How to Respond to the Sutherland Springs Massacre

The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs

So far, the dead in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs massacre number 26, with 20 wounded.

This atrocity will, no doubt, devolve into a debate about gun control. Democrats will label the NRA evil, and the Republicans who support the Second Amendment as a bunch of knuckle draggers. Never mind that it seems it was good man with a gun who put a halt to the killing spree.

Gun debate aside, let me propose a few simple measures that the media should adopt in the wake of a mass killing.

The Torah teaches that we should forever remember what Amalek did to the children of Israel in the desert. Furthermore, the Torah commands us to wipe this evil off the face of the earth.

Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.

—Deuteronomy 25

What was Amalek’s great evil?

They attacked the stragglers, the oldest and the youngest, the lame and the blind, those who were at the rear as the Jews marched through the desert on their way to the promised homeland, the Land of Israel.

Amalek is still with us.

Amalek comes in the form of a lone gunman who opens fire on innocent people for no apparent reason. The police and the media desperately look for a motive.

If it’s an IslamoNazi, we know the motive. It’s in the Koran.

But for the Las Vegas killer, or the Sutherland Springs killer, where Islam is not the motive, we can only assign rational motives to the act because we are rational people. Or we speculate about mental illness.

But these killers are not rational as we define rational. And the vast majority of people who are mentally ill are not killers.

These killers are evil. And we should not reward their evil deeds with a lengthy narrative of their pathetic lives, their multiple grudges, and their self-serving victimhood.

We should not name them. We should not query their motive. We should not analyze their various life traumas. They should be publicly ignored. In private, investigators will do their work and compile a profile that might help in the future. But in the public sphere, these wretched little men should be ignored. And their dead bodies should be burned and their ashes flushed down a toilet.

What we should do is write about the victims and their families. Their narratives are our only concern. Their stories are the only public legacy which should be preserved.

Because that which is rewarded is repeated.

And my gut instinct tells me that these mass murderers crave the twisted kind of celebrity that only comes to a serial killer or mass murderer.

This entry was posted in America, Gun Control, Second Amendment, Sutherland Springs Massacre, Torah and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Bill Brandt
    Posted November 8, 2017 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I used to consider Evil to be an abstract term. But – call it demons – I think it is real and within some people.

    And you are right-people want to assign “rational” motives to these people.

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  2. DavidP
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The shooter should never have been able to legally buy firearms. After all, he had served a year in a military prison for beating up his wife and child. He was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force. He had escaped from a mental institution. That he was able to buy firearms underscores that the system is utterly broken. My suggestion: Trump should order a temporary moratorium (a month?) on the sale of assault-style weapons and large-capacity clips while fixing a broken system that allowed this man to obtain firearms. (I have to smile to myself at the political fallout of such a moratorium, especially among Trump haters.) I’m presuming, of course, that there would be a legal way to enact such a moratorium.)

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    • Barry
      Posted November 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      He wasn’t legally allowed but the government, not Donald Trump, fouled up. Read the story.

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  3. DrCarol
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Two points: First, you are correct, these killers are evil. We have lost the ability–or the will–to name the beast for what it is. People who ask where a loving G-d was on that day forget that He gives us free will, and many people gladly turn that will over to the Evil One.

    Second, a lot of pastors and congregations are starting to discuss what to do in these cases, and some police departments are offering to come talk to the congregation about strategy. Most people cannot afford to go through the process of getting a pistol permit, and in my dad’s church, most are too old to rush the shooter. But they don’t like the alternative of cowering under the pews. Throwing hymnbooks at the shooter is an option, if the churches still have hymnbooks.

    Many years ago one of my denomination’s churches was disrupted by gay activists who took over the service and performed lewd acts in front of the congregation, including children. I told my dad then that churches are targets, and we needed to be prepared for what was coming, because the gay activists weren’t the worst things we were going to see.

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  4. pkoning
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I read some reports indicating he was an atheist. That’s not terribly helpful as an explanation, though; a fair number of atheists are obnoxious about their beliefs, but I don’t remember hearing about violent ones before.

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  5. sennacherib
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I’ll be blunt, if you ever have to face someone like this don’t hesitate, shoot the sob right in the face.

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