An Open Letter to the Shooter

iPad in a camper
“Writing in TOW-Wanda”

While the world recoils in horror at the havoc you have wrought, I want you to know something. I have tears for the terribly tragic loss of these beautiful people you have cut down who will never have the opportunity to reach their potential. But, believe it or not, I have tears for you, too. While those parents prepare to lay their babies to rest, I wonder if there’s anyone there for you. Because I have a feeling there hasn’t been…probably for a very, very long time.

I don’t know you. We are just beginning to get some details about who you are. I know you were adopted. I know your adopted father died several years ago and your adopted mother died in November. Your teachers tried to help from as far back as sixth grade. I heard the impassioned speech one of your former classmates made. She said they always knew there was something wrong.

I don’t know your whole story. I know you were adopted as an infant. But, I’d be willing to bet any amount of money that you were quiet and shy as a young child. Awkward. You didn’t fit in. You were bullied. You were never picked to be on the team. You were labeled as that weird kid. You didn’t get invited to birthday parties and sleepovers. You were lonely, sad, depressed and isolated, I can just about guarantee that. And you were angry. You lashed out with little self control.

Did you ever have someone to hold you and rock you and tell you how much you were loved? Did you have someone to take you to church and teach you about how much Jesus loves you? You had mental health issues and teachers tried and tried tried to help. But you somehow fell through the cracks.

I know this isn’t going to be the most popular post right now because moms and dads are putting their children in the ground as we speak. People are angry. People are crying out for change and somehow there needs to be change. If you never had access to those guns while you were in such pain, I can pretty much guarantee there would be seventeen families enjoying each other’s company tonight instead of trying to figure out how to keep on living. I don’t know how we could have prevented this tragedy but we as a nation need to figure it out. Now…before it happens again. Because…it WILL happen again.

While I cry for those who are in pain tonight, I shed tears for you as well. I’m so sorry you felt this was your only way to be heard. I’m sorry you didn’t get the help you needed. I’m sorry you didn’t know how to find your way back from the abyss. I’m sorry you lost hope. I know you are broken, and you will never walk free in the sunshine again. You won’t get married and have babies and vacations and grow old in a job you love and look forward to retirement. This is the price you will pay for the choices you made. There’s nothing that can be done about that. But I want you to know something….and this I know beyond a shadow of a doubt.

God loves you.

God STILL loves you. And so do I. You wanna know why? Because the God I know loves ALL of his children…equally. He loves you exactly the same way as he loves me and your mom and the policemen who captured you and your attorney and the judge and all the moms and dads and students of that school in Florida. Who can you think of that’s really, really good? The Pope? Mother Teresa? Billy Graham? Joel Osteen? Our Father in heaven doesn’t love you one bit less than he loves them. God hates the sin…but he loves the sinner.

That doesn’t mean you won’t be judged. You will…by the court of man and the court of God. But you can be forgiven. If you haven’t already, you can ask Jesus into your life and I promise you will never be alone again. You will always have someone who loves you. So, while I pray for those families your actions shattered, I will also be praying for you. I will pray that you seek shelter with God. I will pray that you get the help you need. I pray that you will talk to God every hour, every day, for the rest of your life.

A spirit of forgiveness is a noble thing. I hope those to whom you transgressed will someday find it in their hearts to forgive you. For their own benefit as much as anything. It is the hardest thing to wrap our minds around when some sins seem so much worse than others. God’s heart is broken over this, yet he still loves you. Always has, always will. ❤

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:6-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