Doug Johnson: Even after 14 years, Virginia Tech shooting still shocking

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 11, 2021

On April 16, Virginia Tech will commemorate the 14th anniversary of when a student, Seung-Hui Cho, got a gun, walked onto the campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, and opened fire — killing 32 people and wounding 23 others before taking his own life.

Fourteen years ago, students were in shock and disbelief as they saw their fellow classmates gunned down right before their eyes.

It was the worst incident of school violence in U.S. history.

Email newsletter signup

In the midst of all the turmoil, one question kept coming up: Who’s to blame?

I remember channel-surfing on my TV, when I noticed that the news media had brought in analysts and psychologists to try and answer that question.

One channel did a story on the boy’s parents; another channel investigated the types of video games he was playing; still another did a story on gun control in the U.S.

So, do we blame his parents, the video games, or the guns? No one gave a definite answer.

The truth is: that young man made his own decision to kill those innocent people and he will stand in judgment before God for what he’s done.

However, many people wondered: “Why did he do it?”

We can pass legislation to ban guns, games, knives, etc., but if someone wants to kill another person – they will find a way to do it.

So, banning weapons and video games will not solve the problem because they’re not the root of the problem.

The root of the problem is sin!

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

What we have in the world is not a parenting problem, video game problem or gun-control problem… we have a sin problem. And when it comes to sin – anyone is capable of anything!

You see, we all have sinned at one time or another.

Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin was born.

Their disobedience also brought death into the world. So, the reason innocent people die and school violence is on the rise is because we live in a sinful world.

And the only cure for the sin problem is Jesus.

Many people asked, “If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, why didn’t He stop the violence from happening?”

Bryant Gumbel asked Ruth Graham, daughter of Billy Graham, that same question on the Today show after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

She replied, “For years, America has told God to stay out of our public schools, out of our government and out of our business… and God has listened.

Then when something bad goes wrong we wonder ‘Where’s God?’ We need to make up our minds – do we want Him or don’t we?”

If we want to see the violence stop, then we must go after the root of the problem.

And the only cure for the sin problem is Jesus.

Let us join together and pray for the families, students and faculty of Virginia Tech as well as all the victims of violence across our land.

May we also seek the Lord, repent of our sins, and ask Him to heal our land!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.