In September of 2017, a man from Nashville killed one woman and injured several others outside the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. Then he accidentally shot himself, but the shot wasn’t fatal.
The trial just ended on Friday. The shooter was found guilty on all 43 charges against him and all that’s left is the sentencing. But one of the most compelling bits of testimony came from the shooter’s father, Vanansio Samson, who said on the stand that he begged police to take away his son’s guns before the incident occurred — to no avail.
He also tried using religion.
Vanansio Samson said he was worried about his son hurting himself. When he received a note that Samson might hurt himself, his father called Murfreesboro police — adding he wanted police to take away any guns he might have but police told him that they couldn’t.
The elder Samson claimed his son was seeing black or white visions. He asked Samson to pray to keep the demons away by placing a Bible under his pillow — a practice in Sudan.
“We believe where I came from in South Sudan, you have some nightmare, dream, you always take a Bible and pray at night before you go to bed and put it under the pillow. No nightmare will come back to you at night when you’re sleeping,” Vanansio said.
“I send him message that he need to have faith. Take a Bible, put under your pillow and pray to God and those demons will go away. And I said, he need to be strong. He’s my only son, I don’t have any other kid and losing him means I will also lose my life. So I keep calming him down until I came back in March of 2017,” he added.
It’s frightening that he thought a Bible would keep non-existent demons away, but give Samson credit for doing the right thing, too. He asked law enforcement for help. Unfortunately, Tennessee is one of 35 states that has no “Red flag laws” — laws that allow law enforcement to take guns away from people deemed a credible threat to themselves or others. Tennessee is one of 22 states where there hasn’t even been a proposal for such a law.
Had the father only relied on the Bible to “cure” his son’s alleged mental illness, he would deserve his own share of criticism. But in this case, Tennessee’s gun laws were just as useful as biblical superstition.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)