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Online Reactions to Attack Say Bad Things About Us

On Tuesday, a 20-year-old student wounded at least 14 people with a knife at Lone Star College in Cypress, Texas. No one died, but several were seriously injured in the attack. Yet reaction to the story across Facebook put some of the worst of us on display for the rest of the world to see, as some chose to focus on the gun control debate instead.

Normally, when such a tragic thing happens, people immediately chime in with messages offering “prayers for the victims.”

Not this time. There were some of those, but in most cases, they were buried down the list.

Before I go any further, I want to point out something important: I don’t believe in using generalizations in arguments. By definition, they ignore individual feelings and seek instead to group people together, at times unfairly. However, it’s worth pointing out that some Christians happen to be Republicans, and happen to be proponents of the Second Amendment to the Constitution and are therefore involved in the fight against gun control. Not all, it’s important to note, but there is crossover there.

How disappointing it was, then, to see that people were immediately ignoring the victims of the tragedy completely, with silly statements like:

“Now Obama is going to try to take our knives away.”

Fourteen people wounded by a knife-wielding man — presumably a classmate — and that’s the first thing they think of. And even worse, it’s the first thing they choose to actually say.

A few other of these gun control opponents used the situation to attack (surprise, surprise) the media. I saw snarky comments about what kind of coverage to expect, along the lines of asking whether we should expect day-long coverage of this event like that of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. If people had died, networks probably would have broken in to programming; fortunately, no one did. Even so, attacking the media is the first thing that comes to our mind when 14 people get wounded in a knife attack?

What none of the gun enthusiasts mentioned in their non-victim-related commentary was the fact that the attacker was subdued without a gun. Maybe they hoped that if they were snarky enough, no one would notice that part.

Even if one is not inclined to pray, he can still offer “hopes for quick recovery” to the victims and make that the first priority. All it takes is the decision for us to get over ourselves and our own agenda long enough to think about someone else for twenty seconds.

That shouldn’t be too much to ask.

When we have this kind of shocking violence and we’re this quick to ignore the victims at the center of it, we can’t really be surprised that there is so much violence in our society. In fact, we should expect more of the same than we have.


  1. I guess they also missed the little detail that the 14 people were wounded, meaning not killed. If the same guy had chosen a gun instead of a knife, the tally might be somewhat different.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.