Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Tragedy

We had a real tragedy in Arkansas today. Oh it wasn't an unusual one in any way. It wasn't one involving hundreds of people or massive damage to homes and property. It will get a big spot in the nightly news and the media folks will cover it for a few days and then something else will come along and take it's place. But it was an event that will affect a lot of people for a long time to come.

This morning a man walked into the Democratic Party Headquarters and shot the Chairman, Bill Gwatney, several times. Bill died later at the hospital. The suspect left that office and got into a chase with police and was later shot and killed himself. Bill was 48, had a wife and 2 daughters, a lot of family and a host of friends. He had once been a state senator here in Arkansas, for 10 years I think.

I don't know why this man was so angry/upset/frustrated/overwhelmed that he would do such a thing. It doesn't matter really. What does matter is that a man is dead and the people who love him are hurting. I don't know why the suspect chose this route to settle what he obviously thought was wrong in his world but I do know that he is ordinary. He is routine. He is every day in America.

The tragedy, as I see it, involves much more than the death of one man, though I don't want to minimize the loss his life will be to many, many people. The tragedy is that it does happen every day, every hour. Senseless murder, senseless anger, senseless hatred, senseless racism, senseless greed. If you're like me you get several hate filled e-mails a day preaching to us about some political candidate or his opponent, about people who are gay or who belong to a different religion than "us." Oh it's not blatant hate in the e-mail; it's always hidden beneath a message of "would you want this man to be your president?" or "this religion is made up of terrorists" or "love the sinner but hate the sin." When did we decide it was ok in this land of the free to force others to believe like we do, to dress like we do, to talk like we do, to act like we do?

I love the movie "An American President" because I could listen to his speech at the end of the movie over and over and over. In it he says that if you really love America and love her flag then you'll defend the person who burns it. That says it all. I might not agree with your opinion, the way you drive or how often you don't mow your grass - I might not like tatoos or purple spiked hair or blouses that stop below the breasts showing parts of your body I'd rather not see - I might not understand why you insist on riding helmetless on a motorcycle or won't bathe every day or yell obscenities at football games, but I will defend your right to do these things.

I don't know if today's murder was because of political differences or personal differences and it doesn't matter I don't suppose. It was a tragedy whatever the reason. And the real tragedy is that this kind of event happens every day and we can't seem to stop it.

16 comments:

Pieceful Afternoon said...

Wonderful comments - I agree - too much hate - too much allowing ourselves to hate - too much suffering. May I quote your words?

Grammy Staffy said...

You are right...it is a tragedy. My husband read it on the internet news and came to tell me about it. We both feel badly about it.

Whether we have different view or not we are all God's children. I wish that everyone would realize that and show more understanding and compassion for one another.

Vicky said...

I am always amazed at the violence shown to those who've "done you wrong" and wonder about the desperation that drives those individuals.

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Teresa said...

Well said. I fear we are becoming a people that does not value life and liberty as our forefathers did. I will never understand the human mind that can not see the joy that comes from living in peace with each other, rather than living in hatred, bitterness and fighting.

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

Hi Marlene, you are so right on the violence that goes on. It is so hard for me to even listen to the news and I think that is pretty sad. I like good news and there never is much of that.
Blessings and prayers to the families,
Bonnie

Lindah said...

Well said, Marlene, well said!

Cyndy said...

I had not heard this on the news (I'm not really sure how I missed it), but what a horrible tragedy. My prayers will be for his family. I don't understand how people can be filled with such hatred!

Hugs,
Cyndy

Beckynsc said...

I believe God put us on this earth to learn to take care of eachother. Don't look like there is much of that going on. Sad!!

ivoryspring said...

I agree, Marlene. Being in AR, the circumstances of the incident are so bizarre. Why single out that "one" person...

Salem Stitcher said...

It is sad and senseless. And you are right, the real tragedy is that it happens everyday, everywhere with no end in sight. I am grateful for every moment I have because there are no guarantees, just hope, faith and love.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Oh, the growth pains of creation as she cries out for her Creator to come and redeem and restore and renew.

Come quickly, Lord, even so come. That's the prayer of my heart this night.

peace~elaine

Tracy P. said...

AMEN, Marlene, preach on! I wrote a post awhile back that was a letter of response to one of those emails.

While it's true we can't stop it, we can count on God to work all things together for the good of those who love him. One of my greatest concerns about the evangelical mindset these days is that it takes on such a victim mentality. But Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him, not as a victim, and through him we are more than conquerors.

Pat said...

Marlene, Yes, this was a tragedy. Turns out the "shooter" is from my town, I'm sorry to say. I suppose this kind of thing will keep happening as long as "we" turn a deaf ear to people and their problems...because we don't like them, don't understand them or don't want to make the effort to do so, because they "look" different or "act" different, or simply because we are just too busy to care. We can only answer for ourselves.....me, I intend to embrace the differences...it just might help me and someone else! Pat

Ginger Patches said...

I totally agree with you. I've had quite a few "discussions" with people over the years about these same issues. Especially the flag burning thing...how would it make a bit of sense to get arrested for burning a flag that stands for freedom??? Or the whole free speech debate? I could go on but I won't :) Book burning? Oh wait I said I wouldn't go on...:)