ALVIN S. SIMPLETON SAYS IT HAS COME TO US

Reverend Williams sat in one of the chairs against the wall and shook his head.

In the barber chair sat Jabo, who had decided he needed a haircut.

Leroy was in his usual chair next to the door.

I sat against the wall next to Reverend Williams.

“What’s wrong,” Reverend, I asked.

“I was just thinking, it has been a week since that man shot some of the members of the Unitarian Church. What have we in this country come to that folks can’t feel safe anymore in church. Lord, God, help us,” he said.

Alvin looked up from cutting Jabo’s hair. “Well, youall, the madness out in the world has come to Knoxville. The paper said the guy shot all those folks because he hated liberals and democrats. Now ain’t that some shit.”

“The paper say he had a 12-gauge shotgun. Man, that crazy MF meant to do some damage.” Leroy shook his head. “Ain’t nobody safe anywhere no more.”

“Well,” I said, “they caught him and now he’s in jail charged with first degree murder.”

No one said anything. we were silent for about five minutes. I think Reverend Williams was praying.

Jabo had been quiet for some time as if he was thinking about what happened on Sunday (July 27). “You know,” he finally spoke, “I feel sorry for the families of those two people who died. You know something else, I always believed in God and that he takes care of us. But now, my faith is shaken, baby, shaken, I tell you.”

“Jabo.” Reverend Williams sat tall in his chair, and I was glad he didn’t stand because sometimes he just starts preaching on the spur of the moment. “Don’t blame God for what man does. God didn’t make that man shoot those people. He had the devil in him. He needed to be inside the church praying.”

“I hope God can forgive him, Reverend, because if I was kin to any of the folks who died or got wounded, I sure in hell wouldn’t.” Alvin finished Jabo and motioned for him to get out of the chair, and for Reverend Williams to get in it.

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