Dave, first and foremost, I’ve loved your pieces on Medium (in addition to your novels). In a world where journalism tends to be massively unbalanced, I feel your pieces humanize men and women across the globe regardless of their political stance. You show the good, the bad, the ugly, and the things that make us human across the board. Like you, I’m disturbed by the growing Christian Nationalism sweeping the U.S. (especially as a minister) and this piece highlights those distorting their sacred texts while showing compassion and pointing to where they’re falling short.
My one qualm, however, is in the above text I highlighted which I feel detracts from an otherwise balanced piece. It’s misleading and intellectually dishonest. Believe me, I want background checks, guns out of criminals hands, and believe we have some serious gun related issues in the U.S. (and I’m a veteran of both wars). That being said, your chance of walking out the door and going to the mall or a church and getting shot is not something you have to calculate every day and the statement above breeds that fear. You’re more likely to get wiped out by a tornado (1 in 2,938), choking on your food (1 in 3,461), bicycling (1 in 4,485), or dying in a plane crash (1 in 9,820). A mass shooting has a 1 in 15,325 chance of happening statistically. Does this mean you start calculating your odds of survival everytime you eat or bike to work? Cancer, heart disease, suicide and car accidents have much higher chances of happening than an assault with a gun also.
Again, the odds are still there and people need to be aware just as with driving and biking and take proactive measures, but I just wanted to point this out as it’s the one area where it detracts from your piece. You point out how the media did that with Zarate by creating a bias, and all I’m saying is that it adds to the fear so many already live in watching news outlets slanted with biases. Alas, I realize this is also the writer’s curse. No piece will be completely balanced and our biases will unknowingly seep into our pieces.
Overall, it’s a damn fine piece filled with humility and compassion, but just something to consider for you future pieces. Thanks for this insightful and thoughtful post!