No, ‘yes, but’s allowed. Meaning, no ‘Yes but they did this, or yes but they did that.’.
I have been mulling around thoughts inside my head about the epidemic of mass shootings in America. Should I add my voice to the cacophony of voices already shouting for guns and blood? I decided I wanted to talk about something I am just not seeing out there anywhere else… mercy. The unpopular view point of mercy for the alleged shooters.
While in junior high school, I had a wonderful social studies teacher, Hank Waller. He always had a smile on his face. He was the embodiment of jovial. During my years there, he had surgery on his big toe. I think it was to remove an in grown nail. He would hobble around the halls in between classes. One day, one of the other kids in my grade accidentally opened a door on Mr. Waller’s toe. THE toe. Mr. Waller was so gracious about it. The boy felt terrible. He talked about it for days. Hank Waller was just the kind of man who was so kind you would be sad to cause him pain.
One day, August 21 1987 (two years after I graduated from high school) he killed his family, including his grandson and then killed himself.
Here is a write up about it from his obituary page.
Aug. 21, 1987
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ A retired schoolteacher upset over family troubles and still suffering the effects of a stroke killed his wife, daughter and grandson, then shot himself to death, authorities said.
Colorado Springs Police Department spokesman Lt. Joe Vernier said Henry Waller, 56, left ”a classic death note.”
Ed Beck, pastor of Sunrise United Methodist Church, where the Wallers were active members, said Henry Waller was ”devastated” by his daughter’s recent marital troubles and had suffered from stress and bouts of paranoia since he suffered a stroke three years ago.
”He acted out that which he feared the most on those he moved the most,” Beck said.
Olla Mae Waller, 54, was apparently strangled, while daughter Lucinda Joan Zupan, 30, and grandson Brandon Zupan, 7, died of gunshot wounds to the head, Vernier said.
Mrs. Waller had multiple sclerosis and was usually confined to a wheelchair.
Waller’s fatal gunshot wound apparently was self-inflicted, authorities said. He was holding his dead grandson in his left arm and a .357 revolver in his right hand, Vernier said.
Vernier said a note found in Waller’s hand gave instructions on his will and said he was ”feeling stress from a family situation.” A second note ”leads police to believe all three murders were planned,” Vernier said.
The killings occurred Thursday as Lucinda Zupan, a registered nurse, came to her parents’ home to drop off her son before she went to work at St. Francis Hospital.
A neighbor, Margaret Mestas, said shortly after the Zupans arrived she heard what she thought were three firecrackers.
Authorities said a caller to the emergency police number, 911, reported a woman’s voice saying ”What do you want from me?” outside the apartment where the shots were fired.
The Wallers frequently baby-sat Brandon, their only grandchild, said Mestas. ”They loved him very much, and he loved them very much. They were worried that if a divorce would come, it would affect his upbringing.”
Mrs. Zupan was separated from her husband, Robert Zupan, 31, a radiology technician at Memorial Hospital here.
I believe illness, surgery and medication can have great, negative effects on people. Yes, even to the point of murder/suicide. I also believe that as Americans eat more chemically processed foods, take any medication prescribed by their physician without first doing their own research and making an INFORMED decision instead of blindly trusting anyone in a white coat, and have multiple surgeries (anesthesia messes up your mind) we are going to see more and more violent behavior. These were early days. Hindsight is 20/20 vision. How easy it is to condemn the past as we look at it from the lens of the future.
How well are you really feeding yourself and your children? I’m not even talking about organic food right now. I am talking about eggs and bacon for breakfast and not something you pop into a toaster or buy at a drive-thru. Is your kid’s lunch full of chemicals, sugar, and dyes? How many prescriptions are you and your kids taking? How often do you and your kids get out in the sunshine and fresh sir? Look around you. If you are doing ok, find someone who is not and find out how you can help them out. You do not need to volunteer at a charity to make a difference. Make friends with shut-ins and the elderly. Offer to take someone to an appointment, or make them dinner and take it over once and a while.
Who knows what would have happened had, Hank Waller and his family either reached out or had been contacted to see what they needed? Hank Waller’s grandson would be 38 this year if he had lived.
If, Hank Waller had been in his right mind, he would never have even entertained the thought of killing his family. He is just as much a victim in this tragedy as his family.
It can be difficult to see perpetrators of such tragic events as being victims. It is so easy to judge people. No one should be allowed to fester is despair to the point of such tragic events. It is easy to feel sorry for those who died, and their grieving family members. Even the bible points out the obvious to us when we are told it is easy to love friends. Even those who hate God love those who love them.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? …
I struggle with this. I wanted to make sure you k now I struggle with this and that I am not sitting on my golden throne of condemnation shaking my fist at all of those people who can’t get-it-together. No. I struggle. My struggle is not with the shooters, I truly am sorry if that offends you. There are other things going on in America and around the world that I find upsetting. Other things that I must regularly take to the Lord in prayer.
Pray for those who are still living who have committed these terrible acts that they would repent and the Lord would forgive them because they too can have a place in heaven for all eternity right next to the person they killed. Yes. They. Can.
Pray for the victims of the shootings. Who knows if they believed in God? Who knows where they stood with God? Just because a person dies horrifically, or their life is cut short (says you- could very well have been part of God’s plan that they died the way they died. We don’t know.) does not guarantee them an automatic pass into heaven. If a victim of a shooting was a Christian who had fallen away and had not had a chance to get things in order before they died, they could be left out of heaven while their murderer makes it inside; if he repents and seeks forgiveness.
There are stories on the Internet of how some fathers want to beat up the shooter. I get it. Some who read that may agree and even feel like the father is justified in wanting revenge. He is not. I am not a Christian of Hollywood where everything worldly is ‘ok’ and the bible is messed up. Being a Christian is hard. It is hard because it is supposed to be unlike the world. The world says to be unforgiving and vengeful. The bible tells us vengeance belongs to God. Bitterness, anger, vengeance, spite, hate, judgement, condemnation, and other things pushed by the world as normal behavior are madness because they go against what God teaches us in His word.
Are you mad, or are you a saint?