Cover Story

A town clothed in misery

"A town clothed in misery" Continued...

Issue: "Another dark day in America," Jan. 12, 2013

“I believe that God uses all things for good,” said Mancini. He continued: “I don’t know how He’s going to use this for good. But what I see in the students who I work with who have grown up in this area, who for them, the reality of the brokenness of this world has always been a concept to be agreed with, and like, a philosophical point to be made in communicating the gospel. I think for the first time ever they are actually feeling and experiencing the injustice and brokenness of the world in a way that people who live in the richest county in the richest nation that’s ever been have probably never experienced before. I don’t want to for one second say this is good. This is awful.” 

Mancini grew emotional as he talked, the veil covering his grief slipping away. “I have to preach tonight. I have to go speak to a community of young adults and college students tonight and I still don’t know what I’m going to say. God is good and the gospel is true, and this is Advent. If there’s ever a time that we need to be longing—we talk about longing for Jesus to come. But so much of the time we’re just like, ‘Well, I don’t know, things are pretty good.’ … Maybe in this, when we’re confronted with this darkness, man, I don’t know, my hope is that people will see that the gospel is true. And that there is hope. … There is no other faith, other view of God, other than the God of the Bible who knows this pain firsthand. And He conquered it and He’s coming back to make all things new. So there’s hope. That’s it.”

Escalating violence: mass shootings in the United States


April 20: 13 killed, 24 injured; Columbine, Colo. In a four-hour siege at Columbine High School, students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot students and a teacher before taking their own lives—in what was then the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

July 29: 9 killed, 12 injured; Atlanta, Ga. At All-Tech Investment Mark Orrin Barton, 44, killed and injured fellow investors and office workers. Barton killed himself following a six-hour manhunt.

Sept. 15: 7 killed, 7 injured; Fort Worth, Texas. Worshippers at Wedgwood Baptist Church kept singing as Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire in the crowded chapel then took his own life.


Dec. 26: 7 killed; Wakefield, Mass. Seven employees died at Edgewater Technology Inc., after colleague Michael McDermott, 42, shot them.


March 5: 2 killed, 13 injured; Santee, Calif. Charles Andrew Williams, 15, surrendered to police after opening fire in the bathroom and courtyard of Santana High School.


July 8: 5 killed, 9 injured; Meridian, Miss. At a Lockheed Martin defense plant, employee Doug Williams, 48, killed five and wounded nine before ending his own life.


March 21: 9 killed, 7 injured; Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minn. After fatally shooting his grandparents in their home, 16-year-old Red Lake High School student Jeffrey Weise arrived at school and killed classmates, a teacher, and a security guard before taking his own life.


Oct. 2: 5 killed, 5 injured; Nickel Mines, Pa. Ten Amish girls, ages 6 to 13, were taken captive in their one-room schoolhouse and then shot by Charles Carl Roberts IV, who killed himself during a police assault.


Feb. 12: 5 killed, 4 injured; Salt Lake City. Shoppers at a city mall fled for cover as Sulejman Talovic, an 18-year-old Bosnian refugee, began firing at random with a 12-gauge shotgun. Police killed Talovic in a subsequent shootout.

April 16: 32 killed, 17 injured; Blacksburg, Va. Senior Seung-hui Cho, 23, killed himself after shooting nearly 50 students and teachers at Virginia Tech in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. 

Dec. 5: 8 killed, 4 injured; Omaha, Neb. At Von Maur department store Robert Hawkins, 19, fired at customers and employees with an AK-47. He took his own life after killing eight others.


Feb. 14: 5 killed, 16 injured; Dekalb, Ill. A Northern Illinois University geology class erupted when former student Steven Kazmierczak sprayed bullets into the classroom of more than 100 students before shooting himself. 


April 3: 13 killed, 4 injured; Binghamton, N.Y. After blocking the back entrance with his car to prevent people from escaping, Jiverly Voong, 41, murdered 13 and killed himself at an immigration services center. 

Nov. 5: 13 killed, 32 injured; Ft. Hood, Texas. Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great) before shooting 45 people—13 fatally. 


Feb. 12: 3 killed, 3 injured; Huntsville, Ala. University of Alabama in Huntsville faculty dove under a conference table as biology professor Amy Bishop, denied tenure, began shooting. Bishop, 47, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Aug. 3: 8 killed, 2 injured; Manchester, Conn. Accused of stealing beer, truck driver Omar Thornton, 34, fatally shot eight people at Hartford Distributors before taking his own life.


Jan. 8: 6 killed, 11 injured; Tucson, Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was among the injured in 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner's shooting spree at a constituent meeting in a supermarket parking lot. 

Oct. 22: 8 killed, 1 injured; Seal Beach, Calif. Scott Dekraai, 41, allegedly killed his ex-wife and seven others in an attack lasting two minutes at the Seal Beach Hair Salon. He has pleaded not guilty. 


April 2: 7 killed, 3 injured; Oakland, Calif. At Oikos University former student One Goh, 43, allegedly used a semi-automatic handgun to kill seven and wound three. A court-ordered psychologist has ruled Goh, who said he's “deeply sorry” for the shooting, mentally incompetent to stand trial.

July 20: 12 killed, 58 injured; Aurora, Colo. A midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises became a nightmare as 24-year-old James Holmes entered through an exit door and began firing. He is being held pending trial.

Aug. 5: 6 killed, 3 injured; Oak Creek, Wis. In the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, Army veteran Wade Michael Page, 40, killed six with a 9mm handgun before being wounded—then killing himself—during a police shootout. 

Sept. 28: 6 killed, 2 injured; Minneapolis. The owner of a sign-making company and five others died after disgruntled former employee Andrew Engeldinger, 36, opened fire in a company office, then killed himself.

Oct. 21: 3 killed, 4 injured; Brookfield, Wis. Zina Haughton and two other women at the salon where she worked died after her estranged husband, former Marine Radcliffe Haughton, 45, shot seven people and then himself.

Dec. 11: 2 killed, 1 injured; Clackamas County, Ore. Christmas shoppers filled a shopping mall outside Portland when Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, allegedly randomly killed two people and injured a third before turning the gun on himself.

Dec. 14: 27 killed, 1 injured; Newtown, Conn. Twenty first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary died after Adam Lanza, 20, apparently killed his mother at home before embarking on a shooting rampage at the school and killing himself. Six adults at Sandy Hook also died, including the principal.

—compiled by J.C. Derrick, Daniel James Devine, and Kristin Chapman; sources: Los Angeles Times and other news articles

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD Magazine from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emlybelz.


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