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“Shootings Remind Us No Place Truly Safe”—“Virginia Tech Violence Shatters Sense of Security for Peaceful Town”—these and other news headlines appeared soon after the April 16 carnage at Virginia Tech.
Cho Seung-Hui, a loner since childhood, had stalked two fellow university students. After police were brought in, Cho voluntarily admitted himself into a mental health facility, but was released shortly afterwards. His instructors and classmates noticed signs indicating something was not quite right with him: his disturbed writings, his lack of social interaction, his fascination with death and killing.
Yet, despite the stalking incidents, despite the signs of a psychotic mind at work, despite the authorities determining that Cho was a risk to himself and others, despite the mental health counseling he received, Cho was still able to legally purchase two handguns. Firearms he used to murder 32 people.
Interviewed by the Akron Beacon Journal, a national expert in crisis management said, “To prepare for a single gunman on campus is impossible. When you see shootings in courthouses, you realize that you can have heightened security with many layers, and the gunman still can get through.”
Another expert stated the best that authorities can achieve is to prevent shooting sprees from escalating to an even bigger disaster.
In an article by the Voice of America News, a long-term resident of Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech, said, “We assumed the town was a safe place, that our university was a safe place. And that morning all of our assumptions were shattered.”
Courtrooms, airports and even public schools have electronic security checkpoints. Yet even state-of-the-art technology and other sophisticated security measures cannot stop every deranged individual who is bent on unleashing a killing spree.
In March 2005, Brian Nichols escaped from his holding cell in Atlanta’s Fulton County courthouse, overpowering a sheriff’s deputy and taking her sidearm. He then entered the private chambers of Judge Rowland W. Barnes, where he overpowered another deputy, also taking his weapon.
From there, Nichols entered the courtroom from the rear and shot the judge in the back of the head, killing him. Nichols then fatally shot a court reporter and killed a pursuing deputy outside the courtroom.
Making his escape outside, Nichols carjacked a tow truck and then hijacked a car from a newspaper reporter, pistol-whipping him into submission. While on the run, he allegedly called the Fulton County district attorney’s office and threatened to kill an assistant DA. Nichols is suspected of murdering a U.S. Customs Agent in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, taking his badge, pistol and pickup truck.
Only after holding a woman hostage for several hours in her own apartment did Brian Nichols’s reign of terror end, as he surrendered to local and federal authorities.
It seems that despite all the precautions taken, this and other sobering scenes of deadly mayhem—such as the September 11 attacks and the Virginia Tech massacre—leave one to ask, Is anyone truly safe?
Only days after the shootings, several bomb threats were made on schools from elementary level to colleges across the nation. Were any legitimate? How many other disgruntled loners are secretly among the public, waiting to detonate into random bloodshed?
Nations such as Iraq experience waves of deadly violence nearly on a daily basis. Just days after the Virginia university killings, almost 200 Iraqis lost their lives in bombing attacks.
The Bible speaks of a time when the descendant nations of the modern-day house of Israel—primarily the American and British peoples—will experience such mass murder, daily atrocities that will increase in number and intensity.
“You mountains [nations or governments] of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God…Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places [centers of religious worship]. And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. And I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished. And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek. 6:3-7).
“Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of any of theirs: neither shall there be wailing for them. The time is come, the day draws near…The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him. But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity. All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water. They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity…My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it. Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled. Destruction comes; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none” (Ezek. 7:11-12, 15-17, 19, 22-25)
This prophetic time of daily bloodshed draws near for the birthright nations of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and others. The domestic peace and security generations had experienced and grew to take for granted will disappear, replaced by unimaginable carnage.
God’s Word offers the only possible escape—the ultimate security and protection anyone can gain: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place” (Jer. 7:3).
But amend our “doings” how?—in what way?
“For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if you oppress not the stranger [foreigner], the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt…Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom you know not; and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (vs. 6-10).
In other words, stop breaking God’s Law—His commandments, statutes and judgments—and hypocritically claiming to worship Him, with traditions of men steeped in idolatry and pagan rituals!
Ancient Israel claimed to serve God, but did so through idolatrous worship and copying the lascivious practices of their surrounding nations. As a result, God eventually sent them into national captivity.
Ancient Judah failed to learn from Israel’s mistake, thinking that as long as they had Solomon’s Temple and continued a show of religion they would be safe from God’s wrath. They were wrong. The Temple was destroyed and Judah also went into captivity.
God said, “Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, says the Lord. But go you now unto My place which was in Shiloh [the house of Israel’s place of worship], where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel…Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by My name, wherein you trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh” (vs. 11-12, 14).
The modern descendants of Israel are known for their show of religious fervor. But God sees through the hypocrisy, and has long witnessed the widespread corrupt ways of the birthright nations. He declares, “The land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence” (Ezek. 7:23). And for this, punishment comes.
But those who “amend their ways” now need not bear the full force of God’s future wrath. For them, safety will be certain: “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live” (Ezek. 18:31-32).