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Peace thoughts tested

December 10, 2007

Jed, I am mostly posting this to hear your response (given your previous peace posting), but I also post it because I am still processing it. My gut tells me if I were in this gal’s shoes, I would have had to take the shot too. But still. She most likely (cops still verifying) killed the guy.

Security guard who stopped shooter credits God

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2007 9:23 pm

    Yeah, quite a story. The guy already had quite a body count so far, and from other news stories, was apparently armed to the teeth. If I had a gun at that moment and was trained to use it, I can’t say I’d have done anything other than what she did – find cover, aim for the largest part of the guy’s body and start firing.

    As far as God’s role in it, we’ll never know. We can only listen to her give an account as to what occurred. Paul probably felt similar when he went through several experiences that should have killed him.

  2. December 11, 2007 11:33 am

    makes me nervous to think she prayed about this and pulled the trigger…. but He has taken on the name “Lord of Hosts” so i don’t know… i don’t know.

    maybe one day we’ll understand just how He views war and violence and death.

  3. Slothboy permalink
    December 11, 2007 12:47 pm

    I think that God would prefer that the gun toting maniac get killed, instead of more 16 year old girls. I’m no Quaker, so I don’t think that non-violence is the only valid response. Old Testament it may be, but there are many instances where God helped people to vanquish their enemies.

    It is a greater sin, in my opinion, to allow innocent people to be killed. I will always try to take out the rampaging killer. I will not cower under a table as my wife and kids are executed. Mark my words, I will kill the bastard or die trying, and once he is down, I’ll put one more in his head to make sure.

  4. December 11, 2007 2:28 pm

    I would be more nervous had she admitted to not praying prior to pulling the trigger. “Lord, give me a clear shot, and perfect aim,” is what I would have prayed for.

    The guy obviously had some mental issues, and allegedly enough ammo to kill a lot of innocent folks there at the church. This lady did the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons. I don’t see her reaction to be one of hate or malice toward this man. Her actions were defending not only herself, but those who could not defend themselves at that moment.

    I did wonder this morning, had she not had a gun, would she have attempted to stop him in another fashion? I would/will stop at nothing to stop someone like him.

  5. December 11, 2007 8:34 pm

    I want to comment more, but I have much studying/writing to do, so I leave this to bring more discussion to the table:

    Coroner: Colorado gunman killed himself

    Does this change anything in your responses?

  6. December 12, 2007 9:54 am

    It doesn’t change my feelings of what I would do. It doesn’t change my opinion of her drawing her gun and firing at him as well. Again, she did the right thing.

  7. December 12, 2007 11:31 am

    Quickly: she defended innocent life, didn’t kill him, so yes, she did the right thing.

    If she had been the one to kill him, is that biblical? (i.e. where in Scripture does it say that was okay?) That’s the part I’m wrestling with. Just because it feels right/just doesn’t make it so. Does her motivation matter?

  8. December 12, 2007 12:42 pm

    mmm…… i don’t know… i don’t know.

    this is where i defer to the Justice side of God… and all that stuff in the OT that spoke to TOTAL annihilation of people groups, as God commanded the Israelites to kill ’em all when they took the land.

    yes, in times of “war” there are certain spiritual rules of engagement…. but who’s to say that this parking-lot incident wasn’t a small skirmish in a greater war?

  9. Slothboy permalink
    December 12, 2007 1:29 pm

    For me, the question boils down to what I would rather answer for. “Why did you shoot the gunman?” vs. “Why didn’t you shoot the gunman?”

    God gave us life, that we may live it to the full. The gunman had already robbed two people of that gift and was fixing to rob more. Maybe her bullet didn’t kill him, but the confrontation made him think the jig was up and so he ate his own bullet. (presumably she shot him still, even if it wasn’t the lethal round.) In the balance of things, fewer souls were robbed of their gift of life. From an accounting perspective, this was the best outcome. I don’t think God is blind to motivation and end result. Does that mean the end justifies the means? Probably not every time, but it in this case it appears to.

