when it falls on the mentally ill and encourages them to kill . . .

      it’s like that saying in Judaism concerning ‘lashon ha ra’: ‘Malicious speech has the power to be spoken in Alexandria and to kill in Rome’

      when the ‘agents’ of our extremism are those vulnerable mentally ill who kill . . . then we have become more than evil as a nation: we have allowed the mentally ill to act out our frustrations while we sit back and watch the slaughter . . . we are doubly damned, especially when we then point to the sick one as ‘guilty’ and then ‘pray’ for change . . . God have mercy on our foolish ways and help us to take responsibility for protecting the vulnerable.

      • Hi Christiane,
        I think you’re on to something there. In Germany where we’ve been having a great increase of hate speech and racist outburst over the past year (Pegida) before the refugees actually started showing up in large numbers, a mentally ill man attempted to kill a mayoral candidate. Fortunately it is usually fairly difficult to get hold of guns in Germany, so stabbed her and several others and stabbing are less frequently lethal (everybody survived). The hate speech came from others, but the man acting on it in an attempted mass killing had mental health issues.
        The problem with guns is that they are designed to be deadly no matter how skilled the gun user actually is and can be used without close contact with the victim, making it easier for somebody using it to kill.

    • Here’s the argument:

      Even if you could change the second amendment tomorrow to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, the practical implementation is nearly impossible.
      – HIPAA privacy laws prevent release of mental health information
      – A mental illnbess diagnosis would have to be legally established; and that usually happens AFTER something bad has happened, not I advance of it.
      – A person who wants to own a gun but who is mentally unstable would be less likely to seek help, if they know that merely seeking help will potentially disqualify them from gun ownership

      And that doesn’t begin to address the bigger issue of changing the 2nd amendment. Progressive culture consistently attacks conservative positions using the language of mental illness (“____-phobia”), so it will be a tough job to sell a mental health restrictions on gun purchases without first overcoming other slippery slope arguments.

  16. Why isn’t a large part of the church in the U.S. up in arms about all this?
    Probably many reasons, but surely one in evangelical circles is that to do so would alienate it from acceptance and involvement in circles of (mostly very conservative) political power and influence. Another factor is that any action would probably require leadership from the pulpit, but the fact is that in many evangelical churches any practical measures to mitigate this country’s gun violence via stricter controls, earlier and stronger intervention in psychological problems, etc. would likely get the pastor fired, or at least in considerable hot water.

    In the more fundamentalist circles, there seems to be an attitude that practical solutions to social issues are below them, or at least not to be addressed by leaders in their role as spiritual leaders. Only when such issues affect doctrine or threaten what they perceive as the church are they really tackled. And for whatever reason, gun violence doesn’t meet that standard in their view.

    One of the only categories of theologically conservative Christians you will see speaking out against gun violence and advocating for change in the U.S. are those who have served much of their lives as missionaries overseas and who as a result are in many ways outsiders to American culture.

    That is my take, based on many decades of varied church experience. Your mileage may vary.

  17. flatrocker says:

    Why isn’t Rachel weeping today? It maybe as simple as this – As horrible and wrong as this event is, it is yet another example of something we all watch voyeuristically, but very few of us are ever actually touched directly by the outcome.

    When do we weep over the teenager who dies from a heroin OD? When it’s our daughter.
    When do we weep over the spouse killed by a drunk driver? When it’s our spouse.
    When do we weep over an Isis be-heading? How about we talk to James Foley’s mother.

    The point is it only really matters when it becomes personal. And for most of these events they are not deeply personal. We are removed as opposed to being moved. It doesn’t necessarily lessen our sympathy, but to weep requires deep personal pain.

    To me this post smacks of a set-up. The nature of the post just begs for a “hypocritical Christian” bashing or some half-baked amateur legal analysis of the 2nd amendment. Shame on us.

    There is no hierarchy to Rachel’s weeping.

    • > The point is it only really matters when it becomes personal

      History demonstrates this to be false; the movement for the abolition of slavery in the United States for one example. People have been moved by moral arguments in the past.

      > half-baked amateur legal analysis of the 2nd amendment

      I didn’t see any legal analysis in the post. You are reading that into the text.

