The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Texas is going to be demolished. As with many sites of mass shootings and disasters, the church will be bulldozed to the ground either making way for a memorial or the construction of a new facility to honor God and those who died worshipping Him.
Which means that all that will be left of the tragic slaughter that took place there will be the memories of the few survivors, and 7 minutes of horrific video footage recorded by the church’s web camera. First Baptist put all their services online for later viewing, and November 5th, 2017 was no exception. That means that authorities have in their possession some of the most unsettling, disturbing, and grisly video imaginable.
And they can’t ever release it. Ever.
And understanding that things have a way of leaking out (footage from the Columbine slaughter has been available on YouTube for years), perhaps it’s best if they destroy it permanently. Once the investigation has concluded there is simply nothing positive that will ever come from that footage being seen. By anyone.
Closure for victims’ families? Stop. No one needs to see babies being shot five times in the head for closure.
Education on how to protect ourselves or others? Nonsense. This isn’t a military training exercise video, and this wasn’t a trained killer following some tactical maneuvers manual on how to assassinate churchgoers. This was a haphazard, sloppy, and grotesquely indiscriminate slaughter.
Historical purposes? Foolish. No one needs to see video of the gas showers suffocating innocent Jews to death to remember the Holocaust and know Hitler was a devil. A future memorial and the ghastly news reports that will be remain from that horrible day in Texas will remind us what happened just fine.
The longer the video from First Baptist is in tact, the greater the odds that it will leak online become. And once online, it will never again be bottled up or contained. Its potential dissemination would only inflict greater suffering on those who have lost so much, tempt the unthinkable odds that it could inspire a copycat, and go to immortalize a wicked demon whose existence should be forgotten in our collective conscious as soon as possible.
For the sake of the victims who deserve to be remembered in a manner more dignified than what that video would present, for the families who have suffered enough, for the sake of a culture that has daily reminders of the presence of evil as it is, may law enforcement authorities heed the humble wisdom of Charlene Uhl, mother of 16-year-old victim Haley Krueger:
“No one ever needs to see that.”
She’s right, so let’s see to it that they don’t.