Prayers Needed for Family of Teenager Gunned Down in Cold Blood
[Editor’s Note: After reading this article, please make sure to follow this link where you can encourage the family of Gordon Schaffer with kind words and contribute something to the family’s memorial fund for Gordon.]
For the past week, as I go to the gym for my daily exercise routine, I have had the heaviest heart — one of the heaviest burdens I’ve had in a long time.
In the small shopping center here in my town sits a Papa John’s establishment. This past Monday, a young man of 22-years-old named Gordon Schaffer, lost his life in a robbery around 11:00 pm. Out of respect, when I walk by the shop I cut my mp3 player off and take off my hat as I see the balloons, posters, cards, and stuffed animals that have been laid at the store’s front entrance.
According to video evidence, Schaffer was cooperative with the robbers. He gave them what they asked for, but as they left, one turned around — for no other reason than a desire to kill — and began to shoot. They killed Schaffer out of cold blood, and that is the toughest pill to swallow: what did they have to gain by killing this young person for a few measly dollars from a till on a Monday night at Papa John’s?
It’s just devastating.
Jesus said in John 10:10, when speaking of the works of Satan, that “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” Jesus was addressing false teaching that was robbing people of the hope of Heaven that He offered — as noted in this great exposition of the passage — but he was also stating a truth about the nature of evil: a wicked heart corrupted with evil doesn’t need a reason to destroy.
The people responsible for Schaffer’s cruel murder were caught. And we come to find out that the person apprehended for murder and his accomplice are kids themselves — one only 17, and the other only 18. They have admitted to the crime, and they will more than likely spend the rest of their lives in jail. (And that is certainly a just punishment for such a heinous, needless crime.)
But for what and why?
I feel bad for all parties involved — obviously the family of the slain, but also the family that must bear the guilt of knowing that their child did something so terrible. In an instant, a ripple effect of catastrophic proportions has changed the lives of many people.
In moments like these, it’s hard not to ask: where did we go wrong in society? The secular problem solvers, the ones who don’t see any spiritual dimension behind events, will understandably search for earthly solutions. Was there not a safe place for these kids to go and find help for the psychological problems that ailed them? What led to their willingness to kill in cold blood? Was it their upbringing or was it something else? Is our mental health system too expensive and difficult to access?
These are all good questions to ask, but Jesus’ words remind me to see the spiritual root behind events. While earthly solutions will help, the root of the problem lies deeper, and — as Randy Phillips of Phillips, Craig & Dean mentioned in a recent interview — we’re only one prayer away from turning around as a nation and heading back in the right direction.
Jesus’ words also remind me that we have the hope of Heaven to comfort us. The darkness of this world, when all is said and done, will not have the last word, and I believe wholeheartedly that there is life after death.
But, even as I strain to see Heaven and see how our nation can make things right, still my heart breaks. And I am praying for the family of Schaffer.
Gordon “Gord” Schaffer was just a kid, he worked hard to become a manager at Papa John’s, and he had dreams eventually to move and start a life in Washington State. Everyone I have heard from on the news and local papers have had nothing but nice and genuine things to say about him. His family wants to scatter his remains in Washington State, and they have an account set up in his honor to help with donations: