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26 killed in church attack in Texas’ deadliest mass shooting

Carrie Matula hugs a woman who lost her father in a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. Matula said she saw and heard everything as it happened from the gas station where she works just a block away. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Map locates church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm;

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — A man dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a church in a small South Texas community on Sunday, killing 26 people and wounding about 20 in what the governor called the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history. The dead ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old.

Authorities didn’t identify the attacker during a news conference Sunday night, but two other officials — one a U.S. official and one in law enforcement — identified him as Devin Kelley. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

The U.S. official said Kelley lived in a San Antonio suburb and didn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. Investigators were looking at social media posts Kelley made in the days before Sunday’s attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.

An Air Force spokeswoman said Sunday night that Devin P. Kelley received a bad-conduct discharge from the Air Force for allegedly assaulting his spouse and child, and was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement after a 2012 court-martial. Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge, spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

At the news conference, the attacker was described only as a white man in his 20s who was wearing black tactical gear and a ballistic vest when he pulled into a gas station across from the First Baptist Church around 11:20 a.m.

The gunman crossed the street and started firing a Ruger AR rifle at the church, said Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, then continued firing after entering the white wood-frame building, where an 11 a.m. service was scheduled. As he left, the shooter was confronted by an armed resident who “grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect,” Martin said. A short time later, the suspect was found dead in his vehicle at the county line.

Several weapons were found inside the vehicle and Martin said it was unclear if the attacker died of a self-inflicted wound or if he was shot by the resident who confronted him. He said investigators weren’t ready to discuss a possible motive. Martin said 23 of the dead were found in the church, two were found outside and one died after being taken to a hospital.

Addressing the news conference, Gov. Greg Abbott called the attack the worst mass shooting in Texas history.

“There are no words to describe the pure evil that we witnessed in Sutherland Springs today,” Abbott said. “Our hearts are heavy at the anguish in this small town, but in time of tragedy, we see the very best of Texas. May God comfort those who’ve lost a loved one, and may God heal the hurt in our communities.”

Among those killed was the church pastor’s 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Pomeroy. Pastor Frank Pomeroy, and his wife, Sherri, were both out of town in two different states when the attack occurred, Sherri Pomeroy wrote in a text message to the AP.

“We lost our 14-year-old daughter today and many friends,” she wrote. “Neither of us has made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation. I am at the charlotte airport trying to get home as soon as i can.”

Federal law enforcement swarmed the small rural community of a few hundred residents 30 miles southeast of San Antonio after the attack, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI’s evidence collection team.

At least 16 wounded were taken to hospitals, hospital officials said, including eight taken by medical helicopter to the Brooke Army Medical Center. Another eight victims were taken to Connally Memorial Medical Center, located in Floresville about 10 miles from the church, including four who were later transferred to University Hospital in San Antonio for higher-level care, said spokeswoman Megan Posey.

Hunter Green, 16, normally attends the church with his girlfriend but they skipped Sunday after a late date night. Attending a candlelight vigil hours later, he described the building as having only small exits on the side and in the back that would have made it very difficult to flee a shooter entering the front door.

“They wouldn’t have had anywhere to go,” Green said.

Carrie Matula hugs a woman who lost her father in a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. Matula said she saw and heard everything as it happened from the gas station where she works just a block away. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Alena Berlanga, a Floresville resident who was monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups, said everyone knows everyone else in the sparsely populated county.

“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” Berlanga said. “Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected.”

Regina Rodriguez, who arrived at the church a couple of hours after the shooting, walked up to the police barricade and hugged a person she was with. She said her father, 51-year-old Richard Rodriguez, attends the church every Sunday, and she hadn’t been able to reach him. She said she feared the worst.

Church member Nick Uhlig, 34, wasn’t at Sunday’s service, but he said his cousins were at the church and that his family was told at least one of them, a woman with three children and pregnant with another, was among the dead.

“We just gathered to bury their grandfather on Thursday,” he said, shaking his head. “This is the only church here. We have Bible study, men’s Bible study, vacation Bible school. Somebody went in and started shooting.”