    • Bob, not a set-up at all. Just my own anguished cry at the Church’s (and that includes my own) blindness and apathy. I agree with you that if it became personal we would react more. But the Church claims to “weep” over a host of other sins and preaches and prays and agonizes and organizes culture war fights in their name. It seems we don’t see people killing each other as a moral issue the church should care about. Unless you’re a pastor or mission worker far from the suburban palace churches, stuck in no man’s land without protection.

      • CM, perhaps the church is not blind or apathetic. Perhaps the church has been responding to your question all along.
        If a Christian believes James 4:1, then the day-to-day living out of the christian life, of outreach and pastoring and discipleship (which does not require public displays of protests) IS the action of the church, and is the moral response.

        If you think God is going to fix this, and you think the underlying problem is a spiritual one, then the church is positioned to be the agent of spiritual renewal.
        If you think “God is not going to fix this”, then maybe it all comes down to which tactic is more likely to reduce the body count: heavily armed-self defense (“‘praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”), or general disarmament?

        • My post is not about “fixing” anything. It’s about the relative silence of the U.S. Church on matters of public violence.

          • My point in the context is, the church is not silent, but it is already speaking by its actions, not by words.

            Perhaps one reason the church speaks with words in the other “culture war” issues is because it is usually in reaction to something imposed upon it (typically a court action). So you’re going to hear more words.

            By the way, to be clear, this incident did not occur in the inner city. It occurred in suburbia, within 8 miles of several megachurches. The wounded were all treated at the 7th Day Adventist hospital (Loma Linda), and the suspects lived in the Adventist enclave of Redlands.

    • Flat I gave up watching the news years ago I couldn’t handle the pain any longer and the weeping felt like death to me and still does. Sorry J prayer works you become what you see and speak of. You only prove that point yourself. It is the place of start and then action. If only one from prayer is moved to action then truly God has come to earth a man a long time ago proofed that. You don’t have to believe it. God is bigger than any of could imagine. We’ll see now won’t we

  18. Apparently the church is dysfunctional or something.

    • I agree, JoelG. What discomforts the American church is sex, not horrific levels of violence The joke during Vietnam was that American bishops would have condemned the war if only American bombers had dropped condoms instead of napalm. Let’s face it, we Americans are very violent, both inside our borders and out, if judged by the amount of weaponry we export. Ah, but in our churches we do love to argue about gay folks and a woman’s place, don’t we?

      • “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Again, you find either pro-sex and anti-violence or anti-sex and pro-violence. Almost never pro-both or anti-both in the same person.

        Inside the churches, SEX is the big no-no; outside, VIOLENCE is.

  19. Spent this recent Thanksgiving week in Paris. Of course friends and family cranked up the Baptist prayer hot-line upon finding out we weren’t cancelling our travel plans. So travel mercies were invoked. I have no doubt some prayed for me to be given Rambo like skills just in case. Some friends private messaged me on FB. All assumed I had lost my mind taking my wife and children to France. Actually had someone beg me to come back to the US. Upon returning one family member noted they were glad I was back in the US. All because you know we are so much safer than anywhere else in the world.

    I found myself thinking how can they be so insensitive or blind to the murders that occur in our country on a daily basis? For that matter that occur every 37 minutes if you trust the FBI’s stats. I just don’t get it. And then yesterday comes. Why isn’t Rachel weeping today? I don’t know. What can I do about this? I don’t know. I have enough struggles loving God, neighbor, and my enemies to have any answers or words of wisdom. Lord have mercy indeed.

  20. I have a stupid theory about this, I think that something in our makeup as humans is being seriously altered by our interaction with rapid information. I think the huge amounts of information that we are exposed to seduces us. It has removed some things that make us human: the luxury of thinking about things deeply drawing on our inner resources and hope, the simple things that reinforce what is good in us and in our world.

    • I guess the discussion has moved on, but I agree with robin. I think there’s an element of compassion fatigue. So many disasters, too little time to consider each one’s implications.

      I wonder what effect the proliferation of first-person-shooter games has had on our psyche, to view real people as targets.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      It’s called INFORMATION OVERLOAD resulting in BURNOUT.

