CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On the Las Vegas Shooting

Oct 3, 2017

In one sense there is nothing to say here – certainly nothing really new or insightful or all that helpful. The best thing is to keep praying for everyone involved. So that at least I can encourage all of you to do. But for good or ill, life goes on, and millions of words have already been offered on this. We must seek to make at least some sense about all this. So let me say a few words about various aspects of this horrific terror attack.

Quick facts

The basics of this shooting are now well-known: Retired 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a 22,000-strong crowd at the end of an outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada from his Mandalay Bay Hotel room. Around 60 are dead and around 530 are injured after this premeditated and carefully planned attack. He took his own life when his room was charged by police forces.

Authorities say that 23 firearms were recovered at the hotel and 19 at his home. He had been in a 2-bedroom hotel suite room for some four days. He hammered holes in two windows and shot at the crowd from the 32nd floor. He evidently was a high-stakes gambler and had big gambling debts, but at this stage any political or religious or ideological motivations are not clear.

But… see this: townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2017/10/02/isis-claims-responsibility-n2389557

Theodicy

The issue of why God allows tragedies and sufferings has been discussed for millennia. I have written plenty on this as well. The short answer is we do not know exactly why particular tragedies happen. The Christian believes that God is too wise to make a mistake, and too loving to be unkind.

But in a fallen world these sorts of things happen. A usual complaint offered by non-Christians – and some believers – is that God could have prevented this. Why didn’t he? Again, entire libraries have been devoted to such questions, but the Christian can say a few very brief things in reply.

Yes, God could intervene, and he likely has intervened often in many other such cases. We just do not know how exactly God interacts with the world he created and those he made in his image. To intervene every single time an evil act is about to happen is effectively to render all of us robots, not morally responsible human beings.

And the Christian knows how severe the sin problem is. Jesus made it perfectly clear that if we hate someone it is the same as murdering that person. So if the critic says God must intervene every time we seek to kill someone, he would have to intervene every time we hate someone as well.

Does the critic really want to become a mere automaton, with no genuine choice, where all bad thoughts and actions are nipped in the bud before they proceed? That is one way to eliminate evil and suffering, but it is also a good way to eliminate what it is to be human.

If justice is not done in this life, the believer knows that it will be fully done in the next. And we take heart in passages like Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Or as President Trump said in his speech on this tragedy (quoting Psalm 34:18): “Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve.”

But again, all this has been discussed millions of times before, and no new insight can here be found.

Politics

Already there are those seeking to get political mileage out of this. Obviously the gun control crowd weighed into this immediately (see more on this below). But various folks on the left have sought to score cheap political points and have used this to slam Trump, Republicans, and conservativism.

As but one nauseating example consider Hayley Geftman-Gold, the senior counsel for strategic transactions at the American television network CBS. She said this on Facebook: “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.” Thankfully it seems that CBS has since fired her.

Gun control

I will be brief here and I will offer this warning: for far too many folks this is a hot-button issue, and they will simply emote with knee-jerk reactions often bordering on the hysterical. There is a mountain of facts and data on the issue of gun control, and it is not my intention to rehash it all here.

A few quick truths: Over 80 million American gun owners use their firearms responsibly, safely, and legally. The military type weapons used by Paddock are effectively illegal in the US. Fully automatic weapons like this are so heavily regulated at both the State and Federal levels that it is exceedingly difficult for civilians to get them. They have basically been banned since 1986 for civilian use.

But until we learn much more about the terrorist, how he got his firearms, etc., it is difficult to properly debate this issue with any clarity. So those who want to yet again call for more gun control should just cool it for a few days. There is yet so much we do not know about this guy and what he did and how he did it.

Where and how were these weapons procured, etc? How did he make the modifications? He had no military background yet seemed to plan a perfect attack. It was well thought out and meticulously executed. How did all this come about? Where did he learn all these things? How did he manage to pull it off? Questions abound.