President Donald Trump, who was in Japan, called the shooting an “act of evil” and said he was monitoring the situation.

“We’re shocked. Shocked and dismayed,” said state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, a Laredo Democrat whose district includes Sutherland Springs, a rural community known for its peanut festival, which was held last month. “It’s especially shocking when it’s such a small, serene area. These rural areas, they are so beautiful and so loving.”

Later Sunday, two sheriff’s vans were parked outside the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the address listed for Kelley on the rural, western outskirts of New Braunfels, north of San Antonio, preventing a group of waiting journalists from entering. Officials from the Comal County Sherriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers declined to comment or say if they had raided his home.

Ryan Albers, 16, who lives across the road said he heard intensifying gunfire coming from that direction in recent days.

“It had to be coming from somewhere pretty close,” Albers said. “It was definitely not just a shotgun or someone hunting. It was someone using automatic weapon fire.”

The church has posted videos of its Sunday services on a YouTube channel, raising the possibility that the shooting was captured on video.

In a video of its Oct. 8 service, a congregant who spoke and read Scripture pointed to the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting a week earlier as evidence of the “wicked nature” of man. That shooting left 58 dead and more than 500 injured.

Until Sunday, the deadliest mass shooting in Texas had been a 1991 attack in Killeen, when a mentally disturbed man crashed his pickup truck through a restaurant window at lunchtime and started shooting people, killing 23 and injuring more than 20 others.

The University of Texas was the site of one of the most infamous mass shootings in American history, when U.S. Marine sniper Charles Whitman climbed the Austin campus’ clock tower in 1966 and began firing on stunned people below, killing 13 and wounding nearly three dozen others. He had killed his wife and mother before heading to the tower, one victim died a week later and medical examiners eventually attributed a 17th death to Whitman in 2001.

(Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington, Nomaan Merchant in Houston, Will Weissert in Austin, Diana Heidgerd in Dallas, Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles and Paul J. Weber in New Braunfels, Texas, contributed to this report.)

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Jim Vertuno

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  • Haul out your “thoughts and prayers” one more time !!

    If you were praying about Vegas…you obviously failed to pray hard enough!…Next massacre in Texas only a few weeks later. Pray harder and maybe we go a full month or two without a mass killing!

  • To whom this concerns:

    I called my better 5-eighth. “2 bible churches now. Shooter went to church. Shot dead many more this time than in 1st church. They’re killing our people now. But why? Why? Bye love.” I clicked off my cellphone. I broke down. Weeping for my born-again Christian brothers & sisters.

  • As tragic as it seems HpO, those people are in Christ’s arms right now – not that we want tragedies to happen, but God does make good come from difficult circumstances.

  • This is going to happen all over the place, Damien. These are the last days and it’s going to astonish you the atrocities that the enemy has planned.

  • That’s what God’s grace and comfort is all about. God brings peace & healing & restoration into situations where there isn’t any possible chance of peace & healing & restoration. There’s nothing like God’s supernatural grace.

  • I’m utterly convinced that this, as well as atrocities targeting those outside the Body of Christ, are an upswell of demonic activity, because even as untold numbers of people are being won to the faith in some parts of the world, equally untold numbers of people are rejecting the faith in a misplaced hope that secularist, so called rational approaches can save the race from its deadly proclivities. The Adversary is angry and desperate, and he hates the human race. And we are too easily fooled and led.

  • absolutely, Edward. We have to keep the church – us – in prayer.
    Satan thinks he has the world far enough from the reality of Christ that people can name their “groups” after him, and no one will care…..immorality is rampant, and getting worse and we can go on and on. Christ is coming to get us soon
    I was really pleased to see that Shawnee agreed with your comment, seems we’re all along the same line of thinking….

  • Trumpelthinskin tweeted: may god be with the people of Sutherland Springs. god was with them. They were in church. God was with them. And they are every bit as dead as if he didn’t exist at all.

