If anyone was unaware of events last Saturday in Tucson, Arizona (in the US), I might just believe it if they told me they were from another planet. The 22-year old, Jared Lee Loughner, opened fire on a public setting in the city of Tucson, killing 6 people (including Federal Judge John Roll) and wounding another 14 (including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords).
No doubt such was a tragic event. It is events like these that make me lean towards doing away with laws that allow private citizens to own guns. I am not one to passionately picket for this, and I know that murders will still take place even if guns were not available to private citizens, also being aware that more people are responsible with guns than aren’t. So that is why I say I lean towards outlawing such. Also, I might be drawn a bit to a passage in Isaiah 2:2-4, especially vs4).
But I am really not here to share thoughts on gun prohibition.
My struggle some 5 days following the Tucson shooting is related to the struggles I had with the Qur’an burning, which almost took place back in September of this past year. This struggle, maybe even frustration, has to do with the media and how they are approaching all of this.
First off, I have no problem with television, media, internet, etc. It is a grey (gray) issue, neither black or white in and of itself. As the famous television journalist, Tom Brokaw, once said: ‘What or who was blamed for the flaws of the world before television. It has become a handy, all-purpose scapegoat.’
So I am not anti-media, hence I have a blog.
But I am deeply saddened by the way the media has gone about ‘investigating’ the life of Jared Loughner. It is all covered by the sentiments towards those killed and wounded, of which I, too, cannot imagine what these families are going through right now. But my stomach rolls over within me for how the media is now approaching Loughner and his family.
All of sudden, the experts of the journalism world understand Jared Loughner. Really – all of a sudden. They purport to know him inside and out. They know exactly what he was thinking, his emotions, his problems, his turmoils. His ‘inner-demons’, as some may say. These psychologists and other related analysts simply know EVERYTHING. Again – all of a sudden. And they are splattering it across the newspapers, tv’s and internet.
Simply stated, you do not learn about someone by reading a book, not even fully by reading their journal. People are relational at their core (you know, being made in the image of God). You have to talk with them, which involves listening to them. You have to eat with them, laugh with them, cry with them, argue with them, struggle with them. And not one of these ‘experts’ have done this, and they probably wouldn’t be interested in doing such outside of a pre-programmed interview to up the ratings.
Listen. Please know that I am not trying to justify anything that Loughner did. Not one bit.
But I cannot deny that, just as the compassion of God is stirred in me towards the victims of the Tucson shooting, so are they stirred in me towards Loughner and his family. Stirred in a different way. But nonetheless stirred.
I am thinking that Loughner and his family are the ones to which Jesus came to announce good news. The Son of God said himself, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick…For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners’ (Matt 9:12-13). And by quoting vs12 about the sick, I am not insinuating that Loughner needs to simply be mentally cured (though, of course, he might need healing there, which again is why Jesus came!).
Now, I don’t expect the media to take this up. It doesn’t sell. It doesn’t make news. It doesn’t up the ratings. I don’t even think a repentant and transformed Loughner will make the news, for they’ve all heard it before, right?
But I am truly saddened not only by the events of Saturday, but also by the continuing events of the past days (and probably the days to come) in which the ‘experts’ continue to explain and expound on who Jared Lee Loughner was/is, which will only raise the hatred-disgust level of many towards a man and his family that right now need the restoring compassion of God proclaimed to them. And, no, not in some cheesy way where we quote a few Bible verses as a quick-fix, unauthentic sharing of the good news of Jesus.
Thankfully there is One who does actually know Loughner and his family (Psalm 139:13-16).
So, as my prayers went out to Terry Jones of the Dove Outreach Center in Florida, so I also I am stirred to pray compassionately for Loughner and his family.
Jesus, you know what he and his family need most.