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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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A wise perspective on the tragic shootings

Uploaded: Aug 6, 2019
Frankly, I was shocked to awaken Sunday morning and learn of a second mass shooting within 13 hours. The sadly predictable rhetoric and commentary followed by the politicians and the talking heads.

I found some wisdom and perspective in the newsletter by the Rev. Bill Owens, the 80-year-old leader of the Coalition of African American Pastors. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has been an outspoken supporter of traditional Biblical values.

He wrote, “In my last newsletter, I wrote about how I was concerned about the growth of hate and division in our public rhetoric. I mentioned the Rwanda genocide and pondered whether we were being driven to a point where people would be brainwashed into violence.

I was not thinking about mass murders - like the ones in El Paso or Dayton - when I wrote that. But the facts coming in so far suggest that fanaticism and poisonous ideology spurred at least one (if not both) of these tragedies.

CAAP joins with all Christians to extend our prayers to the victims of these massacres. It is sobering and heartbreaking to see this happening to our country.

I do not offer a simple solution because I do not think it is a simple problem. These killings speak to something poisonous festering in the hearts of a few evil men. There is nothing to be gained from pointing the finger of blame at any group or policy. In the past several years, we've seen killings motivated by everything from militant atheism to racism, antisemitism, Islamic extremism, and mental health problems.

What can we do to stop this evil?

Let me humbly suggest that we restore our understanding of the sanctity of all human life and the dignity of the human person. All life is sacred, all humans are valuable in the eyes of God. Even those who hold opinions you find noxious are children of the Lord. We need to return to treating each other with that level of respect and dignity - both online and in "real life."

It's also clear that there is a mental health crisis that should be addressed. Again, this is not an easy solution. Sifting through tragedies for warning signs has become one of the media's hobbies. Reaching out to the marginalized and mentally ill is a lot more difficult.”

Well said, pastor.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by R9xanne, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 6, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Thank you Tim - I agree, if we all look at other lives with compassion and an attempt to see value in people, after we look at our own lives, eventually a more rational world will emerge.

Posted by Danville, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 6, 2019 at 3:05 pm

48 people were shot in Chicago this weekend. 48 people shot in one weekend in one city. Chicago also has one of the most restrictive gun control measures in place, that obviously is not making any difference, as criminals do not follow ordinances on gun control. You could literally outlaw all guns in Chicago and you would still see nonstop shootings.

Misguided politicians like Beto O'Rourke blame President Trump as the sole cause of the mass shootings, which is absolutely ridiculous. In fact, the FBI found that the gunman in Dayton, Ohio was a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, but nobody is blaming her for the sick actions of the gunman.

We need to stop blaming politicians and political parties for gun violence, and look at two simple ideas that would greatly reduce gun violence. First, the background search and cooling off period needs to be extended, to help weed out the mentally unstable who often are responsible for pulling the trigger in massacres.

Second, we need to address the declining attendance at church services in America, and how that affects gun violence. We are living in a world where less and less people regularly attend any church service, and thus sermons on good and evil, and heaven and hell, are missing. To many, the thought of spending eternity in hell for gun violence never crosses their mind, and to them the worst thing is simply death in this world. We should be encouraging people to attend religious services, to learn about free will, good and evil, and the consequences in the after life of gun violence. Learning to love your neighbor, to respect all life, and the deterrence of spending eternal life in hell needs to be part of the conversation in our country once again. That will help reduce gun violence much more than simply having people attacking politicians.

Posted by Craig , a resident of Birdland,
on Aug 7, 2019 at 11:43 am

Thanks Tim, great story and two great responses. It may sound simplistic but somewhere along the way common courtesy and respect for one another has disappeared in many places. Thank you, you're welcome, may I please, excuse me please, pardon me, are words not always hurt in public places or even at homes anymore. It's unfortunate to be in a restaurant, grocery store, coffee shop or public venue and here four letter words being used as common language and not thought of as being foul. The saddest part about this is that these foul words are being used by adults with children present or elders present. My point is, if people held these simple values important on how to talk to one another and around one another they would be less apt to harm one another.
Thanks again Tim

Posted by JohnH, a resident of Valley View Elementary School,
on Aug 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm

On the Chicago comment which seems to surface as some rationale that gun control is futile; At one point Chicago did have tougher laws �" it had banned handguns in the city limits, but a 2008 Supreme Court ruling declared that ban unconstitutional, and a 2010 rulingreaffirmed that. The city also had had a gun registry program since 1968, but ended it in 2013 when the state passed a law allowing the concealed carry of weapons.

Neither Wisconsin nor Indiana requires licenses or permits to purchase a gun nor do they require waiting periods. While Illinois has a B+ rating from the law center, Wisconsin has a C- and Indiana a D-.

