Futile Job Search Sparked Church Shooting

Todays’ USA Today shows this headline for the horrible shooting that took place at a church in Knoxville, TN yesterday.

“It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement,” Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV told reporters on Monday.

Authorities also discovered a letter from the state government telling Adkisson he was having his food stamps reduced or eliminated, police said.

“He did express that frustration, that the liberal movement was getting more jobs,” Owen said. “And he felt like he was being kept out of the loop because of his age.”  The gunman, Jim Adkisson, was 58.  He had been working as a truck driver but neighbors didn’t think he had been working steadily in the past six months. 

There are so many ways to respond around this dreadful incident.  Obviously I believe there are still opportunities for work in America.  They don’t look like the old jobs — but they are opportunities nonetheless if we can reframe our thinking and expectations.  I know owner-operators have been hit hard with the current gas prices – and it may be wise to move on to something else.  But trucking companies are simply raising their prices and are still paying their drivers well.  Yesterday, I drove a truck back from Indianapolis to Nashville and spent a lot of road time reading the back end of trucks where the companies are looking for more drivers – at $.49 a mile.  At 400 miles a day, that’s still $1000 a week. 

Landscapers and construction managers are telling me they can’t find enough people to keep up with their work commitments.  Many of them are working their available workers 12 hours a day in an attempt to keep up.  I have a construction project that we would love to have completed, and the contractors I have bidding on the job are saying they are 2-3 months out in work committed. 

Change can lead to frustration, anger and murder – or it can lead to seeing new options for different, but meaningful and profitable work. 

At the risk of sounding too simplistic, let me end with this:

“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.”  —Alexander Graham Bell

Share this Post