The Pharisees were very strict on the letter of the law. They had rules about how far one could walk on the Sabbath Day, for example. I think sometimes I need to be careful that I’m not Pharisaic in my judgment of others.
On the other hand, I think there are commandments that are very clear. They don’t leave room for wiggle room. Some people keep these commandments, and others don’t; there is no gray area. For example, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” is pretty straight forward and clear.
When you look at commandments like, “Six days shalt thou labor”, and how one honors the Sabbath day, that’s where God has given us a bit more agency as to how we choose to honor it. I am amazed at how many businesses are open on Sunday in the Utah and Salt Lake Valleys. I’m amazed when I see people leave church (any church) on Sunday and then head to their favorite restaurant. But, again, it’s up to us to decide how we honor the Sabbath, and up to God to decide whether we reap the blessings.
As a society and nation, I see many of our laws becoming authoritarian (like Pharisaic laws). After the events of the weekend, I see people commenting that we should outlaw this, or that. Quite frankly, I don’t think outlawing anything will stop crazy people from doing crazy things. I don’t see an easy answer.
As to blame, I don’t see a simple answer there either. I read the news stories about how the perpetrator was a loner, his dad had died, and so forth, but there are a lot of loners with deceased fathers who don’t go on a rampage killing people.
As to prevention, I don’t see a simple answer. I think there are things we can learn that might help curtail, or lessen the impact. (That said, one or 100 deaths, they are equally painful to the family members left behind to mourn.) Given how many times we’ve had shootings like this in schools, I’m in complete bewilderment as to why we don’t have armed personnel at schools. But, that in itself is not prevention, just a way to mitigate the escalation during an event. Punishment isn’t a deterrent either. As you’ll note, most, if not all, of these rampages end in the shooter taking their own life or going down in a shoot-out. Again, there’s no easy answer.
These events seem to be happening more often, and perhaps it is a sign of the times. We can only pray for protection. But, I for one, do not want to see authoritarian laws banning guns because I don’t see that as any deterrent. I don’t want to see us turn into a police state with armed guards at every corner, watching every move we make. I’d rather see some armed citizen pull out a pistol and return fire if something like this were to happen. I don’t know if such an event would lessen the impact, but I think there is honor in defending the innocent. Who am I to say what would be better? Act like sitting ducks? Or, take up arms and be ready to defend oneself?
There’s no easy answer, as I’ve said. I know God waits with open, loving arms for those slain. For those left to mourn, I pray they find peace and solace in knowing all will be well with God.
We fed the elders tonight. Dinner was a little on the festive side – roast chicken, sweet potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, kale with cherries, etc.