Like much of America, I woke up yesterday morning to an Apple News alert on my phone: “A Las Vegas shooting that has killed at least 50 is the deadliest in modern U.S. history.” The terrible headline was all over the news, in the car as we made our morning drop-offs.
To my knowledge, I didn’t personally know anyone at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. But we have friends whose family members were there and directly affected. Praise God they survived, but how does one move on from that? It was supposed to be a fun weekend, hanging out with friends, enjoying some great country music. It was not supposed to be the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The unfortunate reality is that these public shooting incidents are on the rise. I am having difficulty finding non-political sources to support this claim, but we hear of these events more frequently. These are not exactly in the middle of nowhere either. We know Las Vegas and Orlando. We have visited those cities. We live less than 50 miles away from San Bernardino. And the kids rightfully have questions. How does this happen? How can this be prevented? Can it happen to us? Are we safe?
The fact is, I really don’t have answers. Without getting into politics or my mixed views on gun control (or smart gun ownership as I tend to think of the issue), the reality is that bad things happen. Evil is real. We look for motives, and sometimes it’s clear, but many times there is no clear explanation for why people hurt other people. The other reality is that we can’t always prevent horrible events. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to enact laws to prevent crime or be aware of our surroundings ourselves, but it’s almost impossible to prevent all violence. And while the chances are incredibly low, all things considering, the harsh reality is that yes, this can happen to us.
So in the car this morning, I talked through these concerns with my middle-schooler. No, I frankly told him, I cannot always keep you safe. There are horrible things that happen, and I may not have the ability to keep them from affecting our family. But I reassured him that I will always do my best to protect him.
On the drive to school, we also talked about some good things. It seems that when humanity shows its worst, it also shows its very best. There are so many stories of people selflessly coming to the aid of others. That in the face of danger, individuals helped their fellow man. There are many people who want to help however they are able- giving blood, donating their time and money and resources. And we do believe in a sovereign God. I can’t give an explanation to the question of why bad things happen, but I do have faith that God does work all things for good. May He bring comfort in this difficult time.
I wish you all the best as you strive to reassure your loved ones in the midst of the sadness we see in this world.