Time to mourn.
The worst-ever mass shooting in Texas occurred just before noon on Sunday. Evil, in the form of a gunman, invaded the modest worship service at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, and murdered 26 people. Twenty-six people, ranging in age from five to seventy-two.
Horrific. Unimaginable. It is a time to weep and mourn today.
Unfortunately, because this is 2017 America with our political tribes and instant media, there won’t be a proper period of mourning before the clamor starts for laws to prevent this from ever happening again. In fact, the clamor has already started.
The reality that you probably won’t hear in those debates is that this is not a winnable fight. You cannot legislate the human heart. No amount of freedom or restriction can keep this from happening. That’s not a fatalistic view, for some reason it’s just the way of the world we find ourselves in. Evil definitely exists, so does good, and they’re constantly at war.
There are no easy answers here. Just about anything anyone could say after a tragedy like this sounds trite and inadequate. Sometimes there are no words – only a time to mourn, and to be present for the families of the victims.
If you were blessed to wake up this morning, you have a choice. How will you choose to live after you hear about 26 strangers murdered in south Texas? Will you choose to let it change your perspective? Will you choose to live with renewed purpose and diligence, to help someone in your life, to serve your community, to love your family better?
Or will you choose to ignore this tragedy and move on, just another far away news story that has no bearing on your life. That would be a terrible mistake. Between Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, if we aren’t shaken to our core by the reality that life is precious, and short, and that we need to live it well, then perhaps nothing will wake us up.
You’re stepping out into an angry, cynical, bitter world today. But you can choose to work against that grain. May God help each one of us to make that choice.
Rand Paul was attacked by his neighbor.
Not only is it unsafe for Republican Congressmen to play baseball, but now it’s apparently dangerous for them to mow their own lawns. Senator Rand Paul was cutting his grass on Friday when his neighbor tackled him from behind. Paul suffered several broken ribs and cuts on his nose and mouth.
Now granted, we don’t yet know what really started this attack. It’s very possible it was triggered by the Paul families overuse of bright colored garden gnomes, or maybe Paul was playing his music too loud the night before. Maybe it was a combination of both annoying garden gnomes AND loud music. Whatever the case, this neighbor snapped.
So what do we know about this neighbor? We know he’s a registered Democrat, hates President Trump and he follows postings by Occupy Democrats social media accounts. How do we know all this? Well, surprise surprise, just like the man who attacked the congressional baseball practice, he’s very active on Facebook. His page is full of anti-Trump and anti-Republican ramblings. He even posted an Occupy Democrats Noam Chomsky meme calling the Republican Party quote: “the most dangerous organization in world history.”
Not all are like this, but why are so many on the left these days so angry and willing to resort to violence? All the talk the past several months has been on the danger posed by the violent right, but we are seeing a rise in the violent left that harkens back to the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Yesterday’s Weather Underground and Students for a Democratic Society are today’s ANTIFA and all the other radical left groups taking to the streets the past year.
On Saturday, the left-wing “Refuse Fascism” group kicked off demonstrations in nearly two dozen cities. Their demand is the removal of President Trump and Vice President Pence. They claim to continue protesting in the streets until that happens. Although turnout was low, the action sounds eerily similar to the Days of Rage in 1969. John Jacobs, a leader in both the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and Weather Underground, stood on the rubble of a police statue they had just bombed in ‘69 and compared their protests to “the fight against fascism in World War 2.” Now doesn’t that rhetoric sound familiar?
Weather Underground turned into a full-on domestic terror group. In 1970, police found in one of their hideouts 57 sticks of dynamite and four completed bombs. In 1975 they bombed the headquarters of the US State Department in Washington DC. Is today’s radical left going in this same direction? They’re using the same rhetoric and following a similar playbook as before. The violent left is evolving and growing. People are getting angrier and angrier. Even in small suburban neighborhoods in Kentucky.
Did you hear about "Obama Con"?
Some people go to Comic Con. Some flock to music festivals or biker conventions. Whatever floats your boat. But for the serious citizen – those who actually care about hope and change and health-food-in-school-vending-machines and other really important stuff like that – for those citizens, there is only one gathering worth spending so much time, effort, and money to attend: Obama Con.
Okay, it’s not really called Obama Con, but it will be in time as its stature, self-importance, and cultural relevance blossoms. And it will. How could it not? America’s unofficial royal couple, Barack and Michelle, invented it. And you know their ideas are what’s best for you.
It’s actually called the Obama Foundation Summit and it happened in Chicago. You haven’t heard of it? Well, this was its inaugural year. Obama Con is the convention that America didn’t even know it needed. Plus, it gets Barack and Michelle back on stage and in front of the cameras – finally. We’ve barely seen them since they left the White House, well, other than the daily photos of them vacationing in the Mediterranean and on Martha’s Vineyard. Fortunately, Obama Con managed to drag those two back into the spotlight.
There are so many activities to choose from at Obama Con. It’s like summer camp, well, a summer camp run by New Age-socialist-hippies. Actually, maybe summer camp is a bad comparison because camp has potential dangers – bug bites, poison ivy. No dangers at Obama Con. It’s a safe space on steroids. One attendee called it the “sanity bubble.”
Feeling stressed and uptight by all the baskets of deplorables back home? Check out the morning meditation and yoga sessions.
Need help figuring out how to navigate the horrors of Trumpian America? Obama Con’s got you covered with sessions like “The Adventure of Civility” and “Who Narrates the World?”
Need to articulate your hopes somewhere other than social media? Write them with colored chalk on the giant blackboard labeled: “I hope _____.” Good luck trying to come up with something better than the person who wrote, “I hope – my nephews can escape toxic masculinity.”
There were also vital educational sessions, led by people like America’s preeminent historian, Lin Manuel Miranda.
But the biggest magic happens in the small, completely organic, totally unplanned moments when you’re sitting in a yoga pose or listening to the rapper Common give a life-changing talk on “art and activism,” when suddenly, Barack himself enters the room from the back. Actually, his aura enters first, alerting attendees to the presence of greatness. Then someone near the back glimpses him and squeals, and then a tidal wave of cheers rolls across the room and engulfs Barack. He beams, for the people still need him.
And for one blissful moment, you feel the hope-iest and change-iest you’ve ever felt, you forget the hellhole of Trump’s America that lurks outside the swank Marriott hotel, and for that moment all is right – make that Left – in the world.