I hesitated to blog about this massacre (26 dead?) until more was known about the details. Media reports, especially the early ones are notoriously confused and downright false in most such cases. The Internet may provide more information from people close to the event, but often there are wild speculations and bizarre rumors mixed in with facts. Even now, many hours after, it seems that we are not certain of a lot of things, and much of what we think is true may not be so. And this is a problem.
Then there’s the element of possible disinformation sown in amongst the reports, and the factor of ‘gaslighting’ which seems to be present in much of the ‘mainstream’ reporting on events like this.
We do know, apparently, the name and age of the killer, along with the usual facts: place of residence, marital status, etc. The UK Daily Mail provides a reasonable account here, allowing for the usual biases that creep into every mainstream article.
The media won’t ‘like’ this story much because it lacks a racial angle (unlike the Dylann Roof killings) but of course mass shootings are fodder for the left’s gun ‘control’ agenda. And this massacre is already being used to bash White males, as well as Christians. For instance, though the shooter is said to have been a zealous atheist, most articles mention that he was a ‘Bible teacher’, which is inaccurate. Being a volunteer teacher’s aide in a short vacation Bible camp is not equivalent to being a real Bible teacher. Yet I just know that those who hate Christianity will play up this supposed angle and say his actions were somehow caused by his (possibly non-existent) Christian faith. Or they will try to say that a Christian upbringing — did he even have such? — is to blame for the atrocity he committed.
Some will bring in the ‘redneck, Southern’ tropes as proof for his being a gun-crazy violent hick, as most leftists depict Southrons and especially Texans.
The information we have been given points not to his being the gun-toting, Bible-thumping redneck barbarian which the leftists hope for; rather it points to his being a disaffected lefty atheist with grudges against traditional America. This type is often sort of a creation of overindulgence in popular ‘entertainment’ — movies, TV, games — which has produced at least one generation of young people who have no sense of belonging to the wider world around them. Lost.
Sutherland Springs, Texas is not a town I’m familiar with; apparently it’s just a little spot on the road in South Central Texas. But I do know that area well; most of my kin from my grandmother’s side live in small towns in the adjoining counties. I expect the victims of this massacre (let’s not forget them!) were people much like my kinfolk. The church building itself looks like the little church in which I was baptized. So I feel personally grieved by this.
A number of online comments on this incident asked why none of the church congregation were ‘carrying.’ Do we know for a fact they weren’t? Rural Texas is not a ‘gun-phobic’ area, even among Christians, in my experience. Some of them may have been carrying, if their church allows it, but the gunman took everyone by surprise and it seems unlikely that he could have been prevented or stopped before he killed a number of people.
But for those who think all Christians are utterly passive and too timid to defend themselves, as a Christian is permitted to do, it’s just not true, despite all the publicity given to the liberal Churchians and their Cult of Niceness. I realize that the Southern Baptists, who are probably still a majority of Christians in Texas, have gone all liberal and squishy in recent years but I don’t know if this church is part of the SBC or is an independent church. There’s no point, in my opinion, to criticizing the actions or lack thereof of the congregants. At least some local citizens joined to pursue the killer and stop him, which would not have happened in some localities.
Texas, like the rest of the world, is changing, and not for the better; the old Texas frame of mind and character are disappearing gradually, or in some cases quickly, thanks to changes in the demographics.
Speaking of demographics Sutherland Springs is a small community and is for all intents and purposes White, so it is likely a very low crime area, and most people there feel secure in their homes and church, with good reason. So it’s misguided to fault them for being ‘too trusting’ or ‘dumb’ for expecting to be safe in their little town. Is expecting to be safe now unreasonable in our country?
The world is now a place in which, wherever we live, we feel the need to be wary of people we meet. We are slower to trust, and increasingly suspicious. This is true in regard to our media and government as well. These recent acts of violence like the ones in Las Vegas and New York City and then this one in Texas now bring out the professional cynics and doubters who doubt even that these events happened. And can we prove them wrong? I don’t think so, because any evidence that contradicts their theories or assertions is simply dismissed as more ‘deception.’ It’s troubling to see people who seem otherwise sane and sensible asserting that these events are all elaborately staged fakes, with no deaths, no bloodshed. No victims. Nothing to mourn or grieve about, because nobody died. But all such events can’t be faked, can they?
So though nobody can prove the hoax believers wrong by producing evidence they will accept, neither can they prove their arcane theories about staged events with crisis actors. So we are at an impasse.
Believing that none of these things happened naturally means that we need do nothing; this hyper-skeptical attitude leads toward simply dismissing all this as unreal.
How much more divided can we be when some of us hold opposite views of reality, of what is real and what is fiction?