Uvalde and Missing Pieces

Most of my blog posts aim to share some of life’s encouragement and interests. Sometimes, though, we need to stop and ask a few pointed questions. This post is one of those. You can wait for my next travel post if you are not in the mood for serious.

The school shooting in Uvalde was only hours old before politicians and their allies in the press started promoting their usual narratives. Sadly, there were few surprises in those narratives; we have been there before. And yet there were some aspects of this school shooting, and others, that seem missing from most of the posturing and reporting. Here are some the come to mind:

Follow the money: Where did a 18-year old get the money to buy thousands of dollars worth of firepower, and over what time frame? What kind of job did he have that paid so well, particularly if he never finished school? The politicians say we must take action, but don’t we need to know how such a tragedy developed if we want to find a way to head it off in the future?

Follow the (social) media: A few early news reports suggested that the shooter posted comments and plans in a chat room, and that at least some people saw them. We practice “see something — say something” when it comes to airline security; was it really that hard of a reach for someone who saw his posts to have sounded an alarm? A few years ago Facebook banned one of my friends for life because of her pro-life/anti-abortion views. Are Facebook and their ilk prepared to take action if someone posts specific plans for murder?

Follow the (social) threads: Where was the shooter’s family, and where were his friends? They would have been close enough to see things going bad, in terms of mental health, erratic behavior, and evil intent. Were they all missing in action? If so, why? Some news reports indicated that the shooter’s classmates thought he was becoming a threat; again, why didn’t they notify the school, the police, or both?

Dig deeper: we may or may not ever get answers to the questions raised above. The politicians and their media allies are very loud about some parts of such tragedies but silent on others. For example, they are quick to decry a tragic school shooting, but strangely silent about ongoing murders in Chicago, New York, or other cities. Chicago and New York have some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, but the number of kids murdered in the Uvalde school massacre is less than what Chicago sees murdered in most months, month after month. For some reason the Chicago murders are rarely part of the discussion when it comes to violence, gun violence, or violence against children in America.

Notwithstanding everything mentioned above. the biggest gap in what we hear from our politicians and press is spiritual. This shooting and the ones that came before or come after are all evil. Leaving out their spiritual dimension makes it an incomplete picture that prevents understanding. Shouting “for God’s sake” over and over in a press conference does not provide any insight about the spiritual dimension of the situation.

When I was growing up, my grandfather kept loaded rifles in the corner behind the kitchen door. Every household, so far as I knew, had one long gun if not several. Many of them had one or more handguns, too. By the time a kid reached high school, he had taken a gun safety class, practiced shooting under the supervision of someone who knew guns and gun safety, and perhaps already owned a shotgun or a semi-automatic rifle. Yet we did not have school shootings or supermarket massacres like today. Any good scientist who sees the situation change would investigate why. Any good engineer who sees something fail in a new way would investigate why. To do otherwise would be negligent, and perhaps criminally negligent. Why don’t the politicians or their media allies want to investigate what has changed over the past 50-60 years? Maybe it has something to do with that unmentioned spiritual dimension.

Soon after the Uvalde shooting some of the political and media types openly mocked those who wanted to respond with prayer. It is bad enough to ignore the spiritual dimension of the problem; it is even worse to try to suppress those who see it. However, let me try to end on a positive note: we live in grim, dark times. Our political leaders are mostly in denial about the challenges. They know plenty of things, but they don’t have the answers. However, if you know God, then you know the only one who really does have the answers. And when these dark days come to an end, He will stand victorious. One more thing: we may be in dark times now, but He loves us and will see us through.

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