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mass shooters & herod the tyrant

Herod the Great died a slow excruciating death. The first century historian Josephus claimed that as death drew near, that tyrant made cruel arrangements to insure his death would be a time of mourning. Herod had leading figures from throughout his realm arrested, ordering that when he died, they should be executed.

Herod wanted people to suffer when he died. He demanded mourning at his death. Herod craved attention and, like today’s mass shooters, was willing to use violence to gain it. Fortunately, his son Archelaus and sister Salome vetoed the tyrant’s last wish.
Researchers Jillian Peterson and James Densley wrote in the LA Times that mass shooters are driven by a need to matter and to be respected. Violence is their means to that end. They’re loners who’ve concluded life is no longer worth living and that murdering others is a proper revenge. Similar to Herod facing his mortality, mass shooters feel powerless and doomed. Like Herod they lash out, demanding others suffer with them—by any means possible.

Such emotions can be compounded on the internet. The El Paso shooter claimed to be online eight hours a day. University of Maryland researcher
Michael Jensen explains that social media is a 24/7, always on, hyper-mobilizing environment with communities that create stacks of digital literature in which online participants validate each other, building up the ideological weight that inspire such attacks.

People yell, Do something! Policies are re-examined, law-changes are debated. Something will be done. Sadly, just doing something is unlikely to solve anything.

Jesus told us what needs to be done: Pray! Saying we will pray is not enough. Calling people to pray is blatant hypocrisy if we fail to pray. We need to pray. Pray for our culture and our communities. Pray for our world. Evil stalks the land, a
kind that can only be driven out through prayer. ~

Dan Nygaard