I’ve spent much of the last week shaking my head and asking God what’s going on? First, there was the shooting at Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, last Wednesday. A highly troubled teen decided it was okay to take a gun into a Von Maur and open fire, killing 8 and himself.
Then Sunday morning I saw that a Youth With a Mission center outside of Denver, Colorado, had been attacked. At that time, the headlines said that four had been shot. Now we know that two were killed.
Then Sunday late afternoon, the headlines started flowing with details of a shooting at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As I write this, nobody is saying the YWAM and New Life shootings are connected, though there’s a sense that people desperately want them to be. Somehow it makes the tragedies easier to bear if one person or a small group was responsible for those two events rather than two separate individuals getting similar, horrific ideas in the same short period of time.
Westroads reopened on Saturday, and as far as I could tell on Monday morning, Von Maur remains closed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shopped in Westroads. When I lived in Lincoln and had family living in Omaha, it wasn’t unusual at all to run up the Interstate to Omaha to shop there.
Omaha is the heartland. Colorado Springs is an amazing city, one of the few that Eric and I talk about moving to with big grins on our faces. It has so much to offer, and yet remains a small city.
These shootings demonstrate once again, that senseless violence can occur anywhere.
We’re at a university development conference in Chicago with colleges from around the Midwest. Sunday some were talking about whether these shootings would lower thresholds and make the unacceptable acceptable in people’s minds. Is the day coming when we’ll enter shopping malls through metal detectors? I don’t know.
But as I thought about it I remembered that church shooting in Fort Wayne back in September 1999. That shooting was shocking as seven victims died during the youth service shooting. A pipe bomb was also used, though it had little effect, just as smoke machines seem to have been planted at New Life.
So as my heart breaks for these families, and as I ask God why He allows these attacks on His children, I also pray that somehow He will reveal His glory and His goodness in the midst of senseless tragedy.
He is the only one who can turn the horrible deeds of this world into something beautiful.