Where To Stand Amidst A Burlington Shooting Near Your Home


She’s obsessed with super-heroes. Always has been. Superman, Batman, Wonder-woman, Flash.

It’s Saturday morning. The reports of a local, Burlington shooter, echoes in my mind.

“He’s still loose.” They say.

She wakes, I turn on Twitter, off the briefing. Letting her be a child…as long as grace will keep her.


After all, who wants to go from innocence…

To wondering if a day at the mall, might end in a rifle shooting?

I indulge her luxury of Saturday morning t.v., just a little bit longer.

Let her watch her story-line of good vs. bad, superheroes fighting for life and stability.

Yesterday, I posted a photo on Facebook. “Going shopping.”

Me and my two daughter’s smile into the camera, not knowing a gunman was planning to kill at one of the closest malls near our home…

And sadly, in today’s world…Evil isn’t just in Iraq or Syria, but can be here where we are living, in the hearts and minds of the people beside us. 

I ask my oldest, “Do you want to go north?” Twenty minutes north is where the Burlington mall is.

Burlington is quieter, calmer, a smaller town with few incidents, just an hour south from the Canadian border.

It’s a population of down to earth people, mostly Caucasian and Hispanic.

We often go to the movie theater there, and have taken half-a-dozen foster kids to Chucke-Cheese which is a part of the Burlington mall.

Almost without thinking, my older daughter says, “How about Everett”. Everett is twenty minutes in the opposite direction. South. A place we rarely visit.

Little did we know, a man with a riffle would enter Macy’s, a clothing franchise I used to work at, and start shooting those around him.

“Five confirmed dead”, reports say this morning.

And yet, some argue about politics, and race, about issues that many think might protect them, giving people an edge over this epidemic of hate…

Because as humans, we can mistakenly want to feel some kind of power over powerless situations…

Falsely thinking knowledge might save or insulate us, ridding us from a world where it’s no longer safe to play outside….until the neighborhood light comes on.

Yes, there is so much dark, we can forget there is still light among us.

  • Light in love and goodness
  • Light in right choices, and in healthy relationship.
  • Light in knowing and believing the Righteous Judge doesn’t condemn, fighting here and now, on our side, to defend us.

And we can approach the day, letting Our Maker shine from 3us…Instead of hiding ourselves in fear.

As I write, I still hear the animated cartoon characters battling in the other room.

I peak at the screen where a child is standing near a light post.

He clings to what seems to be a stuffed animal, looking for a redeemer…coming from the sky to protect him..

And I am captivated by this prophetic message to walk out into the day, stay standing, and remain close to the light, even though the war rages.

Not doubting…

Darkness always succumbs to the light. Brightness always shines where evil uses hate and lies to destroy us.

And yet, look at history. Never, never does evil prevail against us, when the story’s finished…

Regardless of how life seems, on the morning news. 

The police are still on a man hunt for the shooter, Twitter tells me.

I hear rumors of break-ins, and people saying we are not safe without weapons to defend us.

And yet, I refuse to head the warnings to lock our doors because an enemy is prowling around us.

Light never retreats from the dark. Light was meant to penetrate it.

57cc38113755bebd6f177c86bcf179e5Love is stronger than fear, His power is stronger than hate.

And we are not a world filled with darkness, but of light, created for good and His purposes. Made to have dominion…

Not the other way around.

My daughter’s superhero cartoon winds down. The music crescendos, and I feel the parallels of our two stories.

It may appear among loose shooters, and mall attacks, and hate lurking everywhere, that evil is winning…

But in the end of every superhero movie, every wrong is made right…

And that little child on the superhero cartoon was wise…We are all wise, when we position ourselves closer to the light.

I love a good superhero cartoon, don’t you?

The kind where a hero rushes in and saves those standing near the light, looking to the heavens.

Let’s not let fear intimidate us, hate dominate us. Let’s go out into the darkness…

And stand inside His light.

His Love lives in us. And love is enough.

Now let’s go out into this world and shine!

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it, and they are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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