    Consider this as well, what constitutes divine intervention? Neurosurgery to successfully remove a tumor looks like a miracle to me. God doesn’t often send down lightning bolts to resolve hostage situations, but he does give people the gift to be policemen, negotiators, and swat team members. He grants some the steady hand that allows them to be snipers. A hostage praying to be saved from death at the hands of a terrorist would certainly consider a well-placed bullet from 1000yds to be divine intervention.

    God works through us all the time. If you stop alongside the road to help an old lady fix a flat tire then you are her guardian angel. The fact that the security guard’s bullet didn’t kill the gunmen shows even more that God was there. She shot him, which she felt God told her to do, and was even spared the burden of having to take his life. Whether or not her bullet would have eventually been lethal, the killer preempted it. No Jury in the world would convict her, and I’m confident none in Heaven would either.

  10. December 12, 2007 9:21 pm

    Is it biblical to take unnatural (man made) medicines or accept surgeries to cure diseases we may be born with, or contract? Or should we rely purely upon God to heal us when we have health conditions? Are we becoming life givers, like God, by doing this? My uncle had a heart replacement years ago. Is that against God or his will? I sure don’t think so. The operation was successful, twice I might add, so to me that is what God had predestine for him. My uncle was not lost on the O.R. table, like God so easily could have allowed. Most of us pray about how to best handle these type of situations, and offer praise when we are “mysteriously” healed, as many in the medical profession would say. So if we are not healed by prayer alone, is it wrong to seek further treatment, or should we suffer the fate of life and death and just chalk it up to, “I don’t know if living longer is what God wants of me.”

    I’m not sure where the line is drawn on “Thou shall not kill.” Is it biblical to take another life in defense of others or myself? Like Slothboy illustrated with his two questions, I’d rather answer why I did, versus why I didn’t. This shooter has lived his life in which God already knew the ending, God is the judge of his actions, and will be the judge of the lady who shot him too. Yes we know her bullet didn’t kill him, but had she provided the fatal shot, this would be on her judgment list too.

    Isn’t murder what we are looking at being judged upon not necessarily killing?

  11. December 12, 2007 11:23 pm

    Mandy, your point is well made about the character of God regarding justice. I do struggle to apply specific principles from those stories to personal matters of life and death. Those were situations where God was punishing the various peoples of Canaan and fulfilling the promise to Abraham. Applying principles from narrative is tricky and I don’t know what to do with those stories. I’m hesitant in general. 🙂

    Neal, please remember who you’re talking to when you bring up matters of whether or not it’s legit to have medical intervention. I refer you to the first three weeks of my oldest daughter’s life. Of course it is. But, you raise a valid question, New Testamentally, is there a difference between murder and killing?

    Slothy, your points are well made. I guess all I’m longing for is a bibical (preferably NT) example of some kind as to why I think you’re right.

    Thank you all very much for discussing this. Steph and I have had a couple conversations already in regards to all of this. This is one of the most difficult issues for me to wrestle with. I feel that with my upbringing and surroundings and prior lack of interest, I do not have a healthy understanding of life and death, of life vs. death. I appreciate your responses. I identify with them at a deep, deep level. I’m just trying to figure out if I’m thinking about them rightly. And I’m sincerely asking someone with more time than I have right now to dig a little and pull out some relevant verses that might shed some light on this. 🙂

    Back to Hebrew flashcards…

  12. Slothboy permalink
    December 13, 2007 12:14 pm

    The thing that is muddling this discussion is that we are putting extra weight on killing as a somehow worse sin than others. Let’s simplify this.

    “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law” (Gal. 3:10) (emphasis mine)

    “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at JUST ONE POINT is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10) (emphasis mine)

    What this means is that we are as likely to go to hell for calling Al Gore a dickhead, as we would be for shooting someone in the brain pan. Thank God for Jesus! We are sinners and everyday we damn ourselves all over again. It is in forgiveness, through Christ, that we have access to salvation.

    So yeah, it is likely a sin to kill someone, even if they are threatening you, but you can be forgiven of that as much as anything else. Humans (and especially Catholics) like to rate sins on their effectiveness and relative horror levels, but God doesn’t see it that way. By the same token, we shouldn’t overlook our “little” sins either, because there aren’t any. We need forgiveness more than air. Fortunately it abounds for the faithful.

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