Monday, July 28, 2008

Courage in Knoxville

This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy's motives for
creating a dangerous world—a world in which moral issues
really come to the point. He sees as well as you do that
courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of
every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point
of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which
yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on
conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.

-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
(which are written from the perspective of a devil, therefore "the enemy" referred to is God)

I join the rest of my blogosphere in thinking about the shooting at the UU church in Knoxville yesterday, but I find my thoughts centered on Greg McKendry, who died shielding the congregation's children with his body. Like Screwtape, I think about courage a lot. I wish I had more of it, and I wish I were certain that I would do the right thing in desperate circumstances.

One UU did, and I hope we don't forget him for a long time.

who can't go to the service the UU church of Rockville is having because of school, but will be there in spirit.

Ps. Here's another insightful column about the tragedy.


Bill Baar said...

No one can be certain CC. It's a question we ought to ask of ourselves though.

Comrade Kevin said...

Could have happened at any UU church, yes, but there's always been a kind of darkness about East Tennessee that makes me say to myself, "I'm not surprised it happened there."

Bill Baar said...

Happens all the time CK... all over.. a week before I leave for Iraq my son is next store to shooting at Northern Illinois University. Then a few days later copycat threatens my daughter's high school with a Dekalb repeat shooting.

My daughter's French Teacher had a daughter in the classroom the shooter struck at NIU too, and the Teacher asked my daughter's thoughts about counseling for her own daughter. (Who's still having problems today...her classmate shot dead in the head seated next to her in class).

It's totally bizarre to go to a combat zone and listen to your kids backhome talk about lockdown training at their schools.

They've experienced repeated threats over the years, we talk about what to do with them.. and sometimes it happens.

Our Minister sent an email last night and my wife's response was our kids know what to do in these circumstances.

Most people are posting about taking care of kids, but the weird thing is I think kids (at least my experience) are getting training on violence and coping with it. It's become standard issue training in Chicago metro schools at least.

Anonymous said...

The gunman turns out not to be a complete stranger to the UU congregation: his ex-wife had been a member. She divorced him eight years before when he threatened to kill her.

Bill Baar said...

Well Art...careful of emotional thinking... there are a lot of people out there with guns and people need to be a litte situationally aware.

This was story at a Catholic Church near me last month. A stranger showed up for Mass with concealed handgun.

The story stuck in my mind because the usher noticed the gun tucked in the waistband and notified a fellow parishoner who was a cop. The cop took communion with the guy then mentioned to the guy I see your gun, you gotta come with me...

As a sometimes usher at Church that story stuck with me and I wondered what I would do in similar circumstance.

My Church voted against sending anyone to Fort Launderdale over the ID cards thing, yet we have all this violence going on around us and I think we need to pay a little attention to protecting ourselves.

My kids certainly get this training at school and as I mentioned before have sadly had to use it in shootings. It's a reality and we need to prepare rationally for it.

Don Thieme said...

Down here in Georgia we allow folks to pack a piece to church. They just cannot fire it off. Then we have the right to take it away from them, just like Greg McKendry did.