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Gunman Kills One in Tennessee Unitarian Church

27 July, 2008

I am an atheist.  I also consider myself a Unitarian.  Yeah, it’s contradictory, but it’s part of my cultural and free-thought heritage. 

I just spotted this coming over the news wire (how’s that for dating myself?):

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A man wielding a shotgun entered a church and opened fire as congregants watched a youth performance Sunday, killing one person and injuring eight others, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen said.

Police said the gunman was taken into custody. They didn’t immediately release his name. No children were injured. A hospital spokeswoman said five of the wounded were in critical condition.  (Via Yahoo News)

I do not know the details yet.  I have no idea the motive of the attacker.  I do not know if  he was a member of the church or not.

Unfortunately, I have my suspicions (based, I will admit, on stereotypes) and I am disturbed by this attack.  A Unitarian Church in Kentucky Kentucky shot up by a gunman.  Hmmm.  What could be the motive?  Well, this is the last paragraph of the article:

The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church is a community that meets to worship and work together for social change, according to the church’s Web site. Since the 1950’s, the congregation has worked for desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights, according to the Web site. The congregation also has provided sanctuary for political refugees, fed the homeless and founded a chapter of the ACLU.

I really hope that the socially progressive stance of this church is not a motive.  I hope it’s not, but, as I said, I have my (stereotyped) suspicions.

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15 comments

  1. I really hope that the socially progressive stance of this church is not a motive……

    I’m afraid you may be right.

    Check this out:

    (TVUUC had just put up a sign welcoming gays to the congregation)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/general/21356/mass-shooting-at-my-unitarian-church-in-knoxville-today/


  2. HoleyHands: Welcome to my blog. Your news on the sign worries me even more. Do you suppose our Bush/Cheney Department of ‘Justice’ will treat this one as a hate crime (if the connection is accurate, of course).


  3. (((Billy))): I don’t put anything past that ‘Fundie Redneck Mafia’.

    The local officials up in Knoxville have shut down all info on this story. I’m from down here in Chattanooga and have lots of friends in Knoxville, but no one I’ve contacted can find out anything.

    PS I read your blog all the time, first time to post.

    Harley


  4. Kentucky? I thought Knoxville was in Tennessee.


  5. Tad: Welcome to my blog. You are correct and I have corrected that egregious typo. Thanks.


  6. I bet you hate it when you’re right . . .

    http://apnews.myway.com//article/20080728/D926U0GO4.html

    Like the new look, btw . . .


  7. Shit. It looks like your gut feeling was right.


  8. I’m afraid so. This is incredibly disturbing. Even though I keep trying to tell myself, “hey, the guy was mentally disturbed and off his medication” that doesn’t make me any happier that he targeted people specifically because of their beliefs (or what he perceived their beliefs to be).


  9. Yeah, It looks like this guy was very disturbed. He planned it and was planning on himself being killed. He also planned it to be much worse than it was. Thankfully it wasn’t.
    Let’s just hope that one maniacs actions doesn’t reflect on the whole.


  10. Let’s just hope that one maniacs actions doesn’t reflect on the whole.

    The whole what?


  11. Turns out he was just another lunatic. Ho-hum


  12. Both bullet’s link and this one indicate one of his problems was being forced to go to church as a child. The WSAZ link also stated that he had a problem with biblical contradictions (something I discussed yesterday), which may explain his apparent problem with the progressive stance of that particular church?


  13. Tysdady: Yes, I quite often am very unhappy when my cynical view of humanity turns out to be accurate.

    Chappie: I know. Depressing as hell. Though up at my parents, we caught a TV news story (no idea what station/network) in which the local chief of police said it was being investigated as a murder and as a hate crime.

    Benc247: Welcome to my blog. Glad to have you. Yeah, he was definately disturbed. I wonder how much religion had to do with his problems?

    Bullet: I think you just hit on the fundogelical defense concerning this incident. He wasn’t a real Christian, he was just a disturbed man, so Christianity is still blameless always.

    Ozatheist: Welcome to my blog. Hmmm. Forced to go to church as a child. Isn’t that part of the indoctrination procedure for most churches? Give me the child and as a man he will be mine?

    Unfortunately (as I said to Bullet above), these two deaths will be laid at the door of mental illness (and I do not doubt this man is mentally ill (I think an insanity defense is perfectly valid)). The contributions of intolerant and doctrinaire religious indoctrination will be ignored.

    Now, just suppose that the man was a Muslim (just for the sake of an example). In that case, I’d bet dollars to donuts that the main-stream media (and Fox) would be ignoring the mental illness and focusing on intolerant and doctrinaire religions indoctrination.


  14. Now, just suppose that the man was a Muslim (just for the sake of an example). In that case, I’d bet dollars to donuts that the main-stream media (and Fox) would be ignoring the mental illness and focusing on intolerant and doctrinaire religions indoctrination.

    I suspect you’re right about that.


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