Indeed, there is so much about this incident that is so very strange that a number of articles have already appeared asking some very hard questions. Here are three of them – they are well worth reading:

www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-02-five-things-that-just-dont-add-up-about-the-las-vegas-mass-shooting.html
www.nationalreview.com/corner/452117/based-early-reports-las-vegas-shooting-very-very-strange
thefederalistpapers.org/us/theres-something-strange-las-vegas-shootings

So most comments sent here on the gun control debate will likely not be posted – not until I first write some lengthy and detailed articles on all this, looking at the legal, political and social complexities of this debate. It is far more complex than many people realise, and simply offering emotional reactions is not sufficient here.

The bigger picture

The real issue here is not guns. It is not really politics either. The real issue is ultimately spiritual, and until that issue is dealt with, all other remedies we offer and all the changes we come up with will be cosmetic at best. I like how Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in the US has just put it:

There will be calls for greater restrictions on guns and gun ownership. While the victims’ families try to pick up the pieces of their lives, the last thing they need is to be in the middle of a national gun rights debate. And is that really the solution anyway? The government can’t make us safer until it recognizes that the problem isn’t the instruments of violence — but the culture of it. The heart of the matter, as Dr. Ben Carson once said, is the matter of the heart. Gun control is merely dealing with the symptom. What about the real problem — the fact that we’ve gotten to a point in our “civil” society where people are seen as disposable? What has brought our country to a place where we no longer value human beings created in the image of God? A God, I might add, that some Americans are punished for even invoking.
Maybe it’s time we stepped back, as a nation, and considered what’s happened since we removed the Judeo-Christian foundation that anchored this country from its cradle. That knowledge is what teaches us that human beings are intrinsically valuable because they carry the image of God. Without it, people’s understanding of the worth of life is dramatically reduced, especially when it’s replaced with a view that human beings are the product of chance. If anything, last night should have shown more people what this survivor realized: there is a God, and finding Him is the most important thing we can do.

Conclusion

I finish where I began. All of us should now be praying for the many victims and their families and loved ones. This is so utterly tragic. We cannot know what horror and grief they are now experiencing. What happened was an evil act by an evil man.

He will face his Maker and His judge. But now so many people need the grace and comfort of a God who knows all about suffering – a God who even lost his own innocent son. It is to this God who suffers with us that we must commit ourselves to in such dark times.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

www.frc.org/updatearticle/20171002/concert-evil

[1497 words]

18 Responses to On the Las Vegas Shooting

  • And the average psychopath wannabe shooter who also aspires to “go out in a blaze of glory” will expect have his name light up the TV screens of America too. And everyone will hear every boring little detail of their lives and their motivation and their childhood and even what their neighbours thought of them.
    From obscurity to stardom in one afternoon.
    Surely, one would think it should have dawned on everyone by now that the media are well and truly part of the problem here. And since the media are hopelessly non-self-regulating, it is well past time now for (ahem), a new law.
    DO NOT PUBLICISE THE NAMES OF CRIMINALS. DO NOT MAKE THEM FAMOUS.

  • New Age author Cooper drops the bomb on this subject of school shootings:
    “Author’s note: I have found that these events [public shootings] have indeed happened all over the country. In every instance that I have investigated — the incident at the women’s school in Canada, the shopping center in Canada, the Stockton, California, massacre, and the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane — the shooters were all ex-mental patients or were current mental patients who were all on the drug PROZAC! This drug, when taken in certain doses, increases the serotonin level in the patient, causing extreme violence. Couple that with a posthypnotic suggestion or control through an electronic brain implant or microwave or E.L.F. Intrusion, and you get mass murder …” [Cooper, ‘Behold a Pale Horse’ p. 225] sourced from Cutting Edge Ministries today.

  • Excellent article, Bill. The thing that strikes me most about what is said above is the hateful comment by Hayley Geftman-Gold you mentioned. The most horrifying thing is that this is not just about the twisted hatred of one (or more) killers in a hotel room, but this tip of the iceberg that hints at the ocean of darkness now hiding below the surface in our modern day world…’ordinary’ people going about their lives who would subtly applaud the slaughter because their politics disagree. It seems that this has become our world and our experience and we will have to know what we believe and be prepared for what is not just coming but already here. Jesus promised that He would be with us even til the end of the age.

