School Shootings: What is at the Heart?

Posted on February 16, 2018
Filed Under Current Events | 1 Comment

I have been reading, with great interest, the coverage and responses to the recent school shooting in Florida. I am appalled that a person could be so calloused as to enter a place like that to kill and maim fellow students and faculty. One thing that I believe everyone agrees with: we need to do something to stop these violent actions!  Unfortunately, the agreement usually stops right there. That is one of the main reasons nothing ever changes. We cannot agree on what needs to be changed!  Some declare that writing more gun laws will magically stop the violence. Others declare that placing armed guards in the schools will magically stop the violence. The truth is, both types of responses are only knee jerk reactions to the problem, a mere band-aid on the symptoms that afflict our society. There may be some perceptible improvements with properly implemented strategies, but then the locations or methodologies would just change, and the violence would remain the same.

We really need to get down to the heart of the problem. The real problem is not guns. The amount of lawfully held guns used in crime is negligible at best. That means that many “common sense gun laws” have already been broken before a criminal every shoots his first victim. That tells us that adding more “common sense laws” is really not the answer. Video games are not the problem. Some people want to cast all of the woes of these violent acts at the feet of the video game manufacturers, and more recently even at the feet of the social media developers. However, these venues are not the problem, but a symptom of the problems that have been responsible for destroying our society as a whole. They didn’t come first, they came riding the wave of the other, more significant problems!

The root of these violent attacks is far more significant, and severe than kids figuring out how to get their hands on guns, or other implements that can be unlawfully used for destruction. The root is at the very heart of what we have done to and with our children for nearly 5 generations. I recently read an article that the stated that the problem had to do with self-image. This article declared that we haven’t focused enough on every child’s own self-perception. In other words, we haven’t made them feel important enough, and so they go on a rampage and take the lives of other children whom they perceive to be “more important” than themselves. Quite frankly, I disagree in the most vehement terms. Please allow me express what I think to be the problem in our society that leads to so much violence.

We have devalued human life. For many years, through our education system and governmental policies, we have worked to devalue life. Not only do we devalue life, but we make sure to drill it into the young impressionable minds of our students that life has no intrinsic value. From a young age, we teach our children that they are nothing more than the fortunate ape that won the genetic lottery. They have no real purpose. If they had taken a left turn instead of a right at that last evolutionary branch, they would quite literally be sitting in a tree. I know that is a gross oversimplification of evolution, but the point still comes through. You come from nowhere, you are going nowhere, and death is the end. There are no consequences to your actions once you die! Having established this point, we then move on to pushing our “social” agendas that reflect the same view of life itself. We idolize abortion, and euthanasia. After all, if there are no eternal consequences to actions after death, then choosing to end life on either end of the spectrum becomes more about convenience than conviction. I just read a statistic that claimed that about 1.5 million people have died by gun incident since 1963 in the US. The stat outrages us. But over 58 million children have been aborted, and that is actually applauded in many circles. Worldwide, estimates are that there are between 40 and 50 million abortions per year. The argument that we must do something about guns because of the number of children it could save loses its luster when we’ve lost 58 million children to abortion. I am not arguing that nothing needs to be done. I am arguing that until we begin to teach our children that there is intrinsic value to human life, nothing is going to change. It does not matter how many laws we write!

We have made children self-centered.  Amazingly, at the same time that we have taught on the grander level that humans have no intrinsic value, we have taught our individual children that they are center of the universe, and the best there is!   For a couple generations at least, the parenting style has been implemented that makes children the most important role in the family. How is this achieved?  Everything revolves around them, and what they desire. Focus is placed on every activity that they want to participate in, and they are never restrained from their desires. We joke about the toddler in the grocery store who cries until he gets what he wants from his mother. But that is only the beginning of teaching children that they are the center of everything. Children are constantly told that they are the best and the brightest children ever, even when that is clearly not the case. This has gone far beyond “proud parent” status. Children are actually convinced that they are smarter than anyone else around them. I have seen children that have been fed this idea from the time they were very young be so pompous that they have no ability to interact with other people. They constantly look down on everyone else and treat them as inferior. The problem is, nearly every child has been told the same thing by their parents!  Many of these children are never given any real responsibility in their lives, because their “value” has to be protected. I have seen many of these children never have to do any work, even chores (for the most part) around the house. Everything THEY are is most important, not what they contribute to family or society. Education, and extracurricular events become the center of their world, and nothing (like real life responsibilities) can interfere with that!  If you doubt this, ask yourself how we end up with a whole generation of college students who cannot function in their classes because they didn’t like the outcome of an election?

