Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shootings At A UU Church Today

A man with a gun walked into a Knoxville, Tennessee Unitarian Universalist church this morning, fired more than a dozen shots, killed a Board member and usher, and several UU's are fighting for their lives in local hospitals.

And I feel sick...and disgusted...and PERSONALLY affected, even though I don't believe I know anyone at this particular church. According to a news story online, it's the fourth shooting in a church in America this year.

The Yahoo story was illustrated by a pair of hands holding a large cross and a rosary. I found that perhaps insignficantly infuriating as well (and there didn't seem to be any place to let the editors know how incorrect that image was.)

What in God's name will it take to outlaw handguns in this country? How many school shootings, church shootings, home shootings, domestic violence shoots, drive by shootings until lawmakers do something? I've thought for the past twenty five years that if I wasn't so committed to my work in sexual justice, handgun control would be the area I would spend my life working on.

And now, it's happened one step closer...and I know if could happen even closer still. "Thou shall not kill" has to be backed up by legislation so that people don't have the resources to do it. It wasn't a suggestion; it was a commandment.

My prayers are with the people in Knoxville. I'll let you know if there is more to do than that in the coming days.


Anonymous said...

this is tragic but gun control is not the anser .murder is aginst the law yet he still murdered them why would it make a diffrence if his wepon was also illeagal to own ?

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

The account I read of this horrible and tragic incident said that the shooter used a shotgun, not a handgun.

As Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita, each person has divine and demonic tendencies.

May the Creative Forces of the Universe have mercy on our souls, if any.

Anonymous said...

Another horrible church shooting. Why? It's very confusing to me. But banning handguns wouldn't have helped in this instance; the shooter was using a shotgun. Ultimately, we have to find the reasons that people do these things, find the core causes, not just ban the weapon. Treat the disease, not just the symptom. --UU Member

Bill Baar said...

He used a shotgun.

Anonymous said...

Our prayers are with everyone in the entire UU church. This is such a shocking and time, and the fact that the gunmen said he targeted the church for its liberal views on women's rights and gay rights, according to the AP, makes it even more disturbing.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry sorry to hear this. Prayers for the victims and their families as well as the assailant.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about your reference to the religious commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" as an argument to bolster gun-control legislation. Doesn't than cross the church/state line? Our laws are based on the constitution; and yes, "the right to bear arms" might be a bit parachronistic; but you can't have it both ways. You can disagree with those that oppose marriage or a woman's right to choose because the bible is not an appropriate source for civic lawmaking and then wield the covenant when it suits you. So what's the solution. In most of these crimes, the guns were stolen. Laws will not keep guns out of the hands of the insane and more than they keep drugs from addicts. As one commenter said, "Treat the symptom" with TREAT as the operative word. So many of these issues arise from the lack of real health services. Profiler analysis has uncovered that most of these shooters are men who suffered from severe mental health isses; often, as in the case of school shooting, young men who were prescribed psychotropic drugs but not required to receive more costly counseling. "Thou shalt provide healthcare" was, most assuredly the eleventh commandment on the missing tablet.

figleaf said...

The short answer to why there appears to be that the congregation recently erected a sign specifically welcoming the LGBT community. That set off a feeding frenzy among shock-jock, right-wing, and evangelical media. I think it would be too much to say they specifically invited people to go shoot up the church but they were evidently specific enough that he specifically chose to murder or maim as many people as he could there.

I grew up in that congregation. My father was good friends with Greg. My mom and sister were in town and my family, including Dad, didn't go to church yesterday. It's going pretty hard on everybody.

Thanks for your kind words for the congregation and their loss, Debra.