We must all work together to erase the hate that is a stain in the soul of America.” —Joe Biden
OK, I realize not everyone likes the current president, but his words are spot on. On Saturday, May 14, 10 people were killed and others injured in a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.
On Sunday, May 15, two people were killed and three injured in a shooting in Houston, Texas. That same day, there was another shooting in Amarillo, Texas, where one person died and four were injured; and another in California, with one dead and five injured; and yet another in North Carolina, where seven people were injured.
We’ve already had 202 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022, only five months into the year. There’s been a steady increase in mass shootings in our country. In 2014, we had 269; last year, we had 611, according to gunviolencearchive.org. I’m not here to write about better gun control laws or to talk about mental illness or hate crimes. I’ve shared my opinions on those topics before: coastalcourier.com/opinion/mass-shootings- are-out-control/.
The shooter who walked into Tops Market in Buffalo, New York, has a written manifesto in which he proudly proclaims that he is a white supremacist. His thoughts were filled with hateful messages that penetrated his mind, crept into his soul and filled him with hatred. Then, he took it one step further and acted on his hatred. Dressed in full body armor and loaded to the nines with weapons, he walked into Tops Market with a mission — to kill those who looked different than him; to kill the people he was told, and later believed, were looking to replace him in society. This is the same man who, a year prior, threatened to attack the high school he attended and was referred to a hospital to undergo a mental health evaluation.
How did he get to this point? How did we as a country get to a point that several mass shootings over the course of a weekend is now normal in America?
Some, well, really, a lot of this we are seeing now stems from hate!
We need less hate and more acceptance. We need more do-gooders in our world. We need more people like former Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkel.
Sprinkel and other Senior members of the Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief team were in Poland for the past 10 days, helping Ukrainian refugees. They were there to help the refugees have safer shelter and to offer some comfort, to make sure these refugees of war have a better quality of life under their current circumstances.
While there, the team of volunteers built two sidewalks with pavers, installed three gates and fenced in a courtyard, while closing up a section of the fence that was open and left the refugees vulnerable.
The camp’s current shelter only has enough indoor space for the refugees to cook and sleep, so the team built a 12-by-20-foot shelter where the people can safely sit, eat and relax outside.
They built a bike rack and a clothesline to dry laundry.
The team also visited two other Ukrainian refugee camps, where they shared stories. Sprinkel said one camp had 140 people but only two washing machines with only an 8-pound capacity. Out of the kindness of their hearts, four volunteers, including Sprinkel, donated funds and bought another washing machine for that camp.
Despite all the awful experiences the Ukrainians have endured, Sprinkel said everyone he met said they still had their faith intact.
Everyone still has faith!
“You may think we were a blessing to them, but they were an overwhelming blessing to us,” Sprinkel texted me as he boarded the plane Monday in route back home.
I’m hoping to catch up with Sprinkel and learn all about his incredible journey once he is back home and rested up from his travels.
In a world full of bad news, we need stories like this to restore our faith in humanity as well.
This will be incredible news to share.
In a world full of people claiming to be a good Christian — but whose actions show otherwise — be a Bob Sprinkel.
We need more like him! Safe travels, my friend!
Patty Leon is senior editor of the Coastal Courier.