As I sit down to write this, my hands are shaking, tears are brimming in my eyes, and I feel like my stomach hasn’t stopped churning. My heart is still racing; the remnants of an anxiety attack caused by the heartache I feel towards those involved and those affected by this morning’s shooting.
Earlier this morning, a camera-man, a reporter and an interviewee were gunned down on live television in Virginia. The two employees of the station WDBJ were killed, while the woman being interviewed was last stated to be in surgery following receiving a bullet in the back.
About an hour ago, spreading like wildfire on the internet, the shooter was not only identified, but had uploaded a video of himself killing them to Twitter. Evident in the video was the fact that he waited until the camera was back on the reporter before unleashing his shower of bullets.
I probably shouldn’t have watched the video, but I did. I couldn’t tear myself away from it. It wasn’t morbid fascination that kept me from being able to look away, but the childlike hope that it would turn out none of this was real; that the video would reveal it as a sick prank that accidentally hit the real news, instead of what it really is.
I don’t even fully know what to say about the whole thing. What a horrifying, heartbreaking situation. What is wrong with someone that they would kill two former co-workers over an issue with their job? Not only that, but to film themselves doing it? To make it clear that they wanted them to die on camera? I feel like I’m going to be sick to my stomach.
Over the last year, there have been so many things public reporters have had to deal with – from sexist comments, and actions happening to them on camera, and now this.
It would be a lie to say that when I see things like this, I don’t get a lump in my throat and worry about friends, former classmates and co-workers in the industry. If this can happen there, it can really happen anywhere.
We live in strange, dark world these days. When something like this happens, it starts to feel a little darker.
A world that, at times like these, keeping a Christian perspective becomes a struggle. As Christians, we should pray for our enemies, pray for mercy, pray that Christ can touch the hearts of our transgressors. But that’s not what I want to do; right now, that’s not what I can do.
Instead, all I can think is how I want this POS scumbag to burn in hell, to be tortured and feel pain, pain worse than the pain he has caused the friends, family and coworkers of these people.
It’s times like these, when the idea that grace is available to all who repent makes me want to be sick; makes me want to scream and yell and demand to know from God why or how He could ever consider letting someone so awful into heaven, even if they decide what they did was wrong and want redemption.
It’s times like these I question how God could ever view all sin as the same. How God could equate my swearing problem to the same level of sin as someone killing two people in cold blood over a grudge with their former employer.
It’s times like these, where when people start asking ‘Where was God in this’ and questions about how God could love a man like the shooter, all I can do is shrug and stare blankly. Because I don’t even know.
This post isn’t going to end with a word of wisdom, or with encouragement on the ways that we, as Christians, can continue to follow the things laid out for us to do. I’ve never been shy about the fact, that despite my faith, despite believing in God and trusting in his plans, there are a lot of things I disagree with, and a lot of questions I have for Him. Now, I have a few more for when I get up to those golden gates.
Because the truth is, if I were called by God to show this man His grace and mercy, to reach out and try to lead him to Jesus, I couldn’t. All I can do, is muster up anger, disgust, and maybe even hate for people like that.
Does it make me a bad Christian? Maybe. But then again, I’ve never believed that one has to agree 100% with everything God does in order to be a Christian. God gave us free will to think for ourselves, to question and seek Him out, to find the answers. But there are some things we will never have answers to, and I can’t believe for one moment that God would kick us out of His family because we disagree with some of the things he does.
Today however, isn’t about finding answers. It’s about the acknowledgement of the darkness that exists in our world, and the disgust at the ones who are a part of it.
It’s about remembering three people who were gunned down on camera because of someone so sick and twisted, and mourning for them while hating that darkness.
When I am done this post, I’ll be taking a moment of silence. A moment to weep for the lives that were lost, and for those who have to deal with it. A moment to mentally send a hug to every journalist I know and pray that no-one I ever know will be a victim to something so awful. All I ask, is that you take a moment to do the same.
Regardless of whether a loss like this directly affects you, it is something to mourn. It’s a reminder that no-one is safe from the evils of this world, and that it can happen anywhere, and to anyone.