I’m Trying to Get Through This Life Without Killing Anybody.
Violence got a little too close to our family the other day. My daughter was driving home from our apartment up to the house where she lives. She was driving through the neighborhood where she grew up and had never experienced any violence first hand. Suddenly the car in front of her seemed to move over to the left, closer to the sidewalk. She saw the flashes and heard the gunshots as someone inside the car fired at a young man on the sidewalk, hitting him several times. My daughter pulled up, got out of the car and went over to the man on the ground. A lady from a house nearby ran out and my daughter told her to call 911 as she tried to put pressure on the man’s wounds to stop the bleeding. She then called 911 herself. Waiting on the police she held the man’s hand. Fortunately the ambulance arrived quickly and he was carried off still alive with multiple gunshot wounds. Later as the police were investigating the crime scene several young women told the police that when they heard the gunshots they locked themselves in their bathroom. My daughter has been struggling with the emotions that have lingered from the event, but I couldn’t be prouder of her, and very thankful to God that the shooter kept on going. We have been struggling in our city with a tit for tat gang war, where almost every week someone from the blue side gets shot, and then the next week someone from the red side gets shot in retaliation. Last week someone shot a policeman as he responded to a call. The paper said the shooter turned himself in the next day. He had already received two different suspended sentences for carrying a weapon as a convicted felon. Some judge had convicted him of carrying a weapon as a felon, and let him go, twice! Thankfully the officer did not die. This is not my war. I can move and find some better neighborhood, although the one I live in is not really that bad, but this could be sign of deterioration and a trend. Now, if my daughter has been shot I suppose I might make it my war, and that would not be good at all. I don’t even like to think of the temptation such anger would bring me. So far it seems citizens dismiss this as just ghetto stuff, the inner city boiling, and maybe the police have to deal with it but not the rest of us middle class and mostly white folks. It is usually just a part of the news, so common and frequent no one really pays attention any more. Usually just an irritating sound in the background. I refuse to accept gunfire around my daughter as background music. I hesitate to call for more law, as it seems that inevitably somebody is going to be beaten or shot by the police, and it will be caught on video and seen to be unjust and brutal. I do not call for brutality but I do call for more law, but it should be justly and wisely applied. I call for more love, aggressively and intentionally brought upon the perpetrators so they can hear the Gospel, and have a chance at repentance and rebirth. I call for law that is consistent and efficient, that doesn’t play around for months, years, and the ins and outs of plea bargains, suspended sentences, and dropped charges. I call for law and courts, and law officers, that are not cruel or brutal or unjust, but are good at what they do. I call for the Church to come where the sin and suffering happen to be. As a preacher I call for morality, justice, and peace. As a Christian I act for the spread of the Gospel that changes lives, that loves the wicked, that comforts the wounded. I’m convinced being a Christian in this world does not mean I just sit back and accept the destruction of our culture and act as a medic to its victims, which is what those who don’t believe in absolutes about morality wish for us. The restraint of evil must go hand in hand with a love for sinners and mercy to victims.