re Church Shootings in Colorado

I just knew they’d come out of the woodwork eventually. You blow someone away and then you thank God?

Jeanne Assam who has several years experience in law enforcement and carried her personal weapon when working as a plain-clothes security volunteer at the Sunday service, had this to say:

“I give credit to God,” Assam, 42, said.

“God was with me.”

I think Assam should have said: ‘I give credit to Mr Colt .45’ ‘Mr Smith & Wesson was with me’

WTF?

…there were 15 to 20 security people at the church…

The poor gunman didn’t stand a chance! So its perfectly normal to have 15 to 20 armed (at least one was, so I’m guessing so were the others) security guards wandering around a church?

from an article on ninemsn,

Or as someone said to me:

Depending on how you want to twist the facts, you could say that either ‘god’ killed several people, or he saved some! Or maybe it was just people behind it after all.

It was probably fortuitous that the church had an armed security officer, as by all accounts the gunman, Matthew Murray, was heavily armed, and Assam probably saved many lives. But to ‘thank god’ just doesn’t seem right to me.

 

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Advertisements

22 Comments

Filed under atheism, atheist, christianity, colorado shooting, religion

22 responses to “re Church Shootings in Colorado

  1. kip

    A lot of store security guards are “packin’ heat”. I guess God is looking over their shoulders all the time. Oh, did I say “store”? I meant “church”…

  2. onemorecup

    G’day!

    Ah! How I miss my first home, Aussie, and soon enough I’ll be back home. Be that as it may your post is humiliating to all of us dispersed abroad.

    First up—respect mate…plain and simple, respect for other people. Atheism in and of itself is a belief system. Yet, far be it from me to go and publicly through salt in anyone’s wound. Please, I implore you to explain this rationale to me: “I just knew they’d come out of the woodwork eventually. You blow someone away and then you thank God?”

    Could you please enlighten me pursuant to who ‘they’ are, and what ‘woodwork’ they’re coming out of; moreover, no single person ever stated, ‘yeah, I blew the bloke away and thank you so much God.’ That is just plain cold. Furthermore, God didn’t kill anyone; however, God may have inspired and given Jeanne Assam the courage (through her training) to act in the manner which she did.

    Think of being at a medium sized concert say approximately 8,000—10,000 people in attendance. Even if there were 15 to 20 security guards on duty do you think they’d be real effective given the odds of 500 to 1? Didn’t think so. You apparently misunderstood the news report: they have about 15 to 20 security guards at the campus—mate, the place is huge, but not all at one time. Moreover, not all of them are licensed to carry firearms.

    With all due-respect to you please be of a sensitive nature, especially when considering some parents lost two daughters—both teenagers, boyfriends lost girlfriends, and families and friends saw their own murdered.

  3. People often thank god when the do something they are not proud of – like killing another man. It helps them avoid accepting responsibility for their actions (IMHO).

  4. Do some research my friend. The gunman’s death has been ruled a suicide.

    And since when has it become un-Chrisitian to protect a large open building with multiple entrances?

    Yes malls have security, banks have security, movie theatres, airports, schools, you name it. As was proved Sunday churches need security. Would you be offended if the security had been at a mosque or temple?

    I attend a small church in Colorado Springs. No where near the scale of New Life. But we do have security. And while that may be one of the few things that we have in common with the congregation at New Life I can tell you this:

    The people that I know that attend there are lovin, kind and respectful of everyone they meet

  5. It just seems that’s what people do. If a fortunate situation happens they think it must be something supernatural. It couldn’t be that I trained for years for such an encounter. God must have helped me.

    Even though as it turns out she didn’t fire the fatal bullets, Assam is a hero, and many would be humbled by that I think.

  6. after some research
    http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/12/11/colorado.shootings/index.html
    “It should be noted that he was struck multiple times by the security officer, which put him down. He then fired a single round killing himself,” the statement said.

    for an article which says much the same as what I was inferring (about god not having anything to do with it), but a lot more eloquently, read this:
    http://badidea.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/why-is-gods-grace-exactly-like-no-grace-colorado-church-shootings-and-atheists-grieving/trackback/

  7. Iranian Ajax

    I think when it comes down to it, the meat and potatoes of the story is that someone in a Church had training, a fire arm (and training to use that firearm), and she acted.

