Two weeks ago, I was just boarding a plane home from Nashville, Tennessee, when the news broke that a shooter had entered a breakfast joint and opened fire. The killer, 29, hailing originally from Illinois, but recently living in Nashville, was eventually caught and arraigned. Much has attention has been deservedly focused on the bravery of James Shaw Jr., who risked his life to wrest away the shooter’s gun and save many additional lives. But now that we know more about Travis Reinking, an alarming fact is clear. Not only was this young man mentally troubled (he was naked except for a jacket when he opened fire), he also came from a born-again Christian family.
Reinking was known to be quiet and respectful. Some of the time he was educated by home-schooling and the rest in a private Christian school. He didn’t drink or use drugs, but mentally he became delusional, even claiming he was going to marry pop star Taylor Swift. He once dived into a public pool wearing only a woman’s nightgown. There were other run-ins with the law, including an attempt to invade White House grounds, but Reinking remained on the loose until the Waffle House murders.
Public reaction was typical. Because the killer used an AR-15 rifle, there were the usual calls for gun control. Which brings me to the point. When will we stop demonizing guns and demonize demons? This young killer would have found any kind of weapon to slaughter, his mind was so twisted, and he was so filled with demons. How do I know he had demons? For a born-again Christian to do something so evil, it requires not only an addled mind, but a soul filled with evil spirits. I don’t know which came first, the mental illness or the demons. It doesn’t matter. As in most cases like this, the two work hand in hand. You know the slogan, “Guns don’t kill, people do.” True. But you don’t have to be an apologetic for the NRA (clarification, I’m not a member), to understand that, “Guns don’t kill, mentally deranged and demonized people do.” At least on this kind of scale.
James Shaw Jr., the hero who stopped further loss of life, was also a Christian. Immediately after being treated for a wound he received in the scuffle with Reinking, he went to church to receive prayer. His bravery saved lives. But if someone had gotten to the killer’s demons before the Waffle House massacre, no one might have died. And that’s the terrible truth that the church in America doesn’t want to face! Blame the guns, blame the sick minds. Just don’t dare suggest that even a born-again believer can have demons and be capable of carnage.
An Encouraging word: WHAT GOD SEES FROM HEAVEN
Psalm 14:2 says, The Lord looks down from heaven . . . to see if there is any who understand, any who seek God. If David asked that question nearly 3,000 years ago, we must wonder what the gaze of God sees today. Our modern inventiveness, from nanotechnology which manipulates matter on an atomic scale, to the wonders of instant anything via the Internet (including porn), has proliferated the ubiquitous availability of evil. I’m certain the Lord sees much today that grieves Him. You and I must, therefore, do our best to live holy lives so that the Lord looking down from heaven sees some who do seek him. Are you such a person?