‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
….. is that good men do nothing’ (Edmund Burke)
Yesterday began like most days. Breakfast of hot sausage and a bagel with butter. OK – not the most healthy. But hey, sometimes I have hot sausage and Special K J. But today was not as usual. Evil happened. Yes, evil, murder and mayhem, chaos, immense heartache. And our first responders were caught right in the middle of the events.
OFFICER KILLED, SECOND OFFICER SHOT – CRITICAL
Then a call came from our State FOP President, Johnny Crumby. “Rob, an officer was shot and killed in Memphis and another officer was shot and critical.” Soon I was in touch with Memphis PD’s Director’s office offering any help we can provide. I emailed out a request for prayer for the slain officers family and for the recovery of the other officer. These Homeland Heroes were serving a warrant on a drug case and were shot.
In Memphis, officers and their families mourn the loss of one of their own, and pray for their officer who survived. While serving a drug warrant. Chief Tony Armstrong reported that “Officer Lang died from her injuries and Officer Vromah, who was struck multiple times was in stable condition at the Regional Medical Center. Officer Lang leaves behind four children. Killed by a druggie. The 21-year old suspect was shot, but hospitalized. Read more
26 KILLED INCLUDING 20 CHILDREN
Before lunch, even more tragedy hit. Fox News reported – “The shooter, who sources told FoxNews.com was 20-year-old Adam Lanza, and had ties to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He was found dead inside the school, according to officials. A source told Fox News that the shooter’s mother and father, who were divorced, were also killed. His mother, who taught at the school, and her entire kindergarten classroom were killed at the school. Eighteen of the children were dead at the school and two more died later, according to Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance.” Other reports say the shooter entered his mother’s classroom and shot her along with all of her students, then left the room and shot others. Read more
SO HOW CAN WE RESPOND?
Already talk of gun control is rising. Yet, guns are inanimate objects with no moral code. People, on the other hand, do kill. sometimes mental illness, others meanness, but sometimes, just evil. The gunman at the Aurora Theater, the NFL player in Kansas City, the suspect being arrested in Memphis, and the shooter in Connecticut. All of these people made a decision to take the life of others. They had murder in their heart.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, Romans 1:29.
My friends, the issue begins and ends in the heart of man. Matthew says it best –
“What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean’. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean’.” Matthew 7:20-23
One need to only watch the news to see the same issues play out around the world. Syria is a prime example. Bashar Hafez al-Assad is an evil man. Murdering his own people. Tens of thousands. So many examples exist.
If the heart is where evil reigns, and from that heart flows evil acts, the solution is a change of heart. Certainly some will not change, like Charles Manson, Adolph Hitler, as well as the more homegrown evil breed like child molesters, gang leaders and organized crime members. No doubt there are notable exceptions like Tex Mercer or Ted Bundy. some claim to have changed, but when pushed, reveal their real values.
The issue is one’s moral compass. Certainly upbringing and community culture have an impact. Values taught to children, the importance of integrity, value of life, honesty, respect for others, and so much more directs the path. Children abandoned by fathers who gravitate to gangs, abused children who become abusers, those who were raised in domestic violence too frequently mirror their family life.
I know. My home was dysfunctional on many levels. Alcohol abuse was but one issue, but it was one that I mirrored for a few years. The very thing I hated I became – till I was twenty-one. Then the chain was broken – the sins of the fathers visited on this child – ceased to have sway. I was set free. There is but one answer in my case – I became a trophy of grace.
My solution –
I changed relationships. Rather than gravitate to people who, like me, found their answers in a bottle or can, in living wild, God recalculated my route, set me on a path 180 degrees opposite. So when I look at those who commit evil, with hearts that reflect their actions, I must say “but for the grace of God, there go I.”
Fortunately, in the midst of the insanity of my childhood, I was made to go to Church. There I learned values, about real love, the love of God and the sacrifice of His son. It changed me. Yet, I did not change my circle of influence and paid the price, continuing to live as though I never heard the message of God’s love. Through those years, even though I strayed, the teaching I learned, the hymns I heard, never left me, and set a boundary. Like the Prodigal Son, I did return.
