My heart goes out to those at the recent Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting. My prayers are with you, your families, the first responders, and medical personnel who assisted those who were wounded. It was truly a calamity, but as we’ll see in a bit there were also some very hopeful moments in the midst of the tragedy.
It is unfortunate that not even a single day passed before some attempted to inject politics into the shooting. There were of course calls for more gun controls, including the bump fire stocks used by the murderer. Outlawing these devices will likely do little harm, it will only take such devices out of the hands of law abiding citizens who are unlikely to use them in the first place. However, outlawing these devices will also likely do little good. Criminals and others intent on doing evil are most likely to use such devices, and they don’t care about the law. Make the devices illegal and those intent on doing evil will buy them illegally or find a way to make them. That is the reality we face.
The police can only act once a crime occurs. Rarely are police nearby at that moment as their presence lessens a criminal’s chance of succeeding in whatever they’ve planned. That is also reality. The primary responsibility for our safety, and that of our families, rests with each one of us. We have but two choices. We can either accept or reject that reality; we can face reality or just allow it to happen. Each of us is free to make either choice. But regardless of our choice we should continue to live our lives without fear. Self-defense is a right, and owning a gun an option for defense; as is having a plan, watching your surroundings, trusting your senses, understanding how to defend yourself, etc.
It seems like some days we are once again living in the old west. Not because of guns, but rather the acts of evil occurring like those in Las Vegas. Such acts are immoral. Sometimes there is no understanding evil, but its happening should not surprise us. We’ve cast God out of our government, schools, the public square, and even some of our churches. With His removal we lose His morality. God is not the cause of evil acts. But when we turn away from Him, He leaves us to our own devices, and we in turn often destroy each other. We turn from self-sacrifice to self-interest. We turn away from our purpose. His morality provides the only answer.
Even when we turn away from Him, He is always with us. Take the Las Vegas shooting. He was present in the midst of the evil happening that night, just as he is present for those suffering from the recent hurricanes. Some examples? Given the number of weapons in the murderer’s room, the number of shots fired, the size and density of the concert crowd, it is a miracle that only 58 people died in the shooting. The rapid police response and hotel security approaching the killer’s room ended the shooting in only a little over ten minutes—another miracle. Over five hundred wounded went to the hospitals. The medical personnel’s response to the emergency was tremendous, and very few lives were lost. Again, another miracle given the high powered rifles used. Finally, while there was also panic during the shooting, the best of humanity was also on display as people stopped to help others in need.
There is a simple answer to the evil we see around us today. We need to;
- Turn away from ourselves and back to our Creator. To do this, we must acknowledge our arrogance as individuals and a people.
- Repent and ask for forgiveness. This puts us on the right path.
- Learn from our mistakes. Study. Practice those things that make us better. This step transforms us into the people we were intended to be.
While the ideas are easy, living them is often hard. But we are never alone, and we have His promise on that. However, rather we receive those blessings depends on our choices. Will we choose Him?
Dan Wolf is a researcher, analyst, and author. He has written three books examining the relationship between faith, freedom, virtue, and charity. Together these form the cornerstone of our purpose, and our society’s foundational principles derived from those relationships. Links to his work can be found at the Living Rightly website plus his extensive list of interfaith and Islam articles listed here.