How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
As the news is filled with attacks on shopping malls, schools and churches, how can you and I be safe? Do we pray? Buy guns? Both?
BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
No one was armed at the church except for two Muslim security guards who were killed. Also, the suicide bombers gave no warning before detonating the blasts that killed themselves and the Christian worshipers.
“In this time of tragedy, let us pray not only for healing and comfort, but also that God will continue using it to provide peace and turn sympathies toward Pakistani believers who have faced much persecution in the past,” said K. P. Yohannan, founder and director of Gospel for Asia.
Churchgoers there were completing worship and about to share a covered-dish dinner when the bombs exploded. Among the dead were 34 women and seven children. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying they “will continue to strike wherever we will find an opportunity against non-Muslims.”
In a country where only 3 percent are Christians, many Muslims expressed sympathy and outrage at the attack on peaceful worshippers. Government officials condemned the attack. “Such cruel acts of terrorism reflect the brutality and inhumane mindset of the terrorists,” said Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Meanwhile, an armed former Royal Marine emerged as a hero when a similar group targeted a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, according to the British newspaper The Daily Mail. The armed, retired Marine was credited with saving up to 100 lives.
Armed with his personal handgun, he moved in and out of the mall many times, each time leading new victims to safety, according to reporter Onan Coca. “The morning of the shooting, the mall massacre hero was sitting in a mall coffee shop enjoying a beverage with some friends. When the shooting began, he escorted his friends from the building, but the brave acts he will be remembered for happened next. The man returned into the besieged building at least a dozen times rescuing somewhere around 100 people. Each reentry into the mall-turned-combat-zone was more dangerous than the previous, as more and more people were led out of harm’s way.”
However, the ex-Marine asked the news media not to release his name for security reasons – particularly since terrorists could target him and his family.
“He risked himself for about 100 people,” writes Coca. “How many families did he protect from heartbreak by his selflessness? Mothers and fathers who will see their children again. Sisters and brothers who won’t know the pain of losing their sibling to mindless violence. There are children who won’t have to experience life as orphans because this hero took a stand.”
In Oregon, two died when a gunman opened fire at the crowded Clackamas Town Center Mall near Portland. Again prayer was cited for saving customer, Jocelyn Lay, who tells of quietly hiding from the shooter and asking God for help.