    TwoPence tweeted his thoughts and prayers, which is what you do when you don’t want to do anything meaningful, but don’t wish to be caught or thought a total a-hole. And the victims are every bit as dead as if he didn’t pray or think. Is he tweeting, “gee, I hope none of them were unrepentant sinners who are currently burning in hell?” Nope, that would be religicizing the situation, and it’s too soon for that

    Neither of our feckless leaders— there isn’t an ounce of feck in the Entire Republican Regime— could be bothered to say, “after two mass shooting in three weeks with over 80 citizens dead, and hundreds more wounded, done by white American citizens, it’s time to start talking about meaningful gun control, and understanding the nature of gun violence, instead of pretending that the problem is actually foreigners looking for a job.”

    “There’s no way to prevent this” says the only nation where this happens on a regular basis.

  • You’re so right. Nothing is exactly like god’s supernatural grace.

    God was with them in church. They’re still dead. And conservatives will continue to claim we have no gun problem.

  • I sure hope none of them died with unrepented sins still on their tally. That would be unfortunate.

  • Edward, I would expect better from you than the easy evangelical answer of “blame it on Satan.” We are the only western country, the only civilized country, pretty much the only country in the world where this thing happens on a regular basis.

    We have nothing remotely resembling gun control. It’s a secular, rationalist approach that has been shown to work.

  • Thank you for the lack of meaningless, platitudinous piety in this matter. You actually feel something, like a human being with empathy.

  • You’re welcome to preach the political gun-control sales-pitch if you want to. (Try Chicago first?)

    Meanwhile, God’s grace has got this situation and those people. By the way, from the Charleston tragedy on down, the affected churches have utterly refused to fold up shop, nor exchange their Christian faith for your atheism and cynicism. I’m doubtful that this Texas church will be any different.

  • No, what will happen is anguish, pain and suffering…No grace for anyone until people decide to fix this easily addressable problem causing these tragedies to happen again and again.

    There will be no peace and healing…Las Vegas was a few weeks ago and due to our insane gun laws…and lack of supernatural intervention — means another massacre is likely in a short time.

  • No, like it or not, the dead are gone, no afterlife. The survivors will suffer in many cases for the rest of their lives with terrible pain and disfigurement. Family members will live with suffering and anguish…

    …I don’t say this to be uncaring — but until we get past delusions…this will happen over and over. If God is real, he would have listened to all the prayers after Las Vegas…but nobody was listening to any prayers.

  • So why is it that secular Europe, Japan, Australia, etc. (who turned against God and embraced Satan long ago) do not have this massacre problem? … While very religious USA continues to suffer with a mass shooting tragedy every few weeks at least.

  • I believe you when you say you’re not trying to be uncaring, but your words are so very hopeless & tragic. Here’s how your posting scorecard looks so far Damien:

    “No afterlife.” “No God.” “Nobody listening to any post – Las Vegas prayers.” “No grace.” (posted above).

    So I’d ask if you have rationally explored all available avenues of knowledge with any bearing on the existence or non-existence of each of your four claims, but you haven’t done it. I’d ask if you have comprehensively checked to see if those one or two avenues that you may have previously explored actually did turn up empty, but you haven’t done that either.

    So exactly why should you chain yourself to a life of hopelessness via your four stated claims there?

  • Same tired old argumentment in favor of guns. Chicago May have gun control but little else around it does.

    God’s grace is meaningless, except as a pious platitude. They’re dead, murdered by another guy with a gun. And his name isn’t Mohammed. Or Juan.

    Nor would I expect those churches To close? why would they? What does getting a handle on guns and mass murder in this country have to do with cynicism or atheism? But if you want to talk about cynicism, let’s talk about your greater interest in right wing politics and right wing religious points than you are concerned about another mass murder in the bestest, most Christian country in the whole wide world.

    As I said above, with my atheist outrage and human sorrow over yet another mass murder, “there’s no way to prevent this” is what we say in this country, which is the only country in the west where it happens on a regular basis.

    Now, THERE is cynicism for you.

  • Sure I have examined these things…I was a Catholic for most of my life. But getting past the indoctrination helped with empirical analysis of God claims and holy books. These tragedies, like in Texas, happen in the USA for a reason, I agree..but have nothing to do with God’s wrath or grace. We pray to avoid the problem, not to deal with it.

