Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Unitarian Universalist Shootings in Tennessee

Two people died in the Sunday shootings by Jim Adkisson at the Tennessee Valley UU Church. So far, reports indicate that he is sane.

The reported sequence of events has Adkisson entering the UU church at around quarter past 10:00 a.m. on the morning of July 28, as the congregation’s children were staging a rendition of the musical "Annie Jr." Adkisson reportedly carried the shotgun into the church inside a guitar case, then pulled out the gun and blasted three shots into the crowd. Adkisson was then reportedly tackled and restrained by members of the congregation.

Witnesses said that Adkisson walked right past the young performers and aimed his shotgun directly at the pews before firing; the attack was so sudden that for a moment some in the congregation thought the noise from the gun was part of the show, reported the article.

Said UU member Marty Murphy, "We heard the first shot. It sounded like a bomb went off. We thought it was part of the program at first." Added Murphy, "The second shot is when everyone started calling 911 and telling everyone to get down." Another witness said that McKendry started toward Adkisson, who shot him down with a gun blast.

Police say 58 year old Jim Adkisson expected to keep firing until officers killed him. Instead church members tackled him and held him for police.

Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen says, "It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to attain a job.. His frustration over that. And his stated hatred for the liberal movement."

Police say they are investigating the case as a Hate Crime.

Joe Lauria on Huffington Post calls it an act of terrorism.

A report written by a Knoxville PD officer, Steve Still, who spoke with Adkisson, said that the alleged gunman had targeted the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist church "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country," according to the article, which cited a document that had reportedly been obtained by news station WBIR-TV; continued the report, "and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets."

David Gibson has a point:
Where is the religious community's voice on gun control? The numbers are staggering: 30,000 Americans die each year from gun violence, but gun control has not emerged as a significant agenda item for faith-based organizations. Why is it, in cases like this, that the Second Amendment of the Constitution trumps the First Amendment? Should we worship in the company of armed guards??


Country Parson (Steven Woolley) said...

Sadly, I believe that a significant number of Americans claiming to be Christian would think that armed guards are OK; that more guns in the hands of good right minded people would provide a defense against guns in the hands of bad wrong minded people; that the Second Amendment is the only amendment in need of protecting;; and that any move toward gun control can be nothing other than a left-wing conspiracy proving that the shooter was right.

Rev Dr Mom said...

My bishop (now retired) spoke out on gun control a few years back and ws roundly criticized for it. Sadly I think CP's comment is right.

It is frightening.

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