But what about those who grew up on the streets surrounded by values that espouse evil that teach them right choices? Young men abandoned by fathers and left to learn manhood on the streets. Therein lies a glimpse of the solution.
Without question, as a Chaplain, I believe that the best solution is a spiritual revolution. So many organizations from the faith community reach out to children and young people, meeting them on their own turf. They teach other choices, present other role models than bangers. They introduce the idea of freedom through a new relationship with a Father who loves unconditionally, will never abandon them, and will set them free. They introduce them to a Brother who died to set them free, Jesus.
It is abundantly important to start at the core – rebuild homes, families, and teach values at home and in schools. There is right and wrong. Period. Not decided by circumstance or personal desire, rather, based on absolutes. Values based education changes lives, gives hope, and will recalculate the route of those without direction. It offers boundaries to kids in homes with no guidance. Kids want guidance, and without it, run off the track. Kids join gangs because they are surrounded by people who say they care and are just like them, from the same kind of childhood. I salute those organizations that work in that field, fighting to save kids from a destroyed life in those gangs.
It begins in the home, the neighborhood, city, state, and then the nation. Like a wildfire, a nation can be changed. However, the opposite is true. Eliminating values, allowing kids to make bad choices without consequence, leads to evil, to murder, rape, drugs, all centered on one’s freedom to do what they like. It too impacts the nation – behold our great America set free from the Bible and God, both expelled from schools.
The tragic events of today, of recent days, did not begin with a weapon. They began with a heart that over the years filled with rage, bitterness, and darkness. This is not political, just reality. Equally, drunk drivers kill, not their vehicle.
One simple request.
Please pray for the families who lost their loved ones, whether in Memphis, Connecticut, or Aurora or elsewhere.
Equally important, please pray for the law enforcement, firefighters, EMT’s, Clergy, and others who have been on the scene, and will be for some time. Such events impose terrible trauma on first responders, especially when children are involved. Such trauma violates their moral code – such evil should not be, especially visited on children.
Perhaps one more.
Be a change agent. Look around your community for troubled youth. Consider how you can befriend one, whether through Big Brother, YMCA, your Church, Young Life, or other means. Change a life, save a family. Save a family, impact a neighborhood. It begins with one serving another, the spark that get’s that fire going.
For first responders, consider launching a Guns’n’Hoses Bible Fellowship to serve first responders, or launch a Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers chapter. Say thanks when you see an officer or firefighter. Buy coffee. If you are a first responder, be there to encourage and support your brothers and sisters. Remember, the Apostle Paul was transformed from one who murdered Christians. Change can happen.
We must be the “Good Men.” Our Churches, civic organizations, and community groups must be vigilant, caring, always looking for that misguided youth. Father must be committed to fathering, grooming their children for life, their sons to be men of courage and conviction – faith. These are investments that will save generations.
About the author – Robert Michaels is a veteran of law enforcement, serving both as an MP with the 229th Military Police Battalion for 6 years, and with the Norfolk Police Department for 5 years, both on patrol and as a detective. He earned a B.A. in Biblical Education from Columbia International University and a M.A. from Wheaton College in Communications, and is an ordained minister. Rob is the CEO/National Chaplain of Serve & Protect
, dedicated to the emotional and spiritual well being of Law Enforcement, FireRescue, Dispatch, and Corrections through a 24/7 Coast2Coast Crisis Line, Chaplain Services, Life Skills Coaching, and the Guns’n’Hoses Bible Fellowship. He edits the Serve & Protect newsfeed at
Rob serves as the State Chaplain for Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police, and Chaplain and Sergeant at Arms for FOP Lodge 41 in Williamson County TN, where he is an active member. He can be reached at
, or 615-373-8000. He is available to speak for interviews, at events, churches, mens groups, criminal justice classes, chapels, and groups. Our crisis line is 206-459-3020 24/7 Coast2Coast.