    More secular and godless societies in Europe and Asia simply don’t have these gun problems. The issue is temporal not spiritual. No military weapons in the hands of maniacs…then no massacres. It is that simple. The problem is us…praying and hoping for grace is useless. Serious gun control works — that’s proven.

  • This is not about the last days and it’s not about God. It’s about the lack of gun control and the lack of mental health. Kelly could still get a semi-automatic rifle even though he was dishonorably dismissed from the armed forces and convicted of child and spousal abuse. He probably should have gotten help when he was younger and didn’t. Trump says it’s about a mentally deranged person and not about guns, but he wants to drastically cut mental health. It’s about both and we need both. Damien is right. The UK, and the rest of Europe and Australia don’t have anywhere near the gun deaths or gun crimes that the US does. Even terrorists have to use vehicles, because it’s hard to get guns in Europe and the UK. I left out Japan and South Korea which have extremely low rates of gun violence.

  • You can my imagine my shock after reading this article. No, not because of the massacre of my fellow born-again Christian siblings per se, which wasn’t shock-ing, as my comment after Damien Priestly’s had characterized, but death-in-the-family kind yet of the un-despairing sort of utter sadness. This must be how it’d feel like for me when – OMG! have mercy upon me through the Christ in my death-in-the-family yet un-despairing state of utter sadness! – my very own loved ones die. (I joked to my better 5-eighth the other day, “I’m gonna kill you if you die before me.”)

    But because of Damien Priestly’s response to the massacre! He wasn’t glad, I knew that, but actually was bitterly raging at born-again Christians like me & those First Baptist Church survivors on the news! For a moment there this shock of mine, courtesy of Demon Pries… I mean Damien Priestly here, almost instantly air-dried my hitherto drip-dripping tears. What the …? I want my tears back; give’em back, you, you …

    … Atheists. Go figure, right?

    I am going to, actually; I just have to, mission-in-life like now, I tell you. Via:

    (1) Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “After Tragedy, Nonbelievers Find Other Ways To Cope”, NPR, January 16, 2013.

    (2) Libby Anne, “Dealing with Death as an Atheist”, Love Joy Feminism, January 22, 2012.

    (3) Greta Christina, “12 Things Not to Say to Grieving Nonbelievers”, AlterNet, not dated.

    … Oops, my commuting train about to unboard me for work on this morning of US President Donald Trump’s Anniversary Uno. … Coincidence?

    Later.

  • Chicago is the canary in the gun-control mine. Canary’s just laying there dead, all shot up, and you’re just sitting there pretending it’s dancing and singing.

    Such pretension ain’t working. (Of course, it ain’t working in Oakland either, now is it?) But if gun-control is your hobby, then that’s your hobby.

    Far more important, is to recognize that life is extremely fragile on ANY given day in ANY given location, regardless of politics, gun-control debates, etc. This may be your last day, or my last day. So it’s a good day to get connected with Christ.

    “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Rev. 3:20)

  • And by the way: Kudos to one Johnnie Langendorff (and his fast-moving truck), and an unidentified, very determined neighbor with a good working rifle, for taking care of business and stopping the shooter from doing any more murders.

  • So, because the last days are coming, we give up and don’t try to do the practical things that can stop tragedies like this from happening? We ‘re just supposed to sit around and pray? I don’t think so.

  • Your metaphor is completely the wrong one, of course. The canary in the coal mine was supposed to give warning. 27 more dead people are the canary you are looking for that we need to start talking about gun control.

    But I do agree with you on one thing. We have nothing to say about when we are going to die. But at least we can decrease the likelihood of it happening because somebody with a grudge and easy access to weapons of mass murder decided to take out his ammosexual fanatasies and rage on innocent people.

    “There is no way to prevent this” is what conservatives say in the only civilized country where this happens on a regular basis.

  • You’ll get to stand before God someday, and directly accuse Him of negligence in this tragedy. Good luck proving your accusation on that sobering day.

