This weekend’s murderous rampages in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that claimed a total of 31 lives, join an ever-growing list of incidents of mass violence in America.
Whenever horror of this magnitude occurs our focus almost always turns to motive. Although it’s impossible to make sense of the inexplicable, we still want to know what’s behind the evil.
For these two separate tragedies, less than 24 hours apart, the early evidence seems clear both murderers were driven by hatred.
In Texas, the killer specifically targeted Hispanics, issuing a “manifesto” that suggested he felt threatened by immigrants, in addition to overpopulation and climate concerns.
In Ohio, media reports indicate the perpetrator was an avowed socialist and Satanist who supported Antifa, a domestic terrorist group.
In both cases, the killers were angry, unstable young men – unanchored and unhinged individuals who saw life as disposable. Undoubtedly, further background investigations will reveal other factors contributing to their maniacal and wicked outbursts.
Increasingly, the lonely, angry male is the common denominator in these types of attacks. Disconnected from both society and reality, almost always void of true, pure faith – these individuals seek a twisted sense of significance by becoming more violent than the latest murderer. Family breakdown is also frequently a factor. A high percentage of these individuals are missing the presence of a loving father in their lives.
I am not a psychologist or a trained theologian, but as the world grows increasingly secular, lauding and lionizing violence in entertainment, not to mention cheapening the sanctity of life and attempting to normalize even infanticide, it’s no wonder we’re suffering an increase in these outbursts of pure evil.
As we read in Proverbs, “Where there is no revelation of God the people are unrestrained. But happy is he who keeps the law” (29:18).
Clearly, restraint was absent in Texas and Ohio on Saturday and Sunday. From what we can tell, these individuals were without hope – and hatred takes quick root in desperate people.
Let’s face it. There is plenty of pain in the world. Just look around at all the people in your circle suffering physically, psychologically and spiritually. Fortunately, most people don’t harm others to feed the darkness in their hearts, but some act out – as we saw in Texas and Ohio this past weekend.
As I’ve said in the past, ours is a sick culture overflowing with crumbling families and an abandonment of basic values and decency.
What’s the solution?
From my perspective, the only solution to our current crisis is spiritual revival.
Secularists decry such a statement, but it was John Adams who famously noted, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Yet powerful forces in our culture are more intent than ever on removing God from the public square. As they do, the void is filled by the increasing chaos we’re witnessing in our society.
Please join me in prayer, won’t you? Please pray for the families in Ohio and Texas whose lives have been turned upside down by this tragedy. Please pray for the first responders and grief counselors in those areas who are overwhelmed both physically and emotionally.
Finally, please pray for revival! It was the late pastor Dr. Adrian Rogers, a former Focus on the Family board member, who once remarked, “God has always sent revival in the darkest days.”
May the Lord have mercy on those hurting and grieving. Indeed, He is “close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).