  21. Randy Thompson says:

    Not a stupid theory, Robin.

    What “rapid information” has done to us is make us reactive. We don’t act as much as we react. Not unlike Pavlov’s dog, we snarl and growl in response to the information that comes our way that upsets or annoys us. The more conditioned we are to what is instant and rapid, the more we end up snarling, and the more we end up snarling, the more the snarling becomes a way of life. Modern communications have little patience for reflection and emotional and spiritual depth, and I used the word “patience” here for a reason . .

    I watched a bit of CNN’s coverage of the San Bernardino murders last night. All news all the time, instant. We’re presented with a lot of disturbing images about disturbing events, and no one knows exactly what they mean. So, we make up stories and theories to explain what we see–that’s the TV reporter’s job. Yet, we’re left angry, frustrated, depressed, and needing to take action. . . but what action to take? How do you “take action” in New Hampshire when the event that upsets you is in Southern California? As Tip O’Neil said, “All politics is local.” I think that holds true for situations like this.

    • I agree, Randy. And most of the time I’m asking the usual public spokesmen for the “Christian” position to shut up. I’m just rather shocked at how public murder and mass killings don’t make their list of topics of concern.

      • Randy Thompson says:

        Yes. Generally, I wish the same. Most of the time, you know what they’re going to say before they do!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      What “rapid information” has done to us is make us reactive. We don’t act as much as we react. Not unlike Pavlov’s dog, we snarl and growl in response to the information that comes our way that upsets or annoys us.

      INFORMATION OVERLOAD.
      BURNOUT.

  22. When I listen to AM talk radio for any longer than 10 minutes, I start to get furious at knuckle-dragging, know-nothing, xenophobic, racist bigots.

    When I read Daily Kos or the Huffington Post, I get furious at soft-headed liberals who excoriate me for being suspicious of the 99.8% of Muslims who are neither jihadis nor support the jihadis without giving me any idea as to how to distinguish them, as if being baptized into the Liberal Sean-Hannity-hating Holy Ghost endowed me with a infallible discernment of spirits charism that would allow me to do so.

    I read Salon and get mad at feminists.

    There is something out there that wants us mad at each other, that profits from it, that makes bank on it.

    I don’t own a gun, but when I walk into certain neighborhoods I put on a false face. I call it my “I’ll shoot a ________ [fill in racial epiphet] and sleep like a baby” face. i wish I didn’t have to. That and prayer have worked so far.

    BTW Honduras has a gun violence issue that dwarfs ours. I wonder what their gun control laws are like. Any gun control is going to have to concentrate on the manufacturers, not the end users. Demonizing gun users is a bad, bad idea.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Demonizing gun users is a bad, bad idea.

      And they’ll push back. Directly or indirectly.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I don’t own a gun, but when I walk into certain neighborhoods I put on a false face. I call it my “I’ll shoot a ________ [fill in racial epiphet] and sleep like a baby” face. i wish I didn’t have to.

      That sounds like a tow truck driver I met years ago, when he was towing my Honda after a breakdown.

      Guy looked like Anton LaVey, I kid you not. On the ride to my dropoff point, he told me war stories about working Police Impound and Repo in the absolute WORST part of town, especially during the 1994 riots. (South Central, formerly Watts, now called South Los Angeles — they change the name after every riot. Again, I kid you not.)

      Anyway, to stay alive while working Impound/Repo in that area, he cultivated the same false face you did, but with two differences: He DID pack heat, and his false face added the Giggling Wide-Eyed Psycho. Because the ONE circumstance where a gangbanger can back down from a confrontation and NOT lose face is when the other guy is clearly A Crazy Man. (He demonstrated “The Face” for me. I was impressed.)

      He was apparently infamous throughout South Central as “The Psycho Tow Truck Driver”, and related a couple times when his reputation probably saved his life. Including one time when he had to defuse an incoming assault by dropping his pistol in the guy’s face and putting on The Face. (Like I said, working Repo or Impound for the cops in a BAD part of town.) Assailant backed down — “AH HEARD OF YOU! YOU’RE THE PSYCHO TOW TRUCK DRIVER!”

