Empty Shoes

“You shall not kill.”    – Exodus 20:13

The Ten Commandments contain some of the most well-known ethical principles in the Bible. Even so, the fifth commandment, “You shall not kill”, is so undervalued in America that there have been more mass shootings than days in 2019 thus far.1

Back-to-back gun massacres on August 3rd in El Paso and Dayton have rocked Americans to their core. Once more we see shocked, weeping survivors and family members who will never again see their loved ones. Once again, we see empty shoes left behind by those who were suddenly gunned down in the prime of life. Once again, we ask how this could happen.

It is well-documented that the 2019 El Paso massacre targeted Hispanics and killed 22 people; the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting targeted Jews and killed eleven; the 2016 Orlando nightclub massacre which killed 49 people targeted gays, and the 2015 Charleston church shooting targeted African Americans and killed nine.

What is also well-documented is that 94% of Americans support background checks for all gun buyers.2 It is past time to effect the changes needed to bring our laws in line with the will of the people.

What isn’t as well known is that a common trait among mass killers is their hatred toward women. This is where sexism, racism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia trip over each other in a macabre death spiral to the bottom. “The fact that mass shootings are almost exclusively perpetrated by men is ‘missing from the national conversation’, said Governor Gavin Newsome of California.”3

While the motivations of men who commit mass murder are complex, there is one common thread other than access to firearms – “a history of hating women, assaulting wives, girlfriends and female family members, or sharing misogynistic views online.”4

The man who was convicted of killing 26 people in a Texas church in 2017 was a perpetrator of domestic violence who threatened to kill his wife. The mass murderer of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando beat his pregnant wife. The Dayton shooter who killed eleven had a history of threatening violence against female classmates.

Hate begets hate and the common denominator is hatred of women. The patriarchal system in which we all live has led not only to discrimination against women, but discrimination and hatred of ‘the other’ whether ‘the other’ is gay, black, brown, Jew, Christian, or Muslim; and we are all ‘the other’ to someone. Let that sink in for a moment.

God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female he created them. God saw everything he had made and indeed, it was very good.

Let’s start there. Shall we?


1Jason Silverstein, “There have been more mass shootings than days this year,” CBS News, August 5, 2019.

2JDomenico Montanaro, “Americans Largely Support Gun Restrictions To ‘Do Something’ About Gun Violence”, NPR.org, August 10, 2019.

3Julie Bosman, Kate Taylor and Tim Arango, “A Common Trait Among Mass Killers: Hatred Toward Women”, The New York Times, August 10, 2019.


This entry was posted in Charleston church massacre, Dayton massacre, El Paso Massacre, Gun Control, Heterosexism, Justice Issues, Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre, Pulse Nightclub Massacre, Racism, Sexism, Women's Issues, Xenophobia. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Empty Shoes

  1. ……and children….babies…kindergartners….innocent babies….New Zealand has a mass murder and within days they make a laws against weapons of mass destruction….we are still dilly dallying….over the blankety blank mueller report…..children are being killed! For me personally, my child is more valuable …is priceless and yet …and yet is of NO VALUE to our law makers…until their child or grandchild is mass murdered in their child’s or grandchild’s classroom will something be done. This is not is NOT a democratic or republican issue…this is ALL of our law makers egos! Going back to Columbine and as recently as Parkland….and nothing, nothing has been done . Yep, I am angry. I do not need to be consoled or agreed or disagreed with. Until money and power is not the god of our government, I do not think there will be change.

    • Suzanne,
      I agree completely. When 94% of Americans and even 76% of NRA members are in favor of universal background checks and the pols have no spine to change the laws something is seriously askew. When there are over 329 million Americans and less than 5 million NRA members, the organization is nothing more than a paper tiger that pols bow to out of fear. Until we vote them out, nothing will change.

      And yes, this not a Democrat or Republican issue. It is a life or death issue!

  2. I think you are doing a good job of addressing the root cause of the many problems.
    Guns/knives/fists/airplanes, are all weapons, but what causes a person to use those weapons?
    There are many people with bad notions (evil) on their minds for a myriad of reasons, and they are easily swayed by a convincing outside factor. (media, certain FB groups etc)

    A bit of a different view, and I’m a guy so I don’t have the women’s true view. I’ve been surrounded by smart women for a long time. Very smart women that were always on the same pay scale as me, did the same job as me, and very often did a better job than me. We all worked well in our workplace because of our professional environment. So to hear of many of the problems women have is somewhat foreign to me. Though I’m not all that naïve, I feel I see it more than other people.
    Many times I think about being a kid growing up in the South, there were so many influences that at the time were “business as usual” about other people. It took me many years to get beyond that old influence. Many of the phrases/words that were common then, make me cringe now.
    Was it smart or correct?
    No. But I’ve gotten past it.

    • Bravo to your profession, Walker, for paying women and men equally. Across the board this is not the case. When accounting for education, experience, etc., women earn 80% of what men earn. The disparity gets worse as as one gets older and makes more money, with disparity ballooning after age 40. The loss in lifetime earnings is significant.

      And yes, those of us who grew up in the South remember all too well a different time. I thought it was well behind us. With the recent reemergence in white supremacy I fear it is not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.