Shots rang out at two Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kansas, yesterday afternoon. The Jewish Community Center, which had a flurry of activities in progress, and Village Shalom, a retirement home nearby, were scenes of fatal shootings. Three people lost their lives. The shooter has been arrested by Overland Park Police and placed in jail.
This shooter, according to The Kansas City Star (http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/13/4957486/one-reported-dead-in-shooti...), has been identified as Frazier Glenn Cross, aka F. Glenn Miller. He was said to be 73 years old and from Aurora, Missouri. His history shows him to be involved in white supremacist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan.
The malice shown in these shootings stirs up a lot of emotions, as well as many questions. The killings were senseless. In the religious world, Christians are observing Lent and in the middle of Holy Week, while Jewish people are observing Passover. It is a time to reflect on one's beliefs and make amends to those whom we might have hurt through words or actions.
The United States of America was founded on the idea of religious freedom. George Washington said, "I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and tolerance," (as cited in America Kneels to Pray, 2003, Nashville, TN: Elm Hill Books, p. 97). These shootings go against this idea in every way. America is a melting pot of people--various skin colors, different backgrounds, all types of religions, and differing cultures--all with the desire of living in a better place and having the opportunity to live with freedom from oppression and hate. Justice and tolerance allows each person the same rights as everyone else. One is no better than another. We are all part of the human race and, as such, equal to each other.
Zechariah 9: 16-17 says, "These then are the things you should do: Speak the truth to one another; let there be honesty and peace in the judgments at your gates, and let none of you plot evil against another in his heart, nor love a false oath. For all these things I hate,says the Lord," (The New American Bible, 1994, Wichita, KS: Devore & Sons, Inc. The 8th verse of the Tao te Ching says, "The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to. It flows to low places loathed by men. Therefore, it is like the Tao. Live in accordance with the nature of things. In dwelling, be close to the land. In meditation, go deep in the heart. In dealing with others, be gentle and kind. Stand by your word. Govern with equity. Be timely in choosing the right moment. One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the way of things. He moves in harmony with the present moment, always knowing the truth of just what to do," (as cited by Dyer, W. W., 2007, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc., p. 40). We are to treat others with kindness and respect.
It is not an easy task to remove violence from society, but it something to strive for. Prayer is the first step in making positive changes. Let us pray for these meaningless acts of violence to come to an end.