It was a bleak day Monday as America awoke to the news of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of our country. Here in Miami-Dade County, it seemed fitting that it was a rainy, cloudy day, bringing with it the feeling that it was raining all over the world.
As I write this, the number of lives lost in this latest mass shooting was nearly 60, with more than 500 more injured. The numbers seem to grow with each horrific incident. And we are left asking the question, “Why?”
I don’t know if any answer would ease the pain of the surviving victims, or comfort the broken hearts of those who lost a loved one to Stephen Paddock’s bullets. Still, Paddock, 64, the man responsible for the latest mass shooting, has left us with a great, big question mark.
As an American citizen who treasures our freedoms, I have questions, too:
▪ Why was Paddock allowed to have so many automatic weapons?
▪ And when are we, as Americans, going to figure it out that we need to have stricter gun laws?
▪ And how many more mass murders will we have to endure before we find a way to stop the killing?
▪ And what kind of sickness engulfs a person that would cause him to check into a hotel with an arsenal of weapons for the sole purpose of inflicting pain and death on innocent human beings?
America is faced with having to deal with a trainload of problems —the threat of war with North Korea, while our troops are still dying in the Middle East; affordable healthcare; and trying to figure out a way to live in harmony with each other, regardless of our ethnic backgrounds or religions, to name a few. In fact, so much seems to be going on on with our beloved country that we seem to be on the verge of disaster.
Each time we are faced with acts of evil, the country comes together and those of us who have been spared always say, “Our prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families ....”
I am reminded of a scripture in the Bible that says “faith without works is dead.” Seems now, we need to put some action behind our prayers and thoughts. Paddock had an arsenal of 23 weapons in his hotel room and 19 more in his home. He meant war — war on his own countrymen and women.
It seems that as he was purchasing all those guns and rifles, a red flag should have gone up at some point. I guess the only thing that was visible to the people who sold the guns to Paddock were the dollar signs as he paid for the murder weapons.
As the days go on and the investigations uncover more information about Paddock, we will know more about him. But we may never know what caused him to become a mass killer before turning one of his own guns on himself. He died just as the police broke down the door to his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Resort, where he had a bird’s eye view of the crowd below, which had gathered on the Strip to enjoy the last day of the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival.
Through all the chaos, there were glimmers of hope everywhere — people helping people to get to safety, even risking their own lives to do so.
Still, America — somehow, some way — we have got to stop the killing. I believe that tougher gun laws would be a great way to start.
Pastor’s Appreciation gala at FIU
Warm congratulations to Superintendent Errol P. Cooper Sr. and his wife of 26 years, Toni, who on Saturday were honored at a gala Pastor’s Appreciation event in the Bay View Ballroom in the Kovens Conference Center on the campus of Florida International University, 3000 NE 151st St. in North Miami.
Superintendent Cooper, who is also known as an outstanding church musician, has served as the pastor of First Deliverance Church of God in Christ in Liberty City since August 2015, following the death of the church’s founding pastor Superintendent Isaac Cohen. Prior to that, Cooper served for 15 years as the pastor of Unity Tabernacle Praise and Worship Center in Liberty City, which he founded in 2000.
Since becoming the pastor of the 62-year-old First Deliverance Church, Cooper has led the congregation in the renovation of the interior and exterior of the sanctuary and its fellowship hall. He also has led the congregation in an outreach ministry in the community, hosting health fairs, bazaars, and AIDS awareness projects.
Saturday’s event was a lovely affair, with the ladies dressed in shades of pink, and the men in gray suits and pink shirts. Michael and Judi Johnson served as master and mistress of ceremonies, while Minister Anthony Cromer led the audience in prayer. The welcome and occasion, given by Evangelist Rwasi Williams, seemed more like a mini sermon, to the delight of the audience, and served to ready everyone for the musical artistry of the gospel group By Faith.
Superintendent Wardell Chadwick, who has known the honoree since he was a boy, was the key note speaker and spoke of Cooper’s dedication to the Lord and the church.
Others on the program included Mother Karla Cohen and Elder Vincent Chadwick, who introduced his father as the keynote speaker.
Sickle Cell Awareness
The community is invited to the third annual “Be Informed Sickle Cell Awareness” forum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in the auditorium at the North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens.
Special guest will include Dr. Lakiea Bailey, scientist, researcher and executive director of Sickle Cell Community Consortium; Dr. Gershwin Blyden, internal medicine, hematology/oncology; T. J. Brown, of the Sickle Cell natural Wellness Group and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.
If you go, you should register by calling 954-951-1108 or at www.aspabeinformed.eventbrite.com.
Fall Indoor Yard Sale
It’s that time of the year again, when Palm Springs United Methodist Church at 5700 W. 12th Ave. in Hialeah presents its annual Fall Indoor Yard Sale.
The event will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekends of Oct. 6 and 7, and Oct. 13 and 14.
According to information from the church, this will be the last year of the two-weekend rummage sale. Starting in January, the church will have an indoor sale in the shed on the church grounds from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Saturday.
Just as always, there will be an abundance of a variety of items for sale, including clothing for the entire family, shoes, craft supplies, linens, videos, toys, small kitchen appliances. china, small furniture, baby items, luggage, lamps, pictures, collectibles, books and holiday decorating items.
Lunch and snacks will also be for sale. All money raised will be used for church work and missions. For more information, call 305-821-3232.
Chabad offers communal meals
Congregation Levi Yitzchok-Lubavitch Chabad of South Broward Headquarters, 1295 East Hallandale Beach Blvd., will have communal meals to help South Floridians recover from Hurricane Irma.
The communal meals, which began on Wednesday, will continue at 1 p.m. Thursday on the first day of Sukkot; at 1 p.m. Friday on the second day, and at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for Shabbat Sukkot. First days of Sukkot services will be at 6:45 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Simchat Beit Hashoeva will be at 10 p.m. Saturday , and will include live music with ShaRone, dancing and a barbecue.
Chol Hamoed services will begin Sunday with Shachrit at 8:30 and 10 a.m.; Monday and Tuesday at 6:30, 8:05 and 10:30 p.m.; Roshana Rabah at 6:30, 8:05 and 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 11.
Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah services will be at 10 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.; Yizkor will be at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 12 and Tehillim will be at 8 a.m. on Oct. 14.
The Simchat Torah dance and dinner will be at 7:30 p.m. on Oct 12.
Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah community meals will be from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 12; 2 p.m. on Oct 13, and 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 14.
Persons partaking in the community meals must RSVP at 954-458-1877. Go to Chabadsouthbroward.com for all holiday information.
The community is invited to the sixth annual Geopolitical Summit at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 10. Presented by COSMOS of Florida, the theme is: “Contemporary Global Islam: Confronting Islamophobia in the U.S. and Abroad,” and the program will feature Reza Aslan as the guest speaker.
Aslan is an internationally renowned religious scholar, award-winning author and producer and a former CNN commentator. At the summit, he will discuss the global issue of Islamophobia and how policy makers and others can combat the misconceptions that contribute to tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims.
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