A Reflection on the Orlando Nightclub Shooting

NOTE: The views expressed on Prison Lectionary are those of the individual author of each post and do not necessarily reflect the views of the administrators of Prison Lectionary.

by Kwame Toure Kagale

“There is an illusion of central position, justifying one’s own purposes as right and everybody else’s as wrong and providing a proper degree of paranoia. Righteous ends, thus approved, absolve of guilt the most violent means.” – Henri Amiel –

“Kill ’em With Kindness”

I am an inmate in a Virginia correctional facility and I have been in prison for the better part of a quarter of a century and I am shocked by the level of senseless violence that has been occurring in this country lately. Before I came to prison events like the one that took place at Pulse in Orlando, Florida the site of this nation’s worst mass shooting to date was almost unheard of. But now these incidents are so commonplace the main issue of them is often overlooked as we debate the reasons of how such crimes are committed in the first place. And it will not be until we do address what makes a person commit mass shootings will we ever hope to prevent tragedies such as this from ever happening again.

As Christians we are taught to turn first to Jesus who endured the agony of the cross during times of distress because the Bible tells us, “My comfort in my sufferings is this: your promise preserves my life.” – Psalm 119:50 NIV – But what do we do after this? Do we just mourn and comfort each other through this latest example of “man’s inhumanity towards man” and then return back to our normal lives where mass shootings and bombings have become normal for us? I think not because if we truly want to prevent these things from happening again then the change we want to see in the world must begin with us by speaking love and peace to anyone who doesn’t believe that all life is not sacred regardless of a person’s race, gender, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.
I was watching a late night comedian on TBS named Samantha Bee give her take on the shooting in Orlando say that (and I am paraphrasing; if you missed it then I highly recommend you Google it) all of us who call ourselves Christians can no longer afford to let these domestic acts of terrorism like the one that happened in Orlando to just end in our prayers. Nor can we remain silent and inactive on these issues any longer and merely offer our supplications that things will get better and that events like these will never happen again no matter how heartfelt are ineffective by themselves. I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment.

James the half brother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said it best when he wrote the words, “Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead.” – James 2:17 NIV – Those of us who refer to ourselves as followers of Christ cannot just keep voicing our outrage over these horrific events while at the same time doing nothing about preventing them from happening again. In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything …” and the time for us to take action about these massacres is now! While it has been determined that the person who committed the shooting in Orlando was a individual extremist who was affected by very extremist views, the deeper issue that is often overlooked by such people who commit these horrendous acts of terror against us is how GOD no matter what name you may use to refer to Him as being may hate the sin, but he still loves the sinner.

While it is true that we live in an increasingly divided and polarized society made even more so every day by this year’s presidential election because more often than not these individuals who commit these heinous acts of brutality against us are the fruit of the hate they so often feel directed towards them. As Christians the burden is on us as well because doesn’t the Bible tell us we are to love or enemies? (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV)  Many people would like to use what happen in Orlando as a starting point to begin the talks of gun control and to blame what happened at Pulse and the countless other mass shootings in the U.S. on the easy accessibility of guns in our country. However, I believe that focusing on “the how” these crimes are committed is just scratching the surface of the real problem of “why” these individuals are committing these crimes. I strongly believe that when we do begin to address that issue as a nation and as a body of believers then maybe next time someone who might be feeling intolerant of another person’s lifestyle or beliefs will decide to kill ’em with kindness instead of with a gun.

Kwame Toure Kagale

– My heart and prayers goes out to everyone who was affected by this tragedy –

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