  23. CM,

    This is spot on. Too many Christians in the US are satisfied to say “I told you so” or to bemoan secularization, immigration, and the loss of their perceived Christian nation – all the while isolating themselves in Christian universities, think tanks, and suburban prayer palaces. God be with those who are speaking and reaching out, living with the other. May God convict the rest of us of our complacency and decadence.

    • Agreed!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Too many Christians in the US are satisfied to say “I told you so” or to bemoan secularization, immigration, and the loss of their perceived Christian nation – all the while isolating themselves in Christian universities, think tanks, and suburban prayer palaces.

      “And only drink milk
      If it comes from a CHRISTIAN cow…”
      — Steve Taylor, “Guilty by Association”

  24. I have felt sick since this happened. What bothers me deeply is the regularity we are having these. Oregon, Colorado and now California? The scale and frequency stun me and make me want to vomit. I don’t want these kinds of events to happen in my country. The individuals killed yesterday were someone’s father, spouse, brother, sister, friend, etc…

    But I also wondered….why can some Christians be so opposed to abortion and so complacent to events like this? I also am wondering…why does a loving God allow these kinds of events to happen, over and over again. i firmly believe that the best reason for rejecting God is the problem of evil. Hands down, its the best reason. What type of loving God stands by and allows a shooter to enter a Holiday party and kill randomly. The neglect by God in such situations like this make me feel sick.

    Here’s another thing that troubles me and I wrote about it below. Here in DC when they had the Navy yard Shooting with a mentally ill gunmen in the Navy Yard, the church I popped up in and thought would be home largely did nothing. Fairfax Community Church had no talk about the problem of evil. No setting aside a good portion of the service to pray. No breaking from the agenda to deal with something horrific in their backyard. I honestly hope that churches in Southern California and in the US will stop, and deal with the issue and tackle or address the problem of evil. Its not going away..and people have questions. And those questions are legitimate.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/a-tale-of-two-churches-fairfax-community-church-and-the-problem-of-evil/

    • Andrew Zook says:

      Eagle, this is a great line, “I honestly hope that churches in Southern California and in the US will stop, and deal with the issue and tackle or address the problem of evil.” You’re not the only one who feels this frustration. I attend a tiny church, but we’re evangelical and we’re not really unlike all the other well-off, comfy lemmings in all the bigger churches… and we exhibit what others have mentioned here: We get very worked up over sex things or foreigners or taxes/regulations or poor people and their bad decisions but when it comes to real destruction of life or creation… we sigh, we say a prayer, we blather about some Scripture promise, we mention the second-coming and how close it must be now (ie our instant ticket out-of-here!) and that’s about it. No real deep wrestling, lamentation, weeping and wailing, grabbing the horns of the altar and begging God to show Himself concerned or able to act…nor admitting how little we understand or comprehend or how we might be angry or doubting or scared (gotta maintain that “faith” face)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I honestly hope that churches in Southern California and in the US will stop, and deal with the issue and tackle or address the problem of evil. Its not going away..and people have questions.

      Easier to jump on the God Punishing Us or Gun Control bandwagons, with much cheering.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      But I also wondered….why can some Christians be so opposed to abortion and so complacent to events like this?

      Because abortion has to do with SEX.

      SEX not only makes people go stupid, it makes Christians go crazy.

  25. Chaplain Mike…this is a timely post. You did a good job asking the questions you do. They need to be asked. These are issues that are not going away and the silence is deafening

  26. This is the second time in less than a month in California that there has been a mass violence in a public institution. In case you mssed the previous one, 4 people were stabbed in class at UC Merced on 11/4. At first they thought it was an isolated case, but when they went to the guy’s apartment, they found the Islamic State flag and a manifesto. As with San Bernardino, the FBI has said the motive remains unclear.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Don’t want to appear Islamophobic(TM) or Racist(TM), you know.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And the more they waffle, the higher the Trumps (and worse) will rise.

        An Islamic clothing store in my town got a warning on their doorstep this morning: Someone pumped 30 rounds into a Koran and left it on their doorstep. Didn’t mention which one other than the city, but I think I know the place — a couple doors down from a now-defunct good shawarma eatery in a part of town with a large Arab ethnic community.