  • Thanks Bill.

    As David Wilkinson once preached, “We have removed God from the schools and replaced Him with metal detectors.”

    If we do not deal with the conscience, and if there is no proper fear of God in the hearts of men, unfortunately tragedies like this are a consequence.

    David Clay
    Melbourne

  • The shooter can be seen wearing all pink, like the “Bash Back” Trans Antifa pink panthers outfit and has been seen in Anti-Trump Antifa protests wearing such attire.
    Antifa literature was found in his hotel room / sniper’s nest. The weaponized left has been unleashed. Also the official story is scary, nobody know how or where he got his money to be a regular high roller in the casino’s.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCSKGqAvDw8

  • Amen. Come Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Bill, I’m completely unsure about this guys motives, we have no evidence about what this guys motives were .Some are saying that this guy could of been another anti trump guy since he targeted a place where there most likely were a lot of conservatives. Not to mention, with how much our media here hates Trump and wants to make both him and trump supporters out to be white supremacists, if he was a trump lover, the news would of reported it by now. I just find it hard to believe this had anything to do with gambling. There’s something missing from it. If I’m wrong later then fine.

  • I believe it is worth highlighting the compassion Jesus verbalized in Matthew 23:37 – 39 in dark times like this.

    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

    Did every Jew not recognize that their Messiah had come? Did every Jew rebelliously refuse to follow their only Messiah when he walked this world? Did every Jew refuse to follow Jesus’ Great Commission after His resurrection? The answer every time is no even if for some the answer is yes which brings us to AD70 when the suffering of all the Jews in Jerusalem was terrible – 1.1million were slaughtered once the Romans broke into the city and 100,000 were carried away into slavery. It is hard to know if every one of those killed or captured truly deserved that judgement (I would be reluctant to be certain that every individual was) but Jesus, in advance, still longs to gather all their children under his wings, even if they are not willing.

    Despite our fallen nature, I believe God would still say “How often I wanted to gather your children together” in times of dreadful suffering, regardless of the individual’s standing before God that suffers in these terrible events, be it AD70 in Jerusalem or AD2017 in Las Vegas. Today is the day of repentance, forgiveness and salvation.

  • How anyone can mange to lug 10 suitcases of guns and explosives into a hotel room without raising suspicion is beyond me. There is also an interview with a woman who witnessed another woman in the concert crowd who was escorted out of the venue about an hour before the shooting for saying that there would be a lot of people killed here (at the venue) later tonight.
    But I think the hypocrisy of the MSM is palpable. If it were an Islamist, it would be “life goes on- don’t let this effect us or they’ll win”. But seeing there’s mileage to be made against the 2nd Amendment repeal lobby, its “we won’t make this go away until we’ve got full political mileage out of it’
    Evil is evil no matter who does it.

  • There is a worldwide search for motive of the killer. Papers are screaming “motive, motive, motive?!” And no cogent answers coming in. I am confident that there will be no answer here. The reality is that a crazy guy’s mind suddenly got fastened on an idea to do something crazy in his 64 years of age, something, oh boy, very crazy, so that it will, hopefully, reverberate for generations, because life is useless anyway… There are such potential killers and trouble makers all around us, but most of them are silent, so far. The more society is departing from the living God, the more such characters are mushrooming in most unexpected places to do what they wish to do. And yes, the Lord seems to be removing His precious cover at times and allows this to happen. Humans must simply return with an open heart to their Maker. This is the key and there is no other super logical answer to atrocities. Motive, whether present or absent, real or false, Islam or non-Islam, is a mere tool to execute the atrocity, not its real cause. God through Jesus Christ in the answer.

  • Would it be the case that Antifa and IS/Da-Esh have “intersecting interests” – especially the fall of what some call “The Great Satan” and others call “American Capitalist Imperialism” aka “USA”?

