In December 2011, I wrote a column that recapped several incidents of fatal violence that had happened that year in Texas County. In it, I stated that the frequency of crime-related blood-letting was not only already on the increase in rural, largely untainted places like this, but would steadily ratchet up even more as time went by.

I took a little heat because of its rather negative tone and for sharing my belief that the world is on a downward spiral with no way to turn back. The piece was titled, “There will be blood.”

Well, here we are.

For a long time, Texas County Sheriff James Sigman and I have been talking about how it was only a matter of time before something very, very bad happened within his jurisdiction involving a firearm. We were in agreement that, “it’s coming.”

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

Well, here we are.

I guess the magnitude – seven murders and a suicide – might be a tad bit larger than we ever envisioned. But that only bolsters the case for the unfortunate direction in which humanity is headed.

I’m not a pessimist. My wife will vouch for that.

But I’m a big-time realist, and I don’t (and can’t) see the world through rose-colored glasses. I clearly recognize what’s actual versus theatrical. And I understand the Biblical concept that there will be rebellion against God and a “falling away” prior to Christ’s return (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

I realize only one man was responsible for what happened last week in Tyrone, but I think Joe Aldridge’s door-to-door killing spree – that is now destined to live forever in infamy – is representative of the path we’re all headed down (willingly or not), and it’s similar to the path everyone was following while they scoffed at Noah just before destruction came upon them.

The Bible says in Matthew 24:12 that “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” That’s happening in March 2015 – for real. Many people don’t regard human life as having much value, and their actions prove it.

Problems? Shoot ’em down. Somebody disagrees with you? Behead ’em.

What difference does it make? They’re just people and there’s plenty more where that came from.

It’s inarguable: There’s increased violence everywhere you turn. But never mind ISIS, North Korea and Boko Haram – beware your own neighborhood.

My day began last Friday with the phone ringing well before dawn. It was Houston Herald publisher Brad Gentry, who apologized for waking me up so early. Several hours later, I sent these words by email to several people I know in multiple corners of the U.S.:

Phone rang at about 5.

It was my publisher Brad.

He told me to take my camera to Highway H because there were “8 dead.”

It’s about a mile and a half from our house.

You’ve probably seen some of the photos I took.

Sheriff Sigman and I have been waiting for something like this, although maybe not to this scale.

The world’s not in good shape and it’s not going to get better.

I’m tired.

I’ve since read those words about 87 times and tears have welled up more than once. I didn’t sleep very well Friday or Saturday night because scenarios kept bouncing around in my head (not looking for sympathy – just saying).

Mere hours before a man and his .45 spread death across Tyrone, editor Jeff McNiell and I were talking last Thursday afternoon about the previous week’s murder-for-hire case in Houston. Something I said ended up being highly ironic.

“I guess we have our No. 1 online story for the year,” I said. “What could possibly top that?”

What indeed. Now I wonder what will trump the Tyrone murders – and when it will take place.

Maybe – God willing – this event will be the biggie in our lifetimes on a local level, but I think it would be naïve to rule out that a trumping could take place at any moment.

A couple of sentences from that 2011 column: “We can’t stop what’s coming, and we sure can’t hide from it. There may be some lulls and pauses, but this isn’t going away, it’s a sign of the times.”

Is there any doubt that that’s even truer now than then?

Another snippet from 2011: “Family structure is eroding beyond repair, self-glorification and gratification have become high priorities, and respect for the feelings, possessions, and even lives of others diminishes on a daily basis.”

Again – even truer now than then.

One more flashback from the 2011 piece: “The perpetrators represent a cross-section of Americana; some have been brought up in an environment where generational shortcomings are allowed to proliferate, and the difference between right and wrong is virtually unspoken and almost entirely unrecognizable, but others come from backgrounds that would be considered far more ‘stable’ and ‘safe.’”

These days, it’s almost impossible to know who you’re dealing with. The person who poses a threat isn’t necessarily the guy on TV wearing a black facial sock. It could be an acquaintance, friend, or even relative.

The good news is that none of this comes as a surprise to God. Make no mistake, He’s in complete control and it’s all part of a plan more complex than we can possibly fully comprehend that concludes with all of humanity ultimately submitting to His sovereignty (as says His Word in Romans 14:11).

With that in mind, we had best hold on tight, because the ride gets rougher the rest of the way.

Sigman summed it up perfectly during a press conference witnessed by millions last Friday when he said, “start locking your doors – the world’s changing.”

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.  Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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