Fear in a Place of Peace

Photo Courtesy: Eric Gay/Associated Press
First responders join in prayer following a Veterans Day event on Nov. 11, 2017, near the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church.

Victoria Jordan/Staff Reporter

On Sunday, Nov. 5, a total of 26 people were reported dead and another 20 wounded. A gunman opened fire during service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. This church massacre makes it the deadliest shooting in Texas since Oct. 16, 1991.  On Wednesday, the Texas Department of Public Safety released the names of the victims. The list included ten women, seven men, eight children, and the unborn child of one of the victims. The gunman was also reported dead after his car crashed while escaping from the scene with a witness trailing behind him. Reports state that Kelley was convicted on two counts of domestic abuse against his ex-wife and stepson in 2012. He was later released from the Air Force with a bad conduct discharge in 2014. Under federal law, that should have prevented him from having firearms. The Air Force admitted on Monday that they had failed to forward information about him to the national databases used for gun purchase background checks. This made him eligible to purchase guns including the one used in the church shooting. In addition to the Charleston church shooting in 2015, the Texas shooting awakens a new period where the connection between religion and safety is questioned. A church, a temple, a synagogue, a mosque, all are places for religious worship. Being within these sacred buildings are supposed to fuel feelings of happiness, security, curiosity, love, and hope. However, the outcome of recent events has caused the only emotion to be fear. Fear of dying young from the trigger of one gun. Your future toward prosperity is stunted, and your life story is told in an obituary. Fear of being persecuted for believing in something greater than yourself. Fearing those around you, not knowing if your religious brothers and sisters are a true enemy. Because of this looming fear we are left with a feeling of emptiness and numbness.  From lessons told out of the religious texts such as the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, and Vedas, when in the presence of fear we need to rely on our religious belief the most. With this strong reliance, we are not overwhelmed with anxiety about the unknown, we can trust those around us, and we can have hope in the good of humanity.