As I stopped by the church office on my way to music practice tonight, the church secretary showed me a news story that had popped up on her computer. A 19 year old man wrote a suicide note to his family, tell them he was going out in style. He went to the Westroads Mall, the largest mall in the state of Nebraska and began shooting. There are 8 others dead, plus 4 or 5 who were wounded, beside the shooter, who turned the gun on himself.
We were just in Omaha yesterday. We were across the street at another store, but you can see the mall once you step outside. We have customers that live just a couple blocks from the mall where this happened. What a tragedy! I am saddened for many reasons:
1. That this young man felt that he had nothing to live for, that life wasn't worth continuing. It reminds us that there is a lot of witnessing that we should be doing. That we might share the words of life with those that are hurting.
2. That so many innocent victims were killed or injured. My heart goes out to their loved ones left behind. The advent of our Lord is such a time of joyful anticipation, and each year this memory will be strong in their minds as they look forward to the coming of our Lord.
3. That our culture glorifies violence and sensationalism so much, that a person would feel that this is how he needed to end his life, to become famous for something...a sad commentary on what our culture has come to indeed.
My prayers go out the victims/families and of course the young man's family. They must be feeling a tremendous amount of grief (and even guilt - though they are not guilty of anything, I am sure this tragedy will make them feel guilty with the suffering and loss of life that accompanied it). I pray that God will comfort all those involved in their time of need. I pray for all the healing that will need to come in the days, weeks and months ahead.