A wake-up call: we are our brother’s keeper Print
Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

After the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, one question kept surfacing in my mind: Are we still our brother’s keeper?

We know the phrase “my brother’s keeper” from the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-9. Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy. After the murder, God asked Cain where Abel was. Cain’s answer was, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

We are surely not responsible for everyone’s safety at all times. However, we should not allow people to do violence if we can prevent it.

Love one another

Throughout the Scriptures, Jesus emphasizes that we should love our brothers and sisters. In fact, he called it a “new commandment”: “that you love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13: 34-35).

In the aftermath of tragedies such as the recent Las Vegas shooting, many people have come forward to help those affected. We see first responders and many others helping those in need. So people do respond with love for their neighbors.

Being vigilant

However, I think Jesus meant more than just responding to tragedies. I think he also means being concerned about others before such tragedies occur.

Some say shooter Stephen Paddock might have been severely mentally ill. He had 23 guns in his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and another 19 guns in his home in Mesquite, Nev., along with explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition.

Didn’t anyone know that Paddock was amassing these weapons? It seems unlikely that there wasn’t a single person who was aware of his behavior.

I wonder if people sometimes observe strange behavior, but they don’t want to get involved. They say it’s not their problem. This isolationist mentality may be contributing to some of the violence happening in society today.

Even the hotel should have been aware of something unusual, since Paddock checked into his room several days before the shooting.

Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, said that at his properties, an investigation is launched if someone puts a “do not disturb” sign on a room for at least 12 hours. Paddock even put up security cameras in the hallways — and nobody noticed them?

What we can do

This tragic event should make all of us pay more attention to people around us, including within our own families and neighborhoods. It should be a wake-up call for us to remember that we are indeed our brother’s keeper.

Let’s pray for all those affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas and pray for the strength to help prevent further tragedies from happening.