We have emphasized for some time now that every single person is “special” and deserves to be treated better than everyone else. In fact, the media in particular has spent hours over the last few years indoctrinating us with the idea that every single person can be as wicked and hedonistic as they want, and still be treated better than others around them. Add to that the praising of those who resort to violence to achieve their desired end, and we have created a perfect storm for violent school shootings. Kids see, on the news, ranting and raving, looting and violence by groups such as Black Lives Matter, who make many unfounded accusations declaring that they are mistreated. They haven’t gotten their way, so turn to violence! They get attention. They get very little negative press (that is, most of the media report their actions in a favorable way.) So, when a kid doesn’t get his way, or get the attention that he thinks he deserves, he turns to similar tactics, in a way that will draw him the attention he craves. You see, in both instances, it is “all about me!”  Our problem is not that we have not shown enough attention to our youth as a whole, but rather that we have made them so self-centered that they cannot function when they discover they are not the center of everything!

We have removed all moral compass. This point contributes to the previous one. As a part of educating our children, and making them self-centered, we have removed any moral standard. We cannot say that any moral perversion is “wrong” because we have no standard to appeal to. We certainly cannot turn to scripture!  So, we have not only removed the moral compass, but we have bashed it against a stone. Homosexuality cannot be spoken against. In fact, it is actively pushed in our education system, in our media, and increasingly even in our religious institutions. Rampant divorce and remarriage is celebrated. Pre-marital relations are encouraged. Even pedophilia is being encouraged in some circles. It will gain ground; just as other sexual perversions have. We live in a society that celebrates each and every one of these perversions and encourages children to experiment with them. Why? Because we live in a hedonistic society, which emphasizes, “Me first!” This is at the very heart of being self-centered! Whatever is good for me is all that matters! “But,” some would say, “what about what is good for society?”  Without a moral standard, there is absolutely no way to answer that question! I get to make up my mind for myself what I think is good for me and/or society! I contend that these kids don’t take up a weapon and attack their fellow students because they are mad that the kids are better than them in some way, but rather because they’ve realized they, themselves, are not what they have been led to believe. They aren’t the center of the universe. They aren’t the best. They aren’t the most popular. They have been deceived! So, they act out on all that they have been taught. They respond with violence, as there are no real consequences to their actions. They are unable to process a world where they are accountable for their own decisions.

So, what is the solution?  Certainly there are no easy answers. More gun control laws?  No, that won’t work. Criminals are already breaking the laws that are on the books. More security?  That may work in a limited sense. That would just move the violence to some place other than schools, most likely.

The real solution is changing hearts and minds. We need to teach our children that there is indeed intrinsic value in human life. To achieve that, we have to teach them that this life is not all that there is. There is something more…much more! There is eternity. If we want to make a difference, then we need to be more diligent in teaching the gospel message. When our kids really know who they are, and what their purpose is, they will reject the propaganda they are bombarded with on a daily basis!

Next, parents have to return to a biblical order for the family. Children need to learn that they are a part of something greater. They are a part of a family. They are a part of a society. They have a role, and it is not the head of the world!  Parents need to be the parents. Certainly, we do not want our kids to have low self-esteem. But, we need to be realistic. Show them what they do well, and show them what they don’t do well. Show them how others do things differently, and better. Help them understand where they can improve. Show them what is really important. Teach them real responsibility. Give them chores. Let them work. Let them fail. And let them succeed. Help them to develop a realistic view of themselves, and their abilities.

Most of all, teach them about God, and their responsibility to Him. If they never discover their eternal purpose, they will flounder. I think about those poor kids that are victims of this senseless violence, and I weep. I think about those kids that perpetrate senseless violence and I also weep. I weep because I know how lost they must have felt. And I realize that we have failed them as a society…and far more deeply than just keeping guns out of their hands. They were failed at such a deep level, because of the basest corruption of our societal principles, that they had little chance of success. I hope we as Christian parents can see these corruptions and do all that we can to protect our children from them!