    Meanwhile, I see the involvement of Langerdorff and the unidentified rifle-carrying neighbor, as God’s providence. This shooter might have actually driven off and gotten away with his mess, or killed 100+ people, but he got stopped instead.

  • And still, not one word of sorrow or outrage that 26 PEOPLE ARE DEAD.

    you can see your god in action when ONLY 26 PEOPLE ARE DEAD, and be thankful that he finally stopped the carnage BECAUSE ONLY 26 PEOPLE WERE MURDERED, including children.

    But at least you can PIOUSLY congratulate yourself on your holiness and faith that ONLY 26 PEOPLE WERE MURDERED, when your inattentive god could have stopped at 24, 23, 22, 21….1 or EVEN 0.

  • Yes it would be, unless they were Christian. All Christian sins are forgiven. They were on Christ when He died on the cross.

  • We all repent of our sin, Ben. Our sins were placed on Christ on the cross. they are what separated Him from His Father. We still need to repent as sin still hurts the Lord, but if we’ve missed one or two and are shot down by some individual, we are going to be with Christ for eternity.
    Those who will not be are people who have not renounced their sin and continue in it as if it were not a sin. They have no relationship with Jesus, except that of rebellion.

  • Thanks for your sorrow, I mean that sincerely. It’s a good lesson for some other people here.

    But it’s not what Damien is saying, not even remotely. He is saying we can solve this problem, as many other societies have. But we don’t, preferring pious platitudes, thoughts and prayers, and guns and more guns.

  • Why, you even have your own special theology. One or two little sins don’t matter at all. That’s why you have nothing to repent for, right?

  • I try to keep a short reign on my sin. I don’t save all my my requesting forgiveness for what He already died on the cross for, until the end of the day.

  • Well, then, you better hope no one shoots you while you’re sitting next to Jesus in church, but you will have died unrepentant, on those rare occasions where you have something to repent for.

  • You obviously didn’t understand my response Ben. My sins have been forgiven. They were placed on Christ, while He was on the cross. Our sins are forgiven, but we do confess and repent of them.
    Thank you for the complement, but I often have sins to confess and repent. What about you Ben?

  • I am sure you are deeply grieving…However — Yes, these regular mass killings followed by calls for “thoughts and prayers”, and nothing more…have numbed me and many others, no doubt. I am beyond sadness. Writing sarcastically can be a way to mock inaction and spur action.

    I continue to believe “thoughts and prayers” are selfish…they may help the prayer giver…but do nothing for the victims. Sadly, it is likely that no serious action to keep weapons of war out of the hands of maniacs will occur soon…So see you again after the next massacre.

  • Chicago can have the toughest gun control laws in the country, but it doesn’t matter if you can get guns in the next state.
    I can be conncected to God without Jesus.

  • He might have killed himself anyway (50+% probability) or gone on to kill other people. We will never know. Suicide or Langerdoff as God’s providence – perhaps or perhaps just the need to find God’s presence in this tragedy. God’s providence for me would have been much clearer should Kelley’s rifle jammed so he was unable to mow down so many of the faithful in that church. Or that he was struck by a car while crossing the highway to the church.

  • Why hurt even more innocents by inadvertently killing someone with their car?
    A little heart attack, a little stroke, or just a bad case of hemorrhoids might have stopped him.

  • Edward, I believe you are empowering the Adversary by placing the blame solely on demonic activity while denying rational approaches. I think of conversations on this site where the onus has been on personal responsibility and the idea of repentance in terms of turning around or changing direction. I think these ideas in a broader sense relate very much to reflecting on why the US is awash in gun violence and mass shootings while other Christian countries in the top 10 list do not experience this. phenomena. It makes me wonder whether unfettered gun ownership is somewhat analogous to Baal in the American culture in a figurative sense.

  • Actually Ben I think this reminds me more than anything of when the people of Israel told Samuel that they needed a king (repeatedly). God’s response was more or less are they really sure cuz these are the things that are going to happen. I have a hard time with theology that is at the heart of skirting around or affirming unfettered gun ownership. I like the idea that we are to act as God’s hands and that includes in concrete ways.

