Yet Another Shooting Rampage

Jim Adkisson entered the Unitarian Church for a children’s play earlier today, carrying a guitar case. But instead of taking out a guitar and singing Kumbaya, he pulled out a shotgun, killed two adults, and wounded seven others before being overpowered.

This was in Knoxville Tennessee.

Jim Adkisson, 58, of Powell, Tennessee, was charged with one count of first-degree murder, Kenner said Sunday evening.

Adkisson is not believed to have been a member of the Knoxville church, and investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen told reporters.

cnn

Comments

  1. #1 fizzchick
    July 27, 2008

    Just a pedantic note: It’s the Unitarian Universalist Church, and has been for some 47 years now.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    July 27, 2008

    I believe that it is correct to refer to a particular church of this sect as a “Unitarian Church.” Certainly every major news agency does, and they have a book that they keep updated with the official names for things. So they would know, right?

    Furthermore, my best friend in High School and his family were in the Unitarian Church, and they never called it that. That was less than 47 years ago.

    So I’m not buying it. Maybe it’s like a lot of things. There’s a long version and a short version. That does not sound like a thing the Unitarian Universalists would do anyway … changing the name and all. Sounds more like a Mormon thing.

  3. #3 Stewy
    July 28, 2008

    Seems Adkisson may have been an atheist or agnostic… get ready for the generalizations to start flying, ppl…
    Freakin assholes ruining it for the rest of us…

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    July 28, 2008

    Stewy: Did you read that somewhere? That thought occurred to me, but really, a atheist going after a unitarian is more like infighting than anything else.

  5. #5 Stewy
    July 28, 2008

    I saw an interview with one of his neighbors who said she had extensive conversations with him, and that when she told him her daughter was graduating from bible college he freaked out and stuff… She claimed he was always angry with his parents for making him go to church when he was a kid, and she said he had problems with Christianity and would point out contradiction in the bible… She never explicitly said he was an atheist though.
    Here’s a link to the video I saw:
    http://www.volunteertv.com/home/headlines/25972159.html

  6. #6 Virgil Samms
    July 28, 2008

    Virgil comes through with a link:
    Man charged in Tenn. church shooting that killed 2

    The gunman’s motive was not known. But Kemper said the gunman shouted before he opened fire.
    .
    “It was hateful words. He was saying hateful things,” she said, but refused to elaborate.

    Karen Massey, who lived two houses from Adkisson’s home, told the Knoxville News Sentinel of a lengthy conversation she had with Adkisson a couple years ago after she told him her daughter had just graduated from Johnson Bible College. She said she ended up having to explain to him that she was a Christian.
    .
    “He almost turned angry,” she told the newspaper. “He seemed to get angry at that. He said that everything in the Bible contradicts itself if you read it.”
    .
    Massey said Adkisson talked frequently about his parents, who “made him go to church all his life. … He acted like he was forced to do that.”

  7. #7 HP
    July 28, 2008

    We all know that Unitarians are not Christians, right?

    ["unitarian" = "not trinitarian" = "denies the trinity" = "denies the divinity of Jesus" = "not Christian."]

    If he was motivated by anti-Christian feelings, he’s clearly also an idiot. Of course, non-idiots tend more toward serial killing than spree killing.

    Another angle here at Pandagon:

    The church is the site of some gay affirming activities. A member of the congregation wrote in a national blog that the church just recently put up a sign welcoming gays. One of the goals of the church’s long range plan is to “Increase congregational participation in human rights programs for gay/lesbian/transgendered persons.”

  8. #8 HP
    July 28, 2008

    One more thing: It’s not unusual for sociopaths to be motivated by hatred of God. But “hating God” is still a form of theism. God-haters are not atheists. You can’t hate what doesn’t exist.

  9. #9 Andrew
    July 28, 2008

    As he is apparently also a gun toter, he is probably also a libertarian.

