As the gentle snow falls all over Omaha this morning. Our little big town will never quite be the same as we try to sort out the tragic events of a very long day yesterday. Most of us here in Omaha are remembering where we were and what we were doing. Here is what I can recall.
Yesterday, December 5th, as I was busy at work my work mate and friend Don received a phone call that some one has shot people at Von Maur in Westroads Mall, the largest shopping mall here in Omaha. The mall is only 15 minutes from our office. Don has an emergency radio receiver and so we began to listen to the reports and conversations coming from this horrific tragedy as it unfolded. We just couldn’t believe what we were hearing. We were hearing about victim after victim being pulled from the store. Nearly 50 local and state police vehicles had arrived or were en route. They were calling for more emergency teams to be dispatched. As I sat there and listened and prayed for those folks who were hurt or dying. I also thought about the individual or individuals who were perpetrating this on shoppers and store employees. What goes into the heart and mind of such a person? My first thought was nothing goes in their heart and mind but what is already there. For we are born with a sinful nature. Aside from the salvation from Jesus Christ no one does good. My next thought was this: But are all sinners capable of this depth of depravity? Since I have studied God’s word over the years I would have to say yes. All men are sinners and are totally depraved. (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-11) It is only by the grace of God that we don’t have more tragedies like this one.
As I write, we have learned (because we are now inundated with news of this horrific event) that nine people have died including the shooter. He took his own life. And five were injured. Erik Raymond who is one of our assistant pastors at Omaha Bible Church and a fellow blogger at IrishCalvinist has written a great posting about the events here yesterday. I would encourage to go to “How Would You Respond to the Shootings at Omaha’s Westroads Mall?” and read it.
Please pray for the families of the victims, the family of the shooter, and for our little Midwest town in Nebraska.