After the Carnage, What’s the Answer?

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted August 05, 2019

In a span of less than 24 hours, residents of two cities some 1,500 miles apart had to confront the same kind of tragedy: mass shootings at the hands of young men. One shooter was killed by police; the other was taken into custody.

The killing of 20 people in El Paso, Texas, and nine others in Dayton, Ohio, along with the wounding of dozens, sparked outrage. So-called “mass shootings” have shaken America in recent years and are a part of the sharp divisions seen in our society. These incidents occurred less than a week after a gunman cut a hole in a fence and attacked guests at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, killing three and wounding 15 before taking his own life.

In the Texas shooting, the assailant had reportedly posted a racist document online minutes before the shooting began. However, “El Paso police chief Greg Allen said investigators still need to validate whether a so-called ‘manifesto’ circulating online belongs to” him.

The Ohio gunman, according to a report in The Washington Times, was “a pro-Satan ‘leftist’ who wanted Joe Biden’s generation to die off, hated President Trump and law enforcement, and hoped to vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president.” Police killed the assailant during the Dayton incident, a move credited with saving hundreds of lives.

In Ohio and Texas, one message from officials is virtually identical: The shootings are not what usually happens in these communities. The entertainment district in Dayton where the shooter opened fire is “very safe,” officials said. In El Paso, pains were taken to point out that the alleged killer was not a local resident, but instead traveled nine hours from a Dallas suburb to commit this sickening act.

“It’s Pure Evil”

“Nobody prepares for this,” El Paso mayor Dee Margo told Fox News Sunday. Margo said the shooter “was deranged; he was evil. I can assure you that I am convinced that no one from El Paso would have done this. It’s not our nature; it’s not our culture. … It’s pure evil as far as I can characterize it.”



Speaking to reporters before returning to Washington from a vacation in New Jersey, U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration had quietly taken steps to counter the epidemic of mass shootings. “We have done much more than most administrations, not talked about very much, but we have done actually a lot,” ABC News quoted Trump as saying. “But perhaps more has to be done.”

The president then noted another aspect behind these events: “This is also a mental illness, if you look at both of these cases. These are really people that are very seriously mentally ill,” he told reporters.

Deranged and dangerous viewpoints culminating in mass violence is not limited to the United States, of course. Some five months ago, worshipers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, were murdered by a gun-wielding attacker who posted his own manifesto of hate online.

Why the explosion of mass violence now? What is behind it? And what is the ultimate solution to this growing crime wave?

It is almost impossible to predict when and where someone is going to commit such a shooting. A man in Lubbock, Texas, who told his grandmother of his recent purchase of an AK-47 rifle and his plans to “shoot up a hotel,” was arrested on federal gun charges, preventing him from carrying out his violent mission.

But so often, those who commit these acts of mayhem are either unknown in their communities or are just regarded as quiet “loners” who go about their daily lives. Once an identity is revealed, neighbors, friends, and co-workers are often stunned to discover just who the assailant is—often noting how “ordinary” the person seemed.


What’s Behind These Attacks … And What’s Next?

While predicting such attacks is nearly impossible, it’s fair to say that today’s social climate, with the internet and especially social media being used to “radicalize” so many, has played some role in the dramatic rise of such incidents. Others believe the easy availability of high-capacity weaponry is perhaps another factor; even in states, such as California, with tight gun laws.

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 24, Jesus lists a number of signs that would indicate His return was near. Among these is the fact that “lawlessness will abound” at the time of the end, and indeed, we are in an age of violence and lawlessness practically never before seen in human history.

Ancient Pompeii, the Italian city buried under tons of volcanic lava in AD 79, had its share of sin and lawless behavior. Pastor Joe Crews, the first speaker for Amazing Facts, wrote about it and its implications in The Last Night on Earth, now available online. It will challenge your thinking about how important it is to be in good standing with God and what happens when a person—or a society—is out of such fellowship.

Pastor Doug Batchelor amplifies the message contained in Matthew 24 with a helpful, encouraging video Bible study titled “Last Day Events.” And if you’re anxious to know what will follow the tribulation soon to come upon this world, click to read our Bible lesson, “1,000 Years of Peace.” It’ll do your heart some good.

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