Once again, our nation is in shock and mourning. A young man with a significant history of mental illness pulled up to a Waffle House Restaurant outside of Nashville, opened fire in the parking lot with his AR-15 assault rifle, then proceeded to enter the restaurant. In the process, he killed 4 innocent people and injured 4 others. If not for the bravery of bystander, James Shaw, Jr., who saw an opportunity to wrestle the rifle from him, there surely would have been even more victims.
What happened was horrendous, and unfortunately, it is a repetitive story. It's happened in schools, in nightclubs, in malls, in restaurants - anyplace where people are gathered. Does anyone doubt that God is weeping?
What I've read about this latest incident leads me to believe that the suspect, due to a history of mental illness and safety concerns, had his state firearms card removed and four guns/rifles were removed from him. The weapons were then given to his father who, if what is being reported in true, returned them to his son.
So what are we to do? Each time there is a mass shooting or an incident such as what happened at the Waffle House (and statistics prove to us that the number of these incidents is on the rise), there is initial outrage followed by a flurry of talk about what is normally referred to as "common sense gun regulations." Unfortunately, these talks never seem to go anywhere. And as soon the outrage dies down, so do the talks.
My heart truly hurts, and I know yours does too. My heart hurts for the families of the victims. My heart hurts for the young man who committed such a terrible crime - he was obviously very disturbed - mental illness is a terrible thing. And my heart hurts for future victims of violence such as this - if we don't find a way to put a stop to it. In my opinion, "common sense" gun regulation is long overdue. For one thing, we simply HAVE to find a way to prevent people with a history of mental disturbance from being able to secure assault rifles.
So I invite all of us to be in a serious attitude of prayer. As you pray for the families of the victims, also remember to pray for young Travis Reinking - let's pray that he would get the help he needs, and that he would open himself to receive the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, and enter into a new life of faith.
And let's then pray earnestly and relentlessly for our nation, and for our nation's leaders, that an effective path forward would be found very quickly. Through God, all things are possible.