  • I understand what you mean. I was actually thinking of me nearly hitting a that I simply didn’t see, and couldn’t, on the corner where I turn into my street. I didn’t hit him, but came within about five inches of doing so. It’s been years, and I’m still traumatized by it. I now make a very wide, very slow turn to do this.

  • I understand it exactly. I understand it THIS well.

    A hyper conservative, antigay, anti gay marriage, and super-duper Christian Speaker of the house in Kentucky resigned his position after it was revealed that he had sent sexually harassing emails to an employee.

    1) He claims that it was consensual. Adultery usually is.

    2) he claims, like you and every faux Christian on this site, that Jesus has forgiven him.

    As god is my sock puppet, I believe him. But he doesn’t believe it himself. If Jesus forgave him, why did he resign?

    All Praise be given to St. Cynicism! For he, like his brother, St. Lucre, is truly holy.

  • Not anti-homosexual Ben. I would like to see you all saved and in a positive relationship with Jesus. After all this time, you couldn’t even get that right!

  • So is or can god do anything now? It seems that their god doesn’t stop this tragedy and seems to disappear after the tragedy. So let’s see if their god can do anything such as stop the next shooting anywhere, bring back their loved ones from the dead the next few days or is it we all have to die first to see them again. Since all is vanity, so dying while in the lord’s work is a good thing?

  • You’re the 1st one to comment, me 2nd. Noone unless there are ghost commenters lurking about and I mean not a one pitches “thoughts and prayers”. You were biased from the get-go. You lack self-control old man.

  • Again, what “pious platitudes, thoughts and prayers”? Damien commented 1st, followed by me. He didn’t, I didn’t. Who did? And why bark at them? Atheists’ habit I suppose. Bad habit guys!

  • Yeah right. You both are no longer normative atheists here. Neither one of the following counselors suggest you guys deliberate arguments straight away.

    (1) Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “After Tragedy, Nonbelievers Find Other Ways To Cope”, NPR, January 16, 2013.

    (2) Libby Anne, “Dealing with Death as an Atheist”, Love Joy Feminism, January 22, 2012.

    (3) Greta Christina, “12 Things Not to Say to Grieving Nonbelievers”, AlterNet, not dated.

  • Unless, unless, something else is happening? America so powerful that it can’t ban guns – come on! Guns have utility values – politically, militarily, strategically – according to arms dealers all Americans and all state-sponsored. Come on, man, stop with this America is so lacking the collective will. Newsflash: Collective Will Is for Guns. America the AssassiNation, the AbomiNation, thrives on guns. Take away guns, and America is gonna be a 4th World dump.

  • Psst I hear you loud & clear I mean softly & crystal. They don’t get what you mean. You’re casting pearls before the oink oinks around here and they don’t like it. But hey you do your way – godbless & godspeed – and I take the stupidest approach, I know, I know.

    Still I cried many times today. They reminded me of folks I learned 1st time about Jesus from, grew up with them in true fellowship. Did you catch the news about the dedicated couple in that church shot to death while doing their fellowship thing? Could be any couple I had known back in the day. Man, I can’t help but grieve over this death in the family.

    Just as the Father grieving over the tormented, butchered, crucified Son of His.

    But oh for the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, so that for the same joy of resurrection that is set before me & my loved ones – yes, even out of joy for my recently ran over dead cat’s resurrection together with ours one day in glory – I can now endure the cross that I carry in my life of faith in response to the ransoming Fatherly love of God through the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of His own beloved Son Jesus.

    Hey, you First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, you got dat, right?

  • I know that some don’t get what I mean (2 Corinthians 4:4), but there are some, who are looking, where reading Christ’s word will make a world of difference to them – a light shone in a dark place.
    God bless you and I’m sorry about your kitty.
    We all mourn for our brothers and sisters in Christ, my friend, yet, what better place to be than where they are now?
    2 Corinthians 5:8 -English Standard Version
    Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

  • Huh? Me see. Googlin, still googlin. That’s ByllShx – what? Maybe B6llSh&t – huh? Or, or BqllShyt? No? Man.

