Photo from AOL News
Nine people are dead; five more are wounded, two critically. Those aren’t the numbers we went to hear this holiday season–we’d much prefer to count down the days until Christmas, measure cups of varying ingredients to bake Christmas goodies, or see how many presents are ours under the tree. Yet the merry atmosphere of holiday goodness was shattered by rounds of bullets coming from a gunmen who opened fire in a crowded mall a little less than three weeks before Christmas.
Commerce came to a halt at Westroads Mall in Omaha as the yet to be identified gunman started shooting at shoppers from the third floor balcony of Von Maur. The gunman was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the same area (Full story here).
What is up with these clearly mentally deranged individuals killing off random people before killing themselves? That’s what really gets me about these shooting incidents–they’re so senseless, but then the shoot goes and offs himself. It seems rather ludicrous. If someone wants to commit suicide, why must they destroy the lives of other innocents at the same time? If they want to make their death a big news event, why don’t they jump off the Empire State Building? When someone dies, usually people suffer.
But when someone chooses to rip life from others, we all suffer. I just pray to God there aren’t any copy cat shooters out there who are feeling depressed about the holidays that decide to do the same thing. And I pray for the families that are in shock tonight, perhaps staring at the presents they already bought for the deceased. I pray for the families sitting in the hospitals by their loved ones, praying that their husband or sister or son or grandmother will pull through. I also think of the family of the shooter, who perhaps needs the most grace of all.
And I think of the many tears that will fall this holiday season, as so many laugh and celebrate. Yet this is what baby Jesus had to come, to save us from our madness.