A 2015 study of guns in Chicago, found that more than 60 percent of new guns used in Chicago gang-related crimes and 31.6 percent used in non-gang-related crimes between 2009 and 2013 were bought in other states. Indiana was a particularly heavy supplier, providing nearly one-third of the gang guns and nearly one-fifth of the non-gang guns.

Trump is rightly being held to account for his ongoing divisive rhetoric which just encourages these idiots.

There are many countries in the world who actually have less church attendance than the US but do not have any problem whatsoever with mass shootings at All.

Posted by Betty Mullen, a resident of another community,
on Aug 7, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Good to see your blog, Tim.
"Bandwagons", a term I learned in marketing classes, are ever present in society. They are created by people - for good or evil, depending on the heart of man.

It is a sad day when public rhetoric of animosity, division and disrespect permeate the fabric of our society - creating evil and violent actions among those who can't/won't see life through God's eyes instead of through their own or by others ideologies. Acts 17:26A tells us 'God made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth...'. Our naturally common heredity in God's purpose, plans and creation of human beings gives each person the gift of liberty - the ability to choose between that which is good (constructive) and that which is evil (destructive).

Rev. Owens wisdom expresses the truth that all human life is sacred by God's own hands - no matter our differences. I would encourage all who know and love our great God of the universe to not give up or give in to the fears and chaos that reigns terror in our land. Continue to serve others in benevolent actions with trust in God's care of you. Seek God's timeless and unchanging viewpoint (TRUTH) for decisions to be made - as man's viewpoints are challenged by falsehoods and are forever changing.

Psalm 94:11-15 "The Lord knows man's thoughts ... Lord, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law to give him relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked. The Lord will not forsake His people or abandon His heritage, for justice will again be righteous and all the upright in heart will follow it."

Posted by Danville, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 7, 2019 at 3:15 pm

@John H:

No amount of so-called "rhetoric" will ever cause a church going, God loving, Hell fearing person to massacre innocent human beings, whether with a gun, a knife, or any other weapon.

The answer is not simply blaming politicians in office for horrific acts of violence. I certainly do not blame President Obama for the Sandy Hook murders that took place on his watch. As to "rhetoric", his comments about people "clinging to their guns and religion", or Hillary Clinton's "rhetoric" about Republicans being "deplorables" certainly was not responsible for violent attacks that occurred.

Spending time in church, reading the bible, and learning lessons on loving your neighbor, and avoiding eternal damnation in Hell, certainly would a great start in reducing all violence in the world. And yes, there are countries with less gun violence that have less church attendance, because there is no freedom of religion, and the state prohibits the free practice of religion. Violence occurs, but it is by the state against their own citizens. Is that how far your own "rhetoric" wants to go in your anti-religion views?

Posted by Nick, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 7, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Guns, undiagnosed or untreated mental illness, and evil.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 7, 2019 at 6:21 pm

Too much is known about mental illness to accept the distortion that "undiagnosed and untreated mental illness" leads to or causes gun violence...the killing innocent people.

President Trump and his horrific suggestions that it's OK to kill Mexican Americans, and other innocent racial/ethnic groups is the basis of the nightmare that many Americans are experiencing.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Aug 8, 2019 at 12:55 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

"Too much is known about mental illness to accept the distortion that "undiagnosed and untreated mental illness" leads to or causes gun violence...the killing innocent people."

Because anyone who would kill another human being for no reason at all is a completely sane, rational person.

Yes...the sarcasm is positively dripping from my comment.

I wish PW hadn't changed their rules for discourse on these blogs...the above quote is beyond vile.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 9, 2019 at 8:32 am

FYI: Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 9, 2019 at 8:37 am

This article in Lancet may be useful to readers: Web Link

Posted by Jocelyn , a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Aug 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm

I agree Tim.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 9, 2019 at 7:42 pm

What exctly do you disagree with Jocelyn?

Posted by Bill, a resident of another community,
on Aug 9, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Guns and mental illness are the cause of these mass shootings. It's been happening for years, we're just more exposed to it - thanks to cable news and social media. It has gotten worse. It's got going to get any better any time soon.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Aug 10, 2019 at 11:59 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

People and mental illness are the cause of mass shootings. The gun is the instrument, just like a knife:Web Link

Safe link to AP.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Aug 10, 2019 at 12:01 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

BTW I should have explained. The link is an article about a MASS killing perpetrated last week that killed 4 people and wounded 2. The instrument used was a knife.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 10, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Guns and Mental Illness: Web Link

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 9:11 pm

I agree that it's mental illness and guns. People couldn't do mass shootings without a gun. Gun enthusiasts that try to take guns out of the equation are illogical.

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