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Published:December 15th, 2010 14:52 EST

The Atheist Perspective: The Florida School Board Shooting and God

By Inactive Writer

Panama City school board members got the shock of their lives yesterday when a disgruntled gunman took the podium and started waving a gun around. Clay Duke, angry about his wife`s termination from her job at the school district, told select people to leave the room and ordered the men on the school board to stay. There are many details to go over here, but the only ones that matter are as follows:

- During Duke`s standoff, a woman came up from behind him and hit him with her purse. It did nothing to faze the man as she fell to the floor. He let her go, unscathed. Call it what you will - I call it instinct and survival.

- Superintendent Bill Husfelt kept cool in the face of his shaky gun, offering to help his wife find another job despite Duke never specifying who his wife was. He took blame for her dismissal, anyway.

- After some time, Duke aimed his sights at Husfelt`s head and opened fire, completely missing him. The rest of his shots went astray and hit no one, and a security guard traded gunfire with Duke, wounding him. Duke proceeded to shoot and kill himself.

After the ordeal, Bill Husfelt told Faux - I mean - Fox News: "God was standing in front of me and I will go to my grave believing that."

As an American with an opinion and one who loves to challenge the perceived reality of things, let me state that I`m not trying to crap all over this man and his beliefs. I feel I have to say that, because an atheist with an opinion just isn`t accepted in this nation yet.

Now, this event brings to mind the assassination attempt of Andrew Jackson. In 1835, a man approached Jackson at a funeral and pulled out a pistol. He fired at him at point-blank and the gun backfired. So, he pulled out a second gun and that one misfired as well. The odds of that happening were 125,000 to 1. What`s my point? If those guns didn`t backfire, Jackson would have been the first President to be assassinated in the nation`s history.

Something tells me that if this man really wanted to kill someone, he would have. If you watched the video, which, not unlike anything else in this nation was played over and over again by the media, you saw how close he was to those men. Mere feet separated him from the board members, and with his gun at point-blank, he MISSED? How can we be so sure? Consider this: The woman who nailed him in his plump head with her purse was staring down the barrel of his gun when she fell, and he didn`t shoot her. Maybe something other than God was at work here?

There have been quite a few hostage situations in our nation`s history - hey, that`s just the kind of people we are. Sadly, not every hostage situation results in such good news - some people end up being killed. I doubt you`d hear a victim`s family member say God was with the murdered victims. He never seems to be there when someone gets killed! However, if you stick around long enough and listen to these people as the media shoves their cameras in their faces looking for a good story, they`ll likely tell you that either God was watching over them, or that an angel was with them.

I turn to my mental chalkboard for this one: Person A is driving along Interstate 75 from a monster truck rally. Person B, a drunk driver, crosses the median at 65 MPH and slams into Person A`s car, killing him and his pet llama instantly. Person B, while dinged up a bit, lives to become an inmate`s boy toy, but will most likely be released on parole three years later thanks to our great "justice" system. Now which one was God with? Logic would tell me "the drunk driver." Naturally, people of faith have some platitudes to dismiss my reasoning:

"The good die young." Well, Jimmy Carter is up there in age. Gandhi was pretty old, too. Mother Teresa was 87. I think you get what I mean by now.

"It was his time to go." This one always scared me. I couldn`t function daily if I thought there was some guy above me that was just waiting for the right time to pull the plug on my life. Maybe he`d take me right as I got that promotion I always wanted? Maybe he`d take me a day after my wedding? I can`t live like that. I also can`t mourn properly knowing that some selfish being cut my loved one`s life short just so he could have her. At best, this is just something said to comfort someone going through a loss and to mask the reality of the circumstances.

"He`ll get his in the end." Are you SURE about that? Technically, Person B didn`t break any commandments intentionally. Even if he did, Christians seem to forget that soldiers kill people intentionally for a living, so that tosses that commandment out the window. Let`s say that over the course of the three years that our justice system thinks this Person B has thought about what he did, he begins to turn to God and read the Bible. He confesses all of his sins and asks for forgiveness. Theoretically, this man has his ticket into Heaven in the end to see his creator! This works the same way for murderers, rapists and drug dealers - Heaven isn`t looking so good now, is it?

It always strikes me as odd that after a large personal tragedy, many people mention God first. Wait a second - didn`t someone just fire 12 rounds of ammunition over your head? I`d be saying "holy sh--, I sure got lucky there!" I`d be holding my fiancée and sending my resume around to anyone that would read it. I`d also be giving credit where it was due - to the police force, the people who stayed calm and kept their heads, and the people that brought the shooter down. Why does God get all of the credit for - EVERYTHING? Births, deaths, medical breakthroughs, job promotions, EVERYTHING! Can we not reward each other for our efforts anymore?

In the end, it seems to me that God can pick and choose who he`s protecting on any given day, and that doesn`t seem fair to me. Hey - at least it makes for a good news story! Was the man really intending to kill anyone in the first place? It`s very hard to miss a target from a foot away, even if you`ve never fired a gun in your life, like me. Was he just trying to make a statement? These are the things that no one really takes into account and just throw "God was with me" into the equation as the answer.

This article is intended to give the rarely sought "other side" of the religious coin. Speaking of coins, this has been my two cents - because no one really wants to pick up a penny with the other side facing up anyway.

Note: The author of this article is no longer affiliated with theSOP.