I haven't blogged in awhile. I thought about blogging after the theater shootings in Aurora. At the time, I was a bit too directly involved for it to feel appropriate. But there was another mass shooting today. In another unimaginable place where you should feel safe....a public elementary school in a small suburban town. And today, I want to write.
Being a certified wound care nurse in an Aurora, CO hospital, literally minutes from the theater where James Holmes attacked, I treated several of the patients from the horrific shootings this summer. My pager went off about an hour after the shootings, but I don't take "call" since I'm the only wound nurse in the hospital, so I didn't answer it. I often get ridiculous pages at 2am, like "I need a specialty mattress" or "I can't find this dressing". But when I awoke around 6 that morning and saw my phone with missed calls, I knew something was up. I rushed to the hospital shortly after.
If you are an acute care medical provider, you'll understand me when I say I thrive in emergent situations. It's in our personalities, part of our jobs to be cool and collected during chaos, to work quickly and fluidly in critical times. While I missed most of the ER chaos by the time I got there, my consult list that day was still cluttered with shooting victims. It was work as usual - wound VACs, dressing changes, and treatment plans. I see horrific things in my job often....burn victims, car crashes, crazy accidents. But this was different. These were adults and children seriously wounded or even killed, by a selfish gunman who lived and worked across the street from my hospital. No one saw it coming and no one could fathom why it occurred. I may have been composed at work that week, but cried driving home most days. This situation has changed me forever. It made a mass tragedy real. I saw the effects of the tragedy, I met the victims and their families. I heard stories of the friends or family members that were shot and/or murdered right in front of them. I will forever be affected by this. Public crowds make me nervous. I have started looking for an escape route when in a busy place, just in case. The first movie we saw in a theater since the shooting was just a few weeks ago - and I truly struggled while sitting there.
I will never understand the motive behind a shooting like that. Not in Aurora, and not in Connecticut. Innocent people just living their everyday lives? How can this happen? Evil. That's how.
The older I get, the more I understand and believe in spiritual warfare. When I was younger, it was just flitty images in my head after reading a Frank Peretti book with angels and demons fighting. Now, I see. It's real. Talking to victims in the Aurora shootings, I can't deny that there was spiritual warfare in the theater that night. I believe that the angels, the heavenly hosts you sing about in Christmas songs, won out after awhile in that battle - I believe this is why James Holmes' gun jammed, why his apartment, rigged with explosives didn't go off. I believe that's why the shooter's gun jammed after only killing two in the Oregon mall the other day. There was spiritual warfare in the Connecticut school today. And Satan may have won, but he will not win out in the end.
I pray for the victim's families today, for the teachers and children who survived, for the first responders who will have that massacre in their minds for days to come. This tragedy is real. It will fade on TV, but it will haunt those affected forever. I don't know why these things occur. Why they seem to occur more often lately. But I know that Satan is real, and really evil. I know that God is real, and really in control. I pray that those affected in this tragedy will find the Lord's comfort during this time. And I pray that people will believe in the spiritual war around us.