COLUMBUS, Ga. – Shockwaves from the Orlando shooting are being felt in Columbus as well. Several people in Columbus are turning to faith as a means to find answers in the largest mass shooting in American history. Community and faith-based leaders are weighing in as well. Pastor Robert Beckum of St. Luke United Methodist Church says despite being hundreds of miles away from tragedy, the Fountain City still feels the effects.
“It’s simply not enough to think, well that’s in another part of the community,” Beckum said. “It’s not in my neighborhood. It is our neighborhood. The whole community is our responsibility.”
Beckum planned to speak on the importance of forgiveness, love and gratitude Sunday morning. But not only did he deliver his sermon mere hours after the Orlando massacre, he delivered comfort to his congregation. He says the detached nature of the gunman Omar Mateen contributed to his demented and disturbing history. Beckum even relates Sunday’s shooting to the Charleston church massacre.
“It’s no different thank the way in which Dylan Roof in Charleston acted out against a backdrop of racial hatred,” Beckum said.
Director of COLGAY Pride Jeremy Hobbs believes every person in America should be outraged after the shooting. He says the targeted attack was meant to instill fear in gay Americans.
“We still have made progress,” Hobbs said. “And if we still accept a setback, then terror wins. If people stop putting on pride events, then terror wins.”
Hobbs says the mourning and healing process must start immediately.
“It’s going to take some time to regain the trust, to be who we are and to go out unafraid,” Hobbs explained.
Columbus Police advice to run away from the venue of an attack. They say officers should be trusted to neutralize the threat.