    Simple as that. Now you want to bring God and atheism into it, hey that is cool. But the facts – the ones that count – don’t change.

    Whether this makes a case for everyone to carry a firearm is debatable. Not saying it will and not saying it won’t.

    If you want to carry, that is great: but just realize that just because the 2nd Amendment says you can, doesn’t mean that you can. Every right has a corresponding responsibility.

    That is my two cents

  8. Onemorecup,

    You speaking for all Australian’s abroad mate? I met many absolute wankers who have done much better jobs of giving Aussies a bad name overseas.

    What is so offensive about Ozatheist’s post. He got some facts wrong yes and he dug deeper into the story in the comments section.

    Yes this is a terrible tragedy, one that may have been avoided if we had a more caring society.

    Oz’s main point though was that the woman thanked God, credited him in fact with helping her kill another individual. Now if I’d been in that church I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way(unless taking him out peacefully would have been an option).

    Oz indirectly points out that it was a gun and her experience with it that saved the day.

    The irony that God did not act to turn this gentleman away from committing his act of violence , in a church no less, before they occurred is lost on you?

    So maybe this is a little too close to the event and everyone will get riled up. But if those people in the church took more notice of individuals like this shooter before they get to this point maybe we wouldn’t have 5 deaths on our news screens.

  9. wineymomma,

    Read what Oz says again. He never stated it was unchristian to have security. Indeed I think that the size of the church is probably not immediately evident to Australians as we don’t really have mega churches here.

    I don’t imagine OZ wound be offended if Mosques had security but in Australia we don’t generally require it, in any of our religious buildings.

    Nowhere did Oz say that the congregation weren’t loving, kind and respectful

  10. Iranian Ajax,

    I agree she had training and experience and it paid off. Oz didn’t bring god into it, the security guard is quoted above and that’s what we are talking about.

    No where does Oz bring Atheism into it.

  11. Oh and before I go Atheism is not a belief system. What it has to do with the topic I don’t know.

    So all of you exercise some respect yourselves and take the logs out of your own eyes and criticise Oz explicitly on the areas in which his reporting is faulty(as some have done) and don’t erect strawmen on which to vent you anger or sadness.

  12. onemorecup

    Sean:

    I find it an admirable trait in a person to come to the aid and defense of someone who comes under attack. Yet, most of my learned colleagues both here in the USA, and down under, have the ability to read and understand what they are reading; moreover, during their reasoned responses to anything—the response is, of course, delivered with diplomacy. Aussie’s are known for that decorum and courtesy. I find that you and Oz are of the worst sort.

    Moreover, in the vernacular of ‘you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’ I must say that your response(s) are anything but reasoned, and definitely lack seasoning, bordering on just plain foolish.

    Dude, what is exactly your point? A person writes a post and makes a statement. Some details are wrong (admittedly so, by you) and I give a lot of credit to Oz for going back and correcting his original response. Notwithstanding anything else, I found his post to be lacking in sensitivity. Writing is a completely different means of communication. What sounds okay verbally, at times, will fail miserably in writing. Check it out:

    “I just knew they’d come out of the woodwork eventually. You blow someone away and then you thank God?” Now as in my first response: [who are ‘they’d’ and what woodwork are they coming out of?] Answer that one, then try this one, if you can:
    [I think Assam should have said: ‘I give credit to Mr Colt .45′ ‘Mr Smith & Wesson was with me’] That’s the spirit mate! Act like an real assho$e, be a great ambassador for your country. My question is very plain and simple: [What’s up with that rubbish? ] And then we get: “WTF?” What’s that about?

    And I have given you, Sean, about as much time as I’m willing to give any uneducated bloke. Have you been to Oz’s blog? That is where the reference vis-a-vie ‘atheism’ comes from, dickhead. Now butthead, shut-up and color! (Sorry, it’s you giving Aussie’s a bad name…as usual.) Onelastthing, if atheism is not a belief system, then what exactly is it?