  10. #10 Stephanie Z
    July 28, 2008

    Andrew, it was a shotgun. Not that I think you can reasonably guess someone’s political views by looking at their handgun ownership either, but a shotgun in particular unsually just indicates a hunter.

  11. #11 DaleP
    July 28, 2008

    Hmmmmm….
    Greg Laden wrote:

    I believe that it is correct to refer to a particular church of this sect as a “Unitarian Church.” Certainly every major news agency does, and they have a book that they keep updated with the official names for things. So they would know, right?

    Furthermore, my best friend in High School and his family were in the Unitarian Church, and they never called it that. That was less than 47 years ago.

    So I’m not buying it. Maybe it’s like a lot of things. There’s a long version and a short version. That does not sound like a thing the Unitarian Universalists would do anyway … changing the name and all. Sounds more like a Mormon thing.
    ———-

    Let me start at the beginning.

    There is no simple name to describe a church of this “sect” Neither we nor others usually refer to our denomination as a sect. First, we have congregational polity, meaning the fundamental unit of governance is the individual church. There is no person or body that can or attempts to direct the choices of any UU church. Second, there is no creed or similar. We are a covenantal denomination, not credal; we agree to work to work together, but insist on no belief for membership. (we make a covenant with each other, not with an external power)

    The approximately 1000 congregations have voluntarily agreed to create a national organization, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. (www.uua.org) This organization is only permitted to do what the congregations direct it to do. It is a service organization, not an upper level of a hierarchy. It was formed in 1961 by the merger of the Unitarians and the Universalists (long and interesting history for each).

    When the merger happened, existing individual churches could choose to change their name, which many but not all did. New churches and fellowships usually include Unitarian Universalist in their name, but not all. I don’t know when this particular congregation was organized, but at founding or later, it chose the name “Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church”

    Apparently your friend attended a church that continued to have only “Unitarian” in its name. Many of the older congregations, 100 to 200 years old, chose to do that, in recognition of their heritage. They are still members of the UUA.

  12. #12 DaleP
    July 28, 2008

    As far as newsroom style books, note that a recent USAToday article http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2008/07/chief-church-gu.html
    refers to the “Tennessee Valley Universalist Church”. I don’t think US journalists have this worked out at all. I suggest using what the congregation calls itself.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    July 28, 2008

    Dale: The press always calls it the “Tennessee Valley Universalist Church” or “Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church” or whatever. That is the name of that specific church. And it is correct to call the congregation what it calls itself, the press did that, and I did not fail to do that.

    The general term “A Unitarian Church” is to “The Tennessee Valley Universalist Unitarian Church” what “The Catholic Church” is to “Mary Holy Mother Of the Blessed Sacrament Church of Pawtucket Rhode Island”

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    July 28, 2008

    Dale, thanks for the interesting overview.

    My friend’s church was called “The Unitarian Church of Albany” and was part of the UU convention to which you refer. So they called themselves a unitarian church yet were part of that organization. Ironically, the Universalists predate the Unitarians in Albany (both going back more than a hundred years) and originally the two groups formed a unified organization way before any of the rest of you’all even thought of it. They’re quite proud of that fact.

    Not all Unitarian Churches are part of the UU.

  15. #15 Stewy
    July 28, 2008

    Seems it was just some crazy old wanker pissed off at us crazy liberals… apparently we took his jobs…
    http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/Story?id=5463260&page=1

  16. #16 Tree
    July 28, 2008

    From Stewy’s link: “Jim D. Adkisson, 58, ranted that “liberals and gays” taking jobs had prevented him from finding work. He wrote that he expected to keep shooting parishioners until the police showed up and killed him, Knoxville, Tenn., Police Chief Sterling Owen told a news conference. ”

    Tree, rolling eyes:
    Because we all know what a Liberal, gay-loving mecca Nashville is, never mind that those pansy-lovers would just stand around being shot like fish in a bucket until the manly fuzz arrived.

    We’re not even cracker eaters! Chocolate communion only sometimes, really.

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