…but on my morning walk I found myself wondering about the recent incident where some guy walked into two different evangelical institutions here in Colorado, 6o miles and several hours apart, and proceeded to shoot people, killing I think two at each place before dying of gunfire himself. Originally the story went like this: a couple years ago the guy had been kicked out of the first place, a training school for world missionaries, and had borne a grudge ever since. He had sent hate mail and threats to the school. He had written a series of blog entries saying that he hated Christians and hinting that he might be planning to do violence reminiscent of the Columbine High School shooting, which also took place in Colorado, and which left something like twenty people dead. After killing two people at the training school he then headed for an evangelical megachurch, again opening fire, killing two more people. There seemed nothing to connect the shooter to this particular church, until word got out that his victims had been associated with the same organization that runs the missionary school. The shooter was brought down by one of the church’s armed security guards — apparently the church had gone on high alert in response to the killings at the missionary school earlier that day.
As time has passed the details of the story have changed a bit. The shooter didn’t die from wounds inflicted by the security guard; he committed suicide. The guard was a former policewoman who had been dismissed from the force for improprieties. There is no evidence that the shooter threatened the training school in advance. It’s not clear that the shooter was the author of the blog entries that allegedly signalled his murderous intent.
So I wonder…
- The reports of the shooter’s threatening mail and blogs, subsequently retracted — could this faulty and misleading intelligence have been released as a planned attempt to justify Homeland Security domestic spying? It’s been repeatedly demonstrated that Americans remember the initial headlines rather than the subsequent retractions buried in the back pages, and that they typically believe the original story even after it has been debunked.
- It’s no secret that the church where the shooter ended his spree, got shot by the guard, and killed himself is the same megachurch whose pastor was dismissed a couple months ago for engaging in homosexual prostitution, the news of which received big play in the American media. Is it conceivable that this church orchestrated the shooting in order to reverse the flow of negative publicity directed not only at the church but at evangelicalism in general?
- Is it conceivable that the missionary school too participated in the shooting? After all, the killer had trained briefly at the school, presumably because he wanted to extend the evangelical Christian presence into other parts of the world. If he professed to be a Christ-hater and attacked the school, wouldn’t he in effect be helping to promote the missionary agenda, as well as the American-led wars against the anti-Christian enemy in the Middle East?
- Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has come out of nowhere, surging into a virtual tie with Rudolph Giuliani in national public opinion polls. Hackabee is an evangelical Christian who used to be a Southern Baptist minister. This latest shooting incident could only have helped his campaign.
- Recently Jonathan Erdman contended on Theos Project that the angsty loner American shooters share with Near East suicide bombers the yearning for immortality, either in the martyr’s afterlife or in the media spotlight. What if this latest Colorado shooter really was a suicide bomber seeking both sorts of immortality? What if, when the guard who had been assigned to kill him failed to finish the job, he had to kill himself? What if he was acting as part of a conspiracy to bolster the flagging presence of evangelical Christianity in American politics, to reinforce public support for domestic surveillance, and to extend the missionary zeal of the American people in support of an ever-expanding war in the Middle East?
Am I paranoid, or what?