    OMC

  13. To onemorecup, and anyone else who deserves it:

    That’s the trouble with blogs, you say something in writing and it doesn’t come across as clear as when you thought or said it. There is also the difficulty of brevity, people often don’t have the time or inclination to write sufficiently long and informed articles to ensure there is no possibility for anyone mistaking what was trying to be conveyed. Also, people often don’t want to read a long blog.

    My post was not intended to be explicitly sensitive (I think I was quite sensitive in this blog); I am human and feel empathy for my fellow human beings. I feel sad and sorry that innocent people were killed and that, from what I can gather, the killer Mathew Murray needed, but didn’t get, some sort of medical/psychiatric help. However the quote “I give credit to God” seemed incongruous to me which is why I wrote the original blog.

    As someone who doesn’t believe in any gods, to me anyone who thanks God for achieving something is denying their own capabilities. As I already stated, it was made clear in the original article on ninemsn that Assam had training in law enforcement, and I therefore concluded training in firearms, so theoretically she was competently trained and capable of doing what she did without any outside influence.

    To answer the ‘who are they and what woodwork’ ‘they’ are the people who thank God for just about anything. The ‘woodwork’ is a colloquial term meaning: to appear suddenly (usually said about someone who was not invited or wanted). When I first heard of the shooting I just knew someone would come out and say “thank God” for the one positive thing that happened. But, and here is the big but, – that religious people often seem to have a problem with – where was God when the other people were killed? Wouldn’t it have been better to have thanked God that Assam shot Murray before he had a chance to shoot the two sisters? It is a problem I see (as do a lot of other people) of selective thanks, you thank God for saving the one person in a plane crash that killed hundreds of others but you don’t blame God for letting those hundreds of others die. Maybe that one survivor was just lucky.
    The difference is I don’t see any evidence in a god assisting in anything, so why thank one?

    Thanks for calling me an asshole, that’s a polite way to win an argument. I don’t know how to make this plainer than my original blog was, but I’ll try again.

    Assam thanked God for shooting someone; in my opinion (and quite a few others from what I’ve read on the net) it wasn’t god that assisted her it was a weapon and her training. In what I thought was a humorous, if a bit sarcastic, tone I changed her quotes about God to quotes about the weapon she may have used.

    I know it may be difficult for religious readers, but try this little thought experiment. Imagine there is NO God then try and read this.
    < no god >
    If God hadn’t helped her, because there is no god – bear with me this is a thought experiment – then what had? Can you answer that?

    I’ll answer it for you – a weapon and training. Simple as that, nothing more. Can you now imagine why I said what I originally said?
    < /no god >
    (some light hearted html humour)

    By the way I think I am (as is Sean) being a great ambassador for my country. Our country is not a religious theocracy and we have relative freedom of speech. This blog is, in its small way, trying to be a place where religion is held up to in a critical light, sometimes in clear concise non-threatening way, sometimes in a humourous way, sometimes in a sarcastic way. But I’m free to use what ever method I choose, sure some are not as conducive as others to get the message across, but I think I am showing to the world that Australians are free to criticise religion if they think it needs criticising.

    The WTF (I assume you know what that acronym means?), well here in Australia it is seen as fairly light-hearted way of asking a question about something that seems a bit odd (see the Rove TV show for example). I grew up in a time when all churches always had their door open to anyone, often with no one around (some still are, including the very beautiful cathedral where I live) and the closest thing to a bouncer/security guard was the person at the door handing the hymn books out. So to me it seemed a bit odd to have 15-20 security guards at the church (by the way onemorecup, I think you were wrong in your first comment, the article I quoted clearly states: “Boyd said there were 15 to 20 security people at the church” – to me that meant at the church at the time. Also your odds are about –face: the odds aren’t number of security to number of attendees, but number of security to number of attackers, in this case 15-20 to 1). So I asked the question (note there was a question mark at the end of the paragraph). I expected someone to reply and explain and it was pointed out that the church was very large and that they had beefed up security due to the earlier shooting, I can live with that. Though I still find it odd that a church would need security, security is needed for one of two reasons:
    1. To keep unwanted elements out. In this case it very obviously paid off; as if Assam hadn’t shot Murray he may well have killed many more innocent people. But I can’t imagine this is a regular occurrence? Perhaps theft and vandalism are rife in that area, I don’t know. All I do know is here in Australia there doesn’t seem to be a need for any security guards at churches. (I haven’t been to every church in Australia, so maybe some of them do have security guards?) I do know that some churches have security systems, alarms, video surveillance, etc, but this is mainly to prevent theft and vandalism.
    2. To keep attendees under control. Even if 10,000 people are in attendance I wouldn’t have thought they’d need security guards, don’t Christians behave themselves?

