18 December 2007

Call Me Paranoid

Filed under: Culture, Reflections — ktismatics @ 12:03 pm

…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?



  1. That is a crazy idea, but crazier things have happened. It makes me intrigued to dig deeper into this story. Where is your source info. on the shooter not writing all the hate mail and blog entries?

    Also, are you suggesting that the shooter, himself, was motivated to advance the agenda of the conservative right? That the suicide was to advance Homeland Security, Huckabee, et al???


    Comment by Erdman — 19 December 2007 @ 7:23 am

  2. Maybe there’s a novel here? I don’t have the references for retractions on the hate mail and blog entries — I read about it in a couple different installments of online news over the past few days. Clearly the conspiracy theory would need more documentation if I were to go public with the accusations. Inasmuch as I too live in Colorado it’s conceivable that this very blog post is under surveillance.

    Yes, I’m suggesting that the shooter was in on the conspiracy. No doubt already a volatile soul susceptible to grandiose schemes, he volunteered to martyr himself for the cause. Doubtless the scheme would have been hatched in a way that ensured deniability; e.g., “if only some Christ-hater were to shoot up our church people we could put this whole homosexual-whoring episode far behind us and get on with our larger mission to the world…”


    Comment by ktismatics — 19 December 2007 @ 8:16 am

  3. A bold theory!

    A novel is the best way to go about that–then you, too, will have deniability: “Hey, man, it’s just a work of fiction.”


    Comment by Erdman — 19 December 2007 @ 9:07 am

  4. I got this email today from an old friend. Many years ago he and I were “born again” at one of the early outposts of Youth With a Mission in Tangier. (This is the same missionary organization where two people got killed in the Colorado shooting.) I have since fallen away from the faith; he has not.

    Dear Friends and Family;

    2007 has been a unique year for us and many others in our family, most particularly in regards to our beloved nephew and cousin Bill, killed in Iraq on June 19. The attached picture is our Christmas tree this year. We felt like we needed to honor Bill this Christmas time, for who he was and for his awesome dedication to our country, his family, and his comrades. So we did something different for the Christmas tree. Usually we put up all the family’s fun, pretty, handed-down and collected ornaments, but this year we did the whole tree in red, white and blue in Bill’s honor and memory. Check it out! It is topped with a white star. All the ribbon garland is red, white and blue, as are all the balls and icicles. There are white stars, too, and a silver garland with silver stars. Under the tree between the gold stars is a Certificate in honor of Bill, signed by the President.

    Bill is sorely missed. At the same time we are so grateful for what he has done on our behalf. It is a parallel to the Christmas story. Did God and Jesus miss each other as Jesus came here on our behalf? Yes. Is Jesus to be honored now for that accomplishment and His character, both by God and man? Absolutely. May this all be so in your hearts as we wish you a Merry Christmas.

    So here’s someone who associates the death of an American soldier in Iraq with the death of Jesus on the cross. Is there any intrinsic limit to this sort of zeal for militaristic Christian self-sacrifice?


    Comment by ktismatics — 22 December 2007 @ 11:35 am

  5. There really isn’t is there.



    Comment by Ivan — 22 December 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  6. That really does make me sick. It’s as if these good folks have been prevented from seeing the reality of Jesus. But then that’s not an excuse.

    Not too long ago I met a couple from Sri Lanka who were talking about their own civil war in very enthusiastic terms. The Sinhalese government managed to split the Tamil secessionist forces and take the upper hand and recently even gave one ex-rebel a diplomatic passport to get to England. In any case I was horrified at the enthusiasm for this very dirty war. These are Buddhists and in SL the Buddhists have a militant wing led by monks! One wonders not so much that religions abuse the power that they have over people but that the people, mostly intelligent and well enough educated, still choose to accept and believe the contradictory rubbish that they are being fed.


    Comment by samlcarr — 22 December 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  7. One of my more volatile conversations ever was with one of my mom’s friends…who is from a military family…over some email that said “only two people have ever died for you: Jesus and the american soldier…don’t take your freedom for granted.” I wanted to scream and puke. The conversation didn’t go so well. Before Christmas my Mom asked if I wanted to go wtih that lady and her kids to some Christmas function and lunch or whatever. I declined.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 26 December 2007 @ 6:29 am

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