The gruesome details from the Colorado movie theater shootings keep trickling in, and we as a nation are left in mourning.
The President has stated that we will leave the politics till later, and for now this is a time to mourn and reflect.
Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.
I wanted to offer a brief response from a religious perspective, specifically as a Muslim. In surveying the responses of many Muslims to this event, one is struck by how often and frequently Muslims are noting the discrepancy in the coverage of this account. The FBI has stated: "No indication in Colo. shooting probe so far of any connection to terrorism."
The response of many Muslims has been: why not? What does it take to qualify something as terrorism? The words that many are using is maddening, insane, senseless, etc. But not terrorism. Many Muslims want to know why the word terrorism is off the table, and whether that means that terrorism is only something that is considered when Muslims commit the atrocity.
I can understand that sentiment, but suggest that we should postpone those questions for the time being.
This is a time to pray, to mourn, to grieve, to hug one another, and to bury our dead.
The time for difficult conversations will come. There will come another time to ask why we as a nation have such a fascination with violence, why the NRA continues to go “going all in” (to use their motto) when so clearly we need some restraint and supervision, and why the coverage of these events relegate mass violence performed by non-Muslims not as terrorism but as senseless violence, reinforcing the association between Islam and violence.
But now is not the time to ask those questions. Now is the time to mourn.
Unmounred grief will resurface as something quite vengeful and angry, and we as a nation cannot afford anymore unhealthy processing of grief.
Let us mourn, let us pray, let our hearts be shattered for now.
Here is useful set of pastoral concerns for what our victims of mass violence might want to use in dealing with our trauma.
May God comfort our heart, through what defies any and all comfort.