    One last thing, reply as often, and as much, as you want; but don’t always expect a reply. This doesn’t mean you ‘won’ the argument, it could just mean I couldn’t be bothered to reply.
    Have a look as Black Sun’s latest blog about comments for some other good reasons why.

    As I hit the submit button I just know someone will find some chink in my argument and come back with, what they think, is a clever response.
    a) It probably isn’t
    b) I don’t care

  14. seantheblogonaut

    OMC wrote:

    I find it an admirable trait in a person to come to the aid and defense of someone who comes under attack. Yet, most of my learned colleagues both here in the USA, and down under, have the ability to read and understand what they are reading; moreover, during their reasoned responses to anything—the response is, of course, delivered with diplomacy. Aussie’s are known for that decorum and courtesy. I find that you and Oz are of the worst sort.

    Me:

    Why thank you for the compliment. Oz is capable of defending himself. I was inspired to respond to the comments left, as I felt that they were drifting away from the point of Oz’s post and I was on a roll – writing and thinking excites me.

    So you believe me to be un-diplomatic and discourteous? Where exactly? Was it the reference to masturbators? Did you think I was calling you a one eyed trouser snake tamer?

    My good Sir, I did nothing of the sort. I merely meant to point out that I have witnessed many of my countrymen and women that are more deserving of your condemnation.

    Humiliation, hardly!

    OMC wrote:

    Moreover, in the vernacular of ‘you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’ I must say that your response(s) are anything but reasoned, and definitely lack seasoning, bordering on just plain foolish.

    Me:

    So I should be politely rude like your good self? As to my reasoning please point out my lack of reasoning and I will clarify. I do enjoy educating myself.

    OMC:

    Dude, what is exactly your point? A person writes a post and makes a statement. Some details are wrong (admittedly so, by you) and I give a lot of credit to Oz for going back and correcting his original response. Notwithstanding anything else, I found his post to be lacking in sensitivity.

    My point, seeing that it is apparently beyond you comprehension, in particular relation to your post is, that:

    • You appointed yourself as the voice of Australia abroad and were rudely condescending in tone.

    • I asked how Oz was being insensitive? Received no answer (you have since pointed out what you find to be offensive).

    OMC:

    Writing is a completely different means of communication.

    Me:

    Really? Are you aware of how condescending you appear to be? Are you aware that you should be careful in reading tone into the written word?

    OMC:

    What sounds okay verbally, at times, will fail miserably in writing. Check it out:
    “I just knew they’d come out of the woodwork eventually. You blow someone away and then you thank God?” Now as in my first response: [who are ‘they’d’ and what woodwork are they coming out of?] Answer that one, then try this one, if you can:
    [I think Assam should have said: ‘I give credit to Mr Colt .45′ ‘Mr Smith & Wesson was with me’] That’s the spirit mate! Act like an real assho$e, be a great ambassador for your country. My question is very plain and simple: [What’s up with that rubbish? ] And then we get: “WTF?” What’s that about?

    Me:

    Oz has addressed the above so I’ll leave this alone.

    OMC:

    And I have given you, Sean, about as much time as I’m willing to give any uneducated bloke.

    Me:

    You elitist snob. I find this statement utterly shameful, where is the prized Australian “egalitarianism”. It’s not evident in your writing.

