Before last Sunday night, not many people knew his name. He was like almost all of us, living his life in relative anonymity. Most citizens of the United States live daily going about our work, church and family activities, recreation, and whatever else we do within a fairly small circle of loved ones, friends, and acquaintances. Until last Sunday night with his deadly rampage in Las Vegas, not many people ever heard of Stephen Paddock. Now people all over the world have heard his name because he has committed one of the most terrible crimes in American history. The latest count of victims includes 58 killed and 489 injured.
It is heartbreaking to see the pictures of those killed and to read the descriptions of their lives published on the Internet. Thousands and thousands of family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors are suffering over the senseless deaths of their loved ones. Almost all of us have some sense of shock, disbelief, anger, frustration, and even insecurity. What in the world is happening in our country? How do people get to the point that they think taking the lives of others is somehow a solution to their own problems?
This event has increased the calls for stricter gun control in America. Those voices will probably become louder in the days ahead. There is no question in my mind that gun control is neither the issue nor is it the answer to end or minimize such terrible events. If people are determined to do violence to others then there are many ways it can be done without guns. Examples of other monstrous crimes in America include the truck bombing of the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and the pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon. Even in countries with strict gun control laws there are awful events like the bomb attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, and the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France.
The issue is this: Why are people willing to commit such horrible crimes against their fellow hu- man beings? Some do it because of twisted religious faith. Some do it because they have a serious mental illness. Some do it because they have reached a point of despair and want to take their pain out on others. Some may do it because they know it will give them notoriety, even though it is one of infamy and disgrace.
While it may sound simplistic, the solution is Jesus and true Christian faith. People may wonder how that could help. Consider just this one verse from Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” A person whose heart and mind is transformed by God would not even consider doing such evil deeds. Let us pray for our nation and for people to turn to the Lord.