A few days ago there was another very troubling shooting incident, which you likely have heard about or even seen video footage of by now. A disappointed and troubled man, Clay Duke, walked up to the podium of a Panama City Florida school board meeting, went over to the wall and spray painted a big red circle and “V” (for Vendetta) on the wall and then pulled out a gun. There were many people in the room and this event could have escalated into a massive tragedy. Thankfully, he was not so troubled that he just started shooting at anybody around him and that he even let all but the school board men out of the room, including the lady that reacted and tried to knock his gun away with her purse. Only GOD knows whether he purposefully tried to miss the board members when he did start shooting or if he “just missed” when hitting the desk and the wall. 😉 Clearly, it is amazing that this shooter was the only person who ended up being shot! The security guard, Mike Jones, who had to shoot him to bring him down when he started firing at the school board members, is indeed a hero. Sadly, the shooter turned his gun to himself and ended his own life. What can we learn from this? What can Virginia Tech learn from this event occurring on the same day, when last year a trial coming from the 04-16-07 VT Tragedy was allowed to go forward (and the same day a tragic trial occurred in my own personal tragedy)?
As the Founders of this Great United States understood, our CREATOR GOD certainly does rule over the affairs of men in His Providence. HE allows many tragic events to take place, testing and leading to the confusion of those devoid of faith, yet HE always has a way of escape and/or lessons to be learned from what occurs. GOD did not allow any others in that room to be killed in that horrific scene, yet HE did allow this man to take his own life. His widow described him as a “gentle giant” and clearly, he could have done much more harm to many if he had fully intended to do so and GOD had allowed. Clay Duke was upset about what had happened to his wife, effecting his and her personal situation. He took a very extreme and improper way of trying to handle his disappointment with the system, just as many others choose to do in these types of shooting tragedies.
I believe the attitude that the security guard, Mike Jones, had about what happened is an example of what every person should have about such a tragic event. He had never even had to shoot anyone and only did so then as a last resort to try to stop any massacre. What I heard this man, Mike Jones, say, is what so many others need to understand about such situations. He did what he had to do to help things be as secure as possible and he had compassion for all, including this man’s wife and family and even for the shooter himself, Clay Duke. He did not simply vilify the man, ignore him as something less than a human being or seek to blame what he did on some mental health diagnosis. Do those approaches and ways of understanding and coping with tragic events sound familiar? Do you see where I am going? Perhaps you should consider this security guard’s example further or review the poem that the LORD led me to write on the first anniversary of the 04-16-07 VT Tragedy (“Learn to Prevail—32 to 33”).
We must learn from the lives of those who perpetrate such tragic events. We must consider the facts leading up to their extreme actions and learn to specially reach out to and help those around us who are similarly struggling. The more we fail to reach out to these troubled souls, the more of these tragedies we will see. Furthermore, if we simply blame any shooter’s actions on some nebulous mental health disorder or past criminal behavior and then just say that they deserve whatever punishment or isolation from society that comes to them, we are doing nothing but stooping to a similar level like the shooter took. It is like having our own personal vendetta. It is taking vengeance into our own hands, even if only by our opinion or attitude. We must change any personal vendetta type of attitude and help others learn to cope with the difficulties and injustices of life. We must trust GOD’S Providence and His final justice, not avenging ourselves and getting in the way of HIS Perfect Wrath (e.g. Romans 12:19).
Give your Vendetta to the LORD, be it with a school board administration or any other such authority!