By now I am sure that we have all heard the news about the massacre that occurred in Las Vegas this past Sunday night. It was a tragedy that took the lives of nearly 60 people and left over 500 wounded. In a matter of minutes, a mass murderer shattered the lives of so many of our fellow Americans as many of us slept only to awaken to the horror of what had happened. Truly, Monday was a dark day for all Americans.
The response I saw as I watched the live coverage was inspiring. The police responded with acts of courage and valor as they located the attacker and stormed the room he was in. Thanks to the actions of the doctors, nurses, EMTs and surgeons in Las Vegas many more were saved and are in the process of recovery. In the open-air venue where the attack happened stories began to surface of people sacrificing themselves to shield complete strangers from the bullets that were raining down. Another man, recognizing that the EMT services were getting overwhelmed grabbed the bodies of people who had been shot and transported them to the hospital in his own truck. This is what makes America great. It’s not our wealth or our military power; it’s not the institutions that have sustained us as a republic for over 240 years. It’s not even our Constitution, which I love. It is the virtues we hold which have been ingrained in us as a people that “all men are created equal”. It’s the truth of our equality, which stems from Genesis that God created each of us in His image and likeness. Las Vegas showed us the same thing we saw in Houston after Harvey, in New Orleans after Katrina, and in New York after 9/11. When our fellow citizens are suffering we can set aside our petty differences to help our fellow man. At least, that’s what I thought.
The people that I have seen and talked to since the news broke of the Las Vegas attack have all said the same things. “I don’t understand why anyone would do this.” “Let’s pray for those people.” “How can we help?” Not a single one on the left or right was talking about gun control, or about how it was the President’s fault; but that was what the media was saying.
Not 10 hours after the attack happened the media were politicizing this tragedy, and one legal executive for one of the major networks wrote on Facebook that, “I’m not actually even sympathetic [because] country music fans are often republican gun toters.” That executive has since been fired.
Quite frankly I felt sickened. I was disgusted with the media’s response. I was upset that the families were not given the time to grieve the loss of their loved ones, that victims were not given time to process what they had just been through, that police had not yet even released enough information for any of us to really know what was happening, and that we as a nation were not allowed to fully comprehend what had just happened before the same-old political games began to be played.
As the story developed, I was sad. Events like these hit me hard. When I hear reports, or see images of what happened, I cannot help but think of what it would feel like if that were my friend or family member. I wonder about the victims and the life they left behind. Who is crying tears of sorrow over the loss of a son or daughter, or a mother or father? What was it that made them unique? Did they have a chance to meet Jesus or did they die never knowing him? These are all things that run through my mind in these events and it weighs heavily on my heart; so, when I turn on my laptop and I see a headline popup in the notifications bar about some asinine comment aimed at dividing our country even further, I get angry.
I must confess that often I get a little too angry about these things, crossing the line from a righteous anger to a sinful one, and have to repent. I hate the injustices of the world and the violence people inflict on others. I wish there was more I could do to make the world better, but the truth is there is only one who can do that job and He hasn’t come back yet.
With that said, I ask you (and encourage you to ask yourself), how is your heart? It’s understandable when things like this happen to be troubled. It’s understandable to feel sad and/or angry. It’s even understandable to feel overwhelmed, but if we are not careful we can become desensitized and our hearts can go numb. Jesus warned that in the last days, “…because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
There are so many terrible things in our world, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, we have 24-hour access to all of it. There is a reason that recent studies have shown that we are the most high-strung people in history, and as God said after creation, it’s not good for us to be alone. Do you have a community of believers to walk through life with who can listen when you are angry, and who can grieve with you when you are sad? If so, then you’re blessed! If not, I encourage you to get plugged in with a godly church. I don’t know where you are at, or how you are feeling after this tragedy, but it is my prayer that none of us will allow our love to grow cold, lest the light in the darkness be extinguished.