A Prayer for Turkey and Syria After the Devastating Earthquake

Stories of Hope, Courage Emerge from Believers Affected by Colorado Shooting

Michael Ireland | ASSIST News Service | Monday, July 23, 2012

Stories of Hope, Courage Emerge from Believers Affected by Colorado Shooting

AURORA, Colo. (ANS) -- While residents of the city of Aurora struggle to cope with the aftermath of Thursday night’s shooting, in which 12 were killed and 58 were wounded, stories are emerging of hope and courage in the face of tragedy from believers who were affected by the massacre.

Petra Anderson is a Christian musician who was shot in the head during the showing of Dark Knight Rises. She was expected to be the 13th death from the melee at the Century 16 Movieplex in Aurora.

“Petra had successful surgery to remove a shotgun pellet that entered through her nose and lodged in the back of her skull,” said Sandy Kelly in an e-mail to ASSIST News. Her husband Pete was in Colorado last week and was coincidentally staying with Petra’s family.

“The next morning, after surgery, she was alert and had no personality changes. Her brain has not suffered any serious damage from the gunshot wound,” Kelly said.

An interview with Petra's mother Kim, her sister Chloe, brother Robert and boyfriend Austin aired Saturday night at 10 p.m. MDT on Denver News. It was also due to run again in the morning and appear online.

There is a Facebook page for Chloe and her family online at facebook.com/groups/andersonfamilyprayers and a Blogspot site is being developed for a better ordering of update information.

Blogging Mother of two Daughters Tells Her Story

Marie Isom was also there in theater 9 at midnight Thursday, straining to make out the words, and trying to figure out the storyline as The Dark Knight Rises began.

“I’m not a big movie-goer,” she wrote on her blog, A Miniature Clay Pot. "I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home … where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings. But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen-year-old and sixteen-year-old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out, and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said, 'Just go with your girls.' I did.”

Marie said she sat fidgeting in her seat, some 40 or 50 feet away from the man with the gun, who has been identified by police as 24-year-old James Holmes.

“It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor." Marie threw herself on top of her 14-year-old, who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter, Marie wrote on her blog.

“In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Marie continued: “Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.”

“Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God?” she asked.

“If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse: ‘Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught.’”

Marie stated: “He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil. It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act. Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness.”

Marie said she and her daughters have not yet slept, so they are overtired and a bit emotional, “but overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.”

She added: “Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: ‘When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?’ (Psalm 56:3-4)”

“God is always good,” she said, adding: “Man is not. Don’t get the two confused.”

Marie continued: “We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do.

“If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.”

She concludes: “Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways.

“As for you … we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.”

In a follow-up to the overwhelming number of responses to her first post, Marie said: “I started to post comments and respond to them but was quickly overwhelmed: 25 pages in my e-mail box first thing this morning and over 1,500 comments.”

Marie wrote: “I am so humbled that God would take a blog post written by a simple girl and send it out to reach a half-million people across the globe in a single day. THAT, my friends, is something only God can do.”

One response accused her of being selfish.

“I am,” said Marie. “If there is only one piece of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake left, I will hide it beneath salad mixes and sandwich meats in the refrigerator in the hopes that no one else will find it before I get a chance to eat it. But I am also filled with a deep, passionate love of Christ that enables me to love both brothers and sisters in Christ and unbelievers, the ones who are antagonistic towards my God or hateful towards me. THAT, my friends, is only something God can do.”

Another post to her blog said the writer “was appalled that I didn’t go back in or call 911.”

Marie stated: “By the time we got out of the theater, a dozen police cars were already there and dozens more were screaming their way towards the chaos. I will forever wonder if I could have done something more. I do know that my first concern was indeed the safety of my children. Maybe that’s selfish, but it is the truth and I am not going to try to dress it up. One thing I will always be with my readers is authentic.”

Media Expert Speaks Out on Movie Violence

In a statement Friday, Christian media scholar and family values advocate Dr. Ted Baehr responded to the news of the shooting massacre.

“The shooting at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises will be blamed on many things,” said Dr. Baehr.

“One reporter who called me this morning blamed it on violence in movies. Certainly, violence in movies, television, and video games has had a tremendous impact on society. Over 500,000 studies, capped by the latest Dartmouth University study, show that violence in the media influences susceptible youths to commit violence. That said, most people are not susceptible. Most are just desensitized or scared.

“Another reporter blamed it specifically on the Batman movies. Yet, The Dark Knight Rises is nowhere near as violent as the last Batman one, and Batman himself tells Catwoman not to kill. The message of The Dark Knight Rises is justice and self-sacrifice. The villains and the killers in the movie are the socialist left-wing Occupy Wall Street power to the people villain Bane and his compatriots, who are clearly shown to be wrong, evil, and bad, and who get their comeuppance. It would have been almost impossible for this killer in Colorado to have even seen the new Batman movie before the 12:30 screening.”

Dr. Baehr continued: “Some people will blame it on guns, although countries that have tried hard to crack down on guns, like England, are now finding that knives and head butting are out of control. Thus, it isn’t the head-butting or the knives, but the fact that people, who, as the Bible says, don’t know the loving God who gave us a way of salvation through Jesus Christ, are stewing in the juice of their own wickedness.

“Some people will blame poverty, or a lack of education. But James Holmes, the alleged killer, is getting his doctorate in neuroscience and came from an upper-middle-class family!” said Baehr, who added: “People will look at every possible reason – maybe the fact that Holmes was a Democrat and hated the anti-socialist message of the movie.”

Dr. Baehr went on to say: “Actually, none of these reasons answer the question why. This is an evil act committed by an evil person, who did not know the truth of Jesus Christ that would set him free from such wickedness. The answer is not more laws, the answer is not to banish movies, nor neuroscience programs, nor weapons that can be used to protect, but rather to get the Word of God out. Because ‘faith comes through hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17).’"

He added: “I used to be on the radical left, but Jesus Christ got hold of me, and I’ve tried to live my life every day by enjoying Him, using the power of God’s Holy Spirit. As the Word of God says in Galatians 5:22-24, ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.’”

“If you ban the fruit of the Spirit from society, including the education system, you’re not banning God; you’re banning goodness, justice, truth, peace, kindness, joy, gentleness, self-control and love.”

Dr. Baehr is chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® (CFTVC) ministry and director of its family guide to movies and entertainment, Movieguide®.

Founded in 1985 by Dr. Baehr and Good News Communications, CFTVC and Movieguide® are an international non-profit ministry, advocacy group and watchdog dedicated to “redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and by informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media.”

Michael Ireland is the senior international correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China and Russia.

c. 2012 ASSIST News Service. Used with permission.

Publication date: July 23, 2012