On Tuesday, CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke to Michael Grady, a former Army chaplain living in El Paso, Texas whose daughter was shot and critically wounded in this weekend's mass shooting.
"You were in the military. You've seen horrific things. Now you are going through this," said Cooper. "How do you counsel yourself? What do you tell yourself about how this happened, why this happened?"
"I'm reminded that God is faithful, and that God requires something of us as humans, and that this horrific tragedy was based on a programming," said Grady. "I remember when Trayvon Martin was shot, and I've watched over the years, things escalated and there was no retribution and no consequences for the actions. I knew this day was going to come because God holds us accountable. You reap what you sow. The judgment is on the nation because we walked away from the principles of love and peace and hope and faith."
"It sounds to me that you would like to give that message to our leaders, to our president," said Cooper. "He's coming here tomorrow. What would you say to him?"
"I would say to President Trump that words matter," said Grady. "And once you speak words, whether good words or words of divisiveness and hatred and division, words matter. And once they're spoken, they can't be brought back. And they may land in a place maybe that you may not even understand who is going to receive it or how they're going to receive it. So you have the responsibility to filter your words with love. You're the president of all people of the United States."
"And so I think that if I had an opportunity to share with him, would I just ask him what's in your heart?" continued Grady. "The scripture says out of the heart flows the issues of life. So what he speaks is in his heart. I watched the interview the other day when he spoke and tried to make some semblance of apology — I didn't see any passion. I saw him read it from a monitor, but I didn't see a real man standing up to take advantage of an opportunity to say, I've done some things wrong. I said some things. I called people sh*thole countries and called people aliens and that we're being invaded. But you've got to reap what you sow."
"I would say, Mr. President, you created in the nation an environment where people feel they have a right to act out in violence and in hatred. They feel they've been given permission," said Grady. "And so that's what I would share with him, that he has created this theme that now permeates the air. You don't know who's going to grab it. It's like the Internet. You don't know who is going to read it and what their thoughts are. He has a responsibility to own up and then to try to heal this nation. Not just our city but the nation."
"It's often said that it takes a village to raise one child," said Grady. "Well, what if the village is sick? Then the child's going to come out sick. So our nation is a big village but our nation is sick and it's being taken advantage of because of the color of the skin, the ethnicity the religious culture. We could do good but we've allowed our evil to be more predominant. Instead of bringing people together, we've divided the nation."