He came home from World War II and moved in with his mother. The neighbors called him a "mama's boy." He began keeping a diary, detailing every word the neighbors said about him. His feelings escalated into rage. On the morning of September 6th, 1949 he walked out of his house and killed 13 people  in his New Jersey neighborhood. He died in a  nursing home in 2009.

He was quiet and kept to himself. When students greeted him on campus he didn't respond. Some of the papers he wrote in creative writing class were disturbing. In one class where everyone else signed their name to the class roll he just put a question mark. He was simply known as the "question mark kid." On the morning of April 6th, 2007 the question mark kid walked out of his dorm room on the campus of Virginia Tech University and killed 32 people. His name was Cho Seung-Hui. He was 23 years old.

As I write this it has been less than 12 hours since the shooting in Las Vegas. So far there are at least 50 people dead and over 400 hospitalized. Very little is known about the shooter, Stephen Paddock, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His brother, Eric Paddock, was quoted as saying, "There was absolutely no indication he could do something like this." What is known is that people are hurting. There is much sorrow. There is rage. I have no answers . . . just a few reminders.

The first reminder is that it is okay to cry. John 11:35 simply says, "Jesus wept." It is the shortest verse in the Bible. He was deeply moved by the death of his friend, Lazarus. It was a sad day for Jesus. Today is a sad day for all of us. I have to believe God is weeping. When God cries we should all feel the tears. This kind of tragedy affects us all.

The second reminder is that we need to treat everyone with kindness and love. The first two killers above were loners and full of rage. They couldn't handle disappointment and took out their frustration on innocent people. We don't know enough about Stephen Paddock yet. What might have happened if one person had befriended them? Do you know any question mark kids? How do you treat them? Maybe you can help give them a name and talk to them about  a Name above all names.

The final reminder is that God has been through this before and He is still in control. There is nothing new to God. Tragedies have been around a long time. It wasn't one person killing many. It was a mob killing one person. The mob was full of rage. The victim was innocent. It was Jesus. He died on a cross. God must have cried that day also.

Victor Hugo once said, "Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."  Amidst this tragedy life really does go on. Have courage. Go to sleep tonight . . . and like a soothing rain with the windows open, open the windows of your heart and let the echo of God's tears dropping on the streets of Las Vegas help you sleep.

 

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