    As to my education, what brought you to the conclusion that I am uneducated? I use some colourful language? My replies are short and succinct? I write in “Plain English” so that my writing receives the broadest possible understanding and my thoughts are put across? Oh and this is a blog, not a journal/ or periodical.

    OMC:

    Have you been to Oz’s blog?

    Me:

    Yes.

    OMC:

    That is where the reference vis-a-vie ‘atheism’ comes from, dickhead.

    Me:

    Careful there my good friend, people might think you belong with the hired help. Oz’s atheism was not central to the post topic. I have to question why you brought it up and rather oddly inserted the statement that Atheism is a belief system.

    Here is a link to a site that might be a good place for you to educate yourself as to what Atheism is:

    http://atheism.about.com/od/definitionofatheism/p/AtheismReligion.htm

    OMC:

    Now butthead, shut-up and color! (Sorry, it’s you giving Aussie’s a bad name…as usual.)

    Me:
    So sugar coating your insults makes it okay? You can call me what you like. Let it out.

    Too the point of being insensitive: this is a blog, not a national broadcast. You have to come here looking for the information. I doubt that those most closely affected by the tragedy will come here to discuss what is, essentially, a side issue.

    Thank you OMC for condemning me after one post.

    Very generous, very Australian.

  15. seantheblogonaut

    Please forgive my typo’s I am uneducated 😉

  16. seantheblogonaut

    It has also come to my attention that “Politely Rude” is contradictory and redundant. Oh I wonder if OMC can battle through and understand what I am trying to say there?

    It’s the education system you see(blame the system , take no responsibility).

  17. Pingback: no post today « Oz Atheist’s Weblog

  18. Sean, careful with all these comments, he’s going to think you’re sticking up for me again.

    I can fight my own battles, he says, coming out swinging. 🙂 🙂

  19. When I thank God for giving me the ability to do something yes it is giving God the credit for my accomplishments because that is part of my belief system. Wherein lies the need to bring up Oz’s system of belief. When I have a conversation with someone I like to be informed about their beliefs even though it isn’t completely necessary.

    Thank you Oz for correcting your info on the shooters cause of death.

    Also thank you for taking into consideration the info on the size of the church. At this particular service there were over 7000 people. Your points about security at a church are well taken. Since this event occurred in th US and not in your beautiful country I hope you can understand that in America currently things are different. I grew up in a small town and attended a tiny church in the mountains. In order for our church to comply with all of the regulations that are put on a public building we had to purchase insurance (silly, I know but the laws of man…) To purchase this insurance we were required by the company to lock our doors for the first time ever. This was and is totally offensive to my family but we cannot always stick our heads in the sand and deny the world condition. I do not have figures but I can feel fairly confident in saying that such a large entity as New Life receives several threats a year. Do the lock their doors to keep everyone out? or do they hire trained professionals so that they can continue their work?

    Where was God? God was holding back the nearly 7000 other people that could have gotten injured.

    Where was God? He was and is there for me.

    Do I expect you to believe what I believe? Absolutely not.

    Do I respect you as a fellow human being? Absolutely so.

    Thanks for allowing me to continue in the discussion. This is not about winning for me. It is about thinking and stretching my thinking to be able to communicate with other human beings. Not just people with my beliefs.

  20. Wineymomma

    Thank you for your reply, if they were all as clear, concise and to the point as yours then perhaps there would be less confusion, disagreements and name calling on these blogs.

    Good point about the insurance and building regulations, it is sad that the world has come to the situation that these sorts of regulations are required.

    I respect you for being humble enough to accept that our beliefs are different.

  21. seantheblogonaut

    Wineymomma,

    That was a well written response. I will respectfully agree to disagree with you on God. But on a lot of other topics I am sure we would agree.

    Sean

  22. An update on security, and the difference between America and Australia.

    There was an article in the SMH the other day about our new Prime Minister’s religiousness. Of note, was the fact that there were only two bodyguards at his church.

    How different is that? An ‘ordinary’ church in America can have greater security than a church our political leader attends!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s