Another mass shooting has marred our country this past week. It will, and should, be analyzed in detail. It will be a drop in the overflowing bucket of our national debate on guns and mental health and all sorts of things.
This, however, is not a forum meant for most of that. Here we talk about religion and this particular tragedy would seem to have a religious element to it. The stated motive of the gunman seems to have been to kill Christians. We have confirmed eye witness testimony that says he asked if people were Christians when choosing targets. This certainly plays into the perception of some Christians that the faith is under attack in America. I do not believe it is. I simply think a truly pluralistic society is emerging and with it Christian exceptionalism in this country is going away. That, however, is not the same as persecution. I know some Baptist in Ukraine who would be glad to tell you about what it was like to be part of an actually persecuted faith, or Muslims in America for that matter. If anything is "under attack" it is the cultural veneer of Christianity that has been in place since at least the Second Great Awakening.
There is something else here that I do not believe.
I do not believe the shooter.
Did he ask? Yes. Did he kill people who identified as Christians? Yes. Was that what it was really all about? No.
The article linked above shows a clear connection between the shooter and the profile of Lithium_Love on KickAssTorents. That user said of the recent shooting of two reporters on air:
"On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight,”
Thus we get to motive. There have been 296 mass shootings in the US in 2015 and as I write this there has only been 279 days. With those kind of numbers you have to stand out in the crowd. So, how would he do it?
Make it about more than just killing people.
I suspect that if he thought there would be more Muslims or Jews or people of some specific group in the room he would have chosen them. He chose Christians because he figured in small-town Oregon they were the most likely unique demographic. It also played into this whole "persecution" complex.
He did it so that he would be "known by everyone", not because he had any other agenda.
And that is why you wont see his name in anything I write.