    Alright let me try this algorithm. Oh, you mean, “I disagree strongly with that point of view”?

    Nah, you’re right, this is better: “B6llSh&t!!”

  • There it is again. BS for Bachelor of Science? Nope, not in there.

    Neither these:

    BS British Standards
    BS Britney Spears
    BS Baltimore Sun
    BS Bahamas
    BS Bisexual
    BS Boy Scouts
    BS Bruce Springsteen
    BS Barbra Streisand
    BS Buffalo Sabres
    BS Black Sabbath
    BS Battlestations
    BS Bering Sea
    BS Bart Simpson
    BS Blessed Sacrament
    BS Bill of Sale
    BS Boolean Search
    BS Bering Strait
    BS Biochemical Society
    BS Beta Sigma
    BS Bungie Software
    BS Bitumen Solution

    But, but, maybe BS for Bohemia Suburbana (Guatemala rock group)?

  • I confess I like your analogy vis’ a’ vis Guns being Equal to Baal in a figurative sense. I own a few long weapons, but they are kept separate from the ammunition, and I rarely if ever use them. Many of my best friends and family are avid gun owners and I support gun ownership as a general thing. Still, I am not a gun worshipper as many seem to be. I find your analogy sound, but many Christians I know would view their constitutional rights as being hampered by more restrictive gun laws. At bottom, I really don’t see guns per se as the problem, but the growing numbers of people who seem to be unable to conduct their lives in a rational fashion, whether the cause is substance abuse, mental or emotional defect, or spiritual contamination. All of which are rampant in American culture.

  • I make no brief that Europe, Japan, and Australia, etc. have turned against God. There are strong and viable spiritual communities in all those nations, I would be more interested in examining the degree of substance abuse in those countries as compared to the U.S. if we choose to address the problem in conventional terms. Though my understanding of ancient definitions and practices as illustrated by the Greek term pharmacopeia clearly links substance abuse with demonic behavior.

  • Other nations are not without their acts of terrorism and violent tragedy as is obvious by the growing number of assaults by “truck.” or other vehicular means. The mad and disturbed will always find a way, the methodology is not the message. I have no difficulty in perceiving a spiritual Adversary who is clever enough to exploit our innate human weakness, his greatest victory lies in persuading as many as he is able, that he does not exist.

  • Yes, I am very biased…against pointlessness and platitudes — but towards concrete action…so Sutherland Springs becomes a rarity in the future.

  • ??? I am not clear on what you are talking about? My original comment about thoughts and prayers was not aimed at other posters here in RNS…But was for our masses of politicians and pundits who ignore real solutions that have worked…and instead deflect with pleas for thoughts and prayers. Who cares who commented first.

  • Yup — a 4th World dump… just like all those other places with sane gun controls…Canada, UK, Australia, Scandinavia, Japan…all dystopian hellscapes.

  • “Gun control” in America, Damien Priestly & Ben in Oakland? Not happening. Ever. And all because of: (1) Sturm Ruger, (2) Remington Outdoor, (3) Smith & Wesson, (4) Glock, (5) Sig Sauer, (6) O.F. Mossberg & Sons, (7) Savage, (8) Springfield Armory, (9) Beretta, (10) Taurus International, (11) Keystone Sporting Arms, (12) Kahr Arms, (13) Barrett Firearms, (14) Norinco, and (15) Hi-Point Firearms. “These are America’s top gunmakers – leaders of the nation’s most controversial industry. They have kept their heads down and their fingerprints off regulations designed to protect their businesses – foremost a law that shields gun companies from liability for crimes committed with their products”, that, in the meantime, are making a killing in an “$8 billion firearms industry”! For “as the debate over gun laws has grown louder, sales have soared.” Just one mass-shooting incident alone “netted more than $390 million in profits on record sales. Shares in publicly traded [firearms companies] jumped more than 70 percent that year … The hedge fund that owns … the assault rifle used in [a single massacre] saw the annual return on its investment grow tenfold. … President Barack Obama [might have] mournfully addressed the nation after [a] massacre … carried out with a [firearms company’s] assault rifle designed for US special operations forces” – truth be told – “Mr. Obama is the best gun salesman on the planet”!