        Quote from a Muslim stumping for a group called the Muslim Reform Movement:

        “What we’re struggling with is on the far right, a lot of people who want to deal with Islam in a monolithic way, and on the far left, no one wants to acknowledge there’s a larger problem,” Nomani said. “The truth lies somewhere in the middle. There is an extremism problem. The majority of Muslims don’t live that way, and we have to reclaim a middle path.”

  27. Charlotte says:

    I’m jumping in to this late and don’t know if my comment will get read. And I’m pretty sure it might get pushback from some corners of the room.

    I am a candidate for the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of California. Church as institution is, like everything else, a mix of blessings and pitfalls. But the Episcopal Church often does speak out and call for change. Yesterday I received the following from my bishop’s office:
    “““““
    BISHOP OF DIOCESE OF CALIFORNIA ISSUES STATEMENT
    Calls for transformation of selves, country, through action

    The following is a statement from the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus about the shooting that took place in San Bernardino, California, on December 2, 2015:

    Advent is the season of hope and expectation. With many religious leaders, I offer my thoughts and prayers for the people of San Bernardino, but I call on Christians to take up John the Baptist’s prophecy that one was coming, the one we follow, who doesn’t simply call us to repentance, important as that is, but to transformation.

    It is time to boldly stand up and say, as we know most Americans believe, that good gun control must happen now. And it is time to face up to the prison pipeline and the tragic lack of mental health care, two lapses from what it would mean to be a truly civil society, and act with compassion and courage.

    Here are some resources for us to use in becoming transformed and transforming people around gun violence and related issues:
    30 gun control actions you can take now
    Six gun control groups worth your time and donations
    SAVE (Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere) Oakland
    Diocese of California’s Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce resources

    +MHA

    The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
    Eighth Bishop
    The Episcopal Diocese of California

    The resources listed are actually links. This week, I’m grateful for being part of a church that often speaks with helpful clarity.

    So, Chaplain Mike, “the Church” isn’t keeping silent. Just parts of it are.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Oh, and there was a headline about “Obama seeks executive action regarding gun sales.”

      Gun Control by Executive Order, i.e. By Decree.

      Tell me again about how the NRA is so radical and out of touch with reality?

    • You are definitely right. For many evangelicals, my tribe for many years, however, they cherry pick their social justice issues and would never call them “social justice.”

    • Charlotte, tanks for posting. It does get read.
      I read in Washington Post that California has the strictest gun control laws in the nation. As this story unfolds, it will be helpful to know the source of those guns, and whether:
      (a) California’s current laws, if properly implemented, should have prevented access to those guns;
      (b) California’s current laws, if also enacted in other states, could have prevented access to those guns;
      (c) if any of the 30 proposals in your links above could have prevented access to those guns.

      • Charlotte says:

        Steve,

        What I appreciated about Bishop Marc’s comments is that he is not landing on gun control as THE answer. The prison pipeline and lack of affordable, quality mental health care are right there, too. Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, made a statement today but I haven’t read it yet.

        I don’t know what would have prevented any of the mass shootings that have happened this year. Lament, repentance, and moves towards social transformation cannot reverse the deaths. Still, they are the spiritual work of Christians today.

        We, the Church, are charged with joining God in working towards the full flourishing of all creation. Discerning the shape of that work is something we must engage in communally. When the world laments senseless death as we do now, the Church should bring the best theological wisdom of our faith to the discussions.

        So Steve, I can’t say that gun control is the only or best answer. But we cannot sit this conversation out.

        • I agree that we can’t sit it out. My point of earlier posts is that joining God in working towards the full flourishing of all creation is something that happens in the day-to-day. To say the church is sitting it out is to miss the less headline-grabbing work that the church is already doing.

          And yes, meanwhile, Rachel is weeping:
          http://www.churchofthewoods.org/wetzelfamily.html

    • Charlotte says:

      Just a note for the sake of accuracy: I am in formation for the Episcopal priesthood, having completed my application for candidacy. The process matters; I have not yet received my formal letter of candidacy.