The Real Reason for the Jacksonville Landing Shooting (and All Others)

The Real Reason for the Jacksonville Landing Shooting (and All Others) August 27, 2018

Another mass shooting took place over the weekend. This time, at a place I visited many times while living in Jacksonville, FL as a newlywed 15 years ago. The Jacksonville Landing is a beautiful river front hub for shopping and dining.

This particular shooting gets right  at the heart of the problem we are facing. No, it’s not really about gun violence and gun control. It’s about the devaluing of life.


I walked into my office this morning ready to start a new semester of teaching, when an old license plate hanging on my wall screamed out. It expired in 2005 when we moved back to SC from FL, but I use it as a reminder of an important truth. Because it’s been hanging on my wall for so long, I had started to overlook it. In the wake of the Jacksonville tragedy, it hit me again like a ton of bricks.

We must start choosing life.


While this particular license plate is specifically addressing abortion, that is not the real point of the post. The truth is that we have got to start valuing all life, even our own. After all, we were bought at a very high price when Jesus died on the cross for us. That makes every one of us valuable beyond what we can comprehend. Yet, we allow the world to tell us what is important.


I don’t believe that the 24 year old shooter at the mall on Saturday lost it solely because he lost a video game. Rather, it would have been something building up, bubbling to the surface. Sadly, it overflowed and in that moment nothing else mattered to him except causing carnage – shooting and killing others before committing suicide.


He used a handgun. I don’t know whether or not he followed gun laws, and I don’t know what new gun laws would have made a difference. Maybe there should have been metal detectors. Perhaps there should have been pat downs. I won’t say there is nothing that could have been done to prevent the shooting as far as the choice of weapon goes. But, I can say with certainty that until we recognize our sin, our need for Savior, and our self-worth in Jesus Christ, horrific tragedies will continue to happen.


We must start recognizing how precious life is. Our own lives, and the lives of others. We have to pay attention to what really matters. Most of all, people matter. And they need a message of love and hope. It’s our responsibility to spread this message. We’re all in this life together, and we can work together to create a safer world. At the very least, folks should be able to play a football video game without facing death.

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