Christian Chronicle

‘The mass shooting that would end mass shootings’ didn’t

For some Christians, the recent attacks in Buffalo, N.Y.; Uvalde, Texas; and elsewhere rekindle painful memories.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

When a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, Seth Terrell was a 21-year-old campus minister for the nearby Blacksburg Church of Christ.

Freshly graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., with a double-major in Bible and history, Terrell suddenly faced the biggest challenge of his young ministry career.

Fifteen years later, he still recalls the helplessness he felt — along with the hope that the southwestern Virginia community’s tragedy would bring real change.

“Part of me just felt like it was the mass shooting that would end mass shootings,” said Terrell, now a 37-year-old father of two. “I think I was just a lot more hopeful and optimistic then, and I just felt like that was just such a dark and grotesque shooting.”

Related: After yet another mass shooting, Tulsa church grieves, reflects: Is there a solution?

But since then, other death counts have eclipsed that of the Virginia Tech massacre — then the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. 

In 2016, 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. The next year, 58 died at a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nev.

Just in recent weeks, a string of shootings has claimed the lives of 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.; 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; and — just one example of other attacks nationwide — two doctors, a receptionist and a clinic visitor at a medical office in Tulsa, Okla.

Like Terrell, Jessica Knapp keeps praying for an end to the senseless bloodshed.

Knapp was the part-time youth minister for the since-closed Mountain Avenue Church of Christ in Tucson, Ariz., when a gunman opened fire on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords outside a local supermarket in 2011. 

Read the full story.

This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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