    (Source: Josh Harkinson, “Fully Loaded: Inside the Shadowy World of America’s 10 Biggest Gunmakers: Meet the moguls making a killing from gun sales in the United States”, Mother Jones, June 14, 2016.)

  • Well, one can always seriously reflect on God’s life-saving providence towards one’s-own-self in a world where life can end anytime, anywhere, instantly.

    It’s helpful for me, and also looking at Scriptural reminders of God’s providence.

    What doesn’t work, is allowing skeptizoid challenges to God’s providence and goodness based on the latest tragedy or disaster, to take root like poisonous weeds or fungi in one’s life, damaging one’s own view of, and growth in, God.

    The skeptizoids don’t want you to have what they lack.

  • By directly attacking the faith of the Sutherland church and its survivors (and yes, your dissing of their God as “inattentive” constitutes a direct attack on your part),
    you completely prove that you have only a cynical atheistic disdain, NOT any real sorrow, for the Christians who are involved in this treagedy. You offer nothing.

  • Agree with your first statement, but let me ask about your second statement.

    Granted , we all are recipients of God’s grace, God knows all our names. But exactly how can you be “connected to God”, how does God wash away all your sins, without Jesus?

  • Is this you being referred to here? Sounds like.

    According to Daniel Fincke, an atheist himself (cf. “Why I Criticize My Fellow Atheists”, Camels with Hammers, June 17, 2013):

    (1) Atheists “settle for sloppy thinking or become ethically lazy or self-righteously self-satisfied. … They give little impression they are interested in the kinds of ongoing introspection and self-suspicion that are invaluable to personal growth.”

    (2) Atheists are “just looking for flaws in theism or religious people’s behavior out of some animus … prejudice or malice. … Some atheists really do seem to have gotten into this movement to indulge in their feelings of superiority to those they pitilessly disparage as ‘stupid’ or wicked. … They are just in this to throw rocks at the ‘retards’. I have no sympathies with such people and am ashamed that they’re associated with me.”

    (3) “Since my fellow atheists profess to share many of my core intellectual and moral values, I am all the more disappointed in them when they are in violation of those values. I don’t want them to be hypocrites with respect to those values since their failures make all atheists, including me, look bad and set back our cause.”

  • Did any of those countries ever have an $8 billion industry in firearms manufacture? No comparison. American government & corporations shall never endorse gun controls. Gun control is a myth, much like Christianity to you. Mother Jones article confirms that every time there’s a massacre, the firearms business profits skyrocket, and that Obama was that industry’s best salesman in the aftermath of a massacre.

  • Didn’t you catch that? – “Mr. Obama is the best gun salesman on the planet”!

    (Source: Josh Harkinson, “Fully Loaded: Inside the Shadowy World of America’s 10 Biggest Gunmakers: Meet the moguls making a killing from gun sales in the United States”, Mother Jones, June 14, 2016.)

  • Yup. Every time the ammosexuals are afraid they’re going to lose their claim to manhood, they go by some more Colt-brand Viagra.

  • No, I’m not attacking they’re faith. That’s YOUR story. They can believe what they like. What I am attacking is pious platitudes accompanied by a refusal to actually do anything about the carnage.
    I’m far more outraged by yet another laughter of innocent people in the name of some people’s obsessions with guns. I’m not sorrowful because they are Christians– again, that is your a story about it. I’m sorrowful because they were American citizens and human beings, once again sacrificed on the altar of the Almighty Smith and Wesson.
    the question is… why aren’t you, instead of opposing any kind of sensible regulation of the weapons of murder hat killed those Christians, almost as if you were just another knee-jerk hyper conservative whining that if liberals want it, it must be evil.

  • I’m not sure that there is no collective will. What we have is leaders who refuse to lead and an arms industry that has them in its pockets— or more accurately, it’s money in their pockets.

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