    Neither Antifa nor IS have real answers to the malaise currently besetting Western culture – What is to come “after the revolution” – probably something surprisingly like what the Alt-Right have in mind!…

    Our communal flight from The Crucified can only cast us all into the uninhibited lust and violence of a grasping, wild open-armed Bacchus.

  • Peter Hitchens reports a recent Daily Mail article says the gunman had recently been prescribed Diazepam [ News report at: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4947276/Stephen-Paddock-prescribed-Valium-Vegas-massacre.html ]. Peter discusses known side-effects of Diazepam in his blog at: hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2017/10/las-vegas-mass-killer-prescribed-diazepam.html .

    Modern pharmaceutics are sometimes like the proverbial sledgehammer-for-cracking-a-walnut… What therapeutic effects are “picked up on the merry-go-round” you may “lose on the hurdy-gurdy”.

  • One can’t help but wonder why this happened in Las Vegas. It’s the casino capital of the world. Could it be that protection (at least in part) was removed from it because of the city’s economic dependence on the gambling industry?

    There are certainly some examples of heroic acts to save lives. Many more lives could have been lost. There are reports that a bullet hit a woman’s iPhone and that saved her life.

  • Why?
    Maybe this?
    A propaganda video by ISIS that emerged in May called for a lone wolf attack on the Vegas Strip. Police and counter-terrorism officials in Las Vegas were on high alert after the chilling 44-minute video emerged from the terror group urging followers to strike.
    While it has not been confirmed that the attack on Vegas – which left 54 people dead and a hundreds more injured – are related, the video could have been a call to arms for a potential jihadst.

  • I learned today that Stephen Paddock was on Valium long term use of which can be related to violent, irrational behaviour. This is not the first case of an American shooter being under the influence of brain-bending pharmaceutical drugs. Such influence is never reported by the media.

  • Valium can cause sudden short term violent responses. This was a instantaneous reaction, it was a long-term carefully planned action- unlikely to be cause directly by Valium. There is news out in the independent media that he was recruited by ISIS over 6 months ago.

  • I have been so busy all week that I could only get to this now. You say that there is nothing new or insightful regarding the Las Vegas shooting. I tell you something that is insightful – that at this stage in US and world history, we have one political party (the Democrats) that is completely given over to the diabolic and that seeks to rule and govern the US. That is the real tragedy, and I’m in no way lessening the horror of what took place last Sunday in Vegas. The Democratic party – an avowed enemy of God, Christ, the cross, Christianity, Western Civilisation and all that is true, good and beautiful – wants to take away all law abiding citizens guns, yet are wholeheartedly for the slaughter of innocent babies at any stage, for sodomite marriage and the complete eradication of Christianity from the public square. How utterly demonically hypocritical. You had utter reprobates and haters of God and Christianity such as Elizabeth Warren (a potential presidential contender) mouthing blasphemies after the shooting, saying prayer was not enough to solve such problems. I utterly weep at the decrepit state of the US that we have now got to this stage where we have such reprobates seeking to rule over us.

    Many writers are saying that the US is currently in the state of a second cold civil war due to the extreme cultural and social division in the US. And that civil war is only “cold” for the moment. If this wicked party ever gets back into power (I shudder at the thought), then you will see an all-out civil war that will make the casualties of the first civil war (500-700 thousand dead) look like a drop in the ocean. Mark my words.

    Yes, what that shooter did in Vegas was very wicked and he has gone to his eternal judgement. But the greater wickedness and the much greater tragedy are those in the Democrat party (and the entire deranged, insane and unhinged left) who seek to implement their wicked, ungodly policies over the nation “Oh, that the thou would slay the wicked, O God! And that men of blood would depart from thee, who lift themselves up against thee for evil! Do I not hate them that hate thee, O Lord? And do I not loathe them that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies”.

  • Thanks James. I speak to the imprecatory psalms – of which you quote one – here:

    billmuehlenberg.com/2012/02/02/the-imprecatory-psalms-part-one/

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