The shooting in Florida is, unfortunately, no longer as shocking news as it might have been a few years ago. Amid the aftermath, people have come with different responses – some good, some bad, some relevant, some not. I admit I’ve fallen for some of the irrelevant responses, even by Christians whose point I agree with. However, I feel that two major red herrings need to be addressed.
Red Herring 1: Abortion
This is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. Millions of babies have been murdered in this country, and the massacre does need to stop. Indeed, gun violence pales in comparison to abortion death tolls in the US (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/guns-vs-abortions/2013/02/07/eb24d0a0-6fd0-11e2-b3f3-b263d708ca37_story.html?utm_term=.a252ac6dbc37), but that doesn’t make the gun violence any less of an issue. If we want a conversation about abortion, don’t use the emotional atmosphere or death comparisons to advance a point. Again, this needs to be dealt with, but it is a separate issue from gun violence; let’s not confuse the two.
Red Herring 2: Guns
The “right” (and, I suppose, libertarians… basically people who are neither liberals or fascists…) cling to their guns as though it was the constitution itself. While I am a proponent of the second amendment, I feel that many people take this too far. Statements like “The government had better not try to take my guns… or else…” carries more weight than I feel the speaker actually intends, as I doubt they would shoot the law enforcement officer who shows up to collect the weapon, and a Christian ought not lie about possession or location (Leviticus 19:11). If a ban on weapons occurred that affected my own firearms, I would give them up willingly, as a Christian ought to do (Romans 13:1). Even if it came down to a Revolutionary War situation (where we needed to protect ourselves from our own government) – AR-15s, AK-47s, etc., would not deter an Abrams tank, an F-35 fighter, or a combat UAV. The argument then that your firearm would protect you from your government is, therefore, irrelevant. Home defense against burglary or home invasion is a different matter, but Romans 13 exists despite this.
That said, I don’t believe guns are the problem, and the proposal to 1) impose background checks 2) restrict magazine size or even 3) ban all firearms entirely are ultimately not going to prevent atrocities such as school massacres. In the first place, every firearm involved in a school shooting was legally obtained at the time; there was nothing in a background check that would have prevented them from obtaining the weapon. In the second case, magazine size can be largely irrelevant, as even an unexperienced shooter can either have multiple weapons or switch out magazines with relative ease. Finally, the ban of firearms completely will still not prevent attacks like this, as we see terrorists effectively working in more gun restrictive countries such as Britain(http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40013040), Russia (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/04/03/the-recent-history-of-terrorist-attacks-in-russia/?utm_term=.e9d9d7b62ece), and China (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/33-dead-130-injured-china-knife-wielding-spree-n41966) and others using either knives, IEDs, or illegally obtained weapons. In fact, terrorist/homicide rates within the US appear to have no correlation to homicide rates (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/10/06/zero-correlation-between-state-homicide-rate-and-state-gun-laws/?utm_term=.5baba6951cd1)
Alright, so if we don’t overlook school shootings and focus on abortion, and guns don’t seem to be the problem, what is the solution? While people older and wiser than I already have their lists, I thought I’d propose mine.
Solution 1: Teach the Sanctity of Life
The school system today teaches that there is no God; in an attempt to remove religion from the classroom, they have imposed the worldview of Atheism on the students therein. In Atheism, there is no purpose, no absolute morals, and we are simply intelligent animals. Nobody passes judgment on lions for fighting to the death – how is humanity any different? Is it any surprise that the very centers that propagate this philosophy are locations of these atrocities?
Christianity, however, says that life is valuable (because people are made in the image of God, Genesis 1:26), murder is wrong (It is destroying something precious to God, Exodus 20:13), and there will be a reckoning for your actions (Romans 14:12). When this belief is removed and even taught to be a lie, we should not be surprised when the students act on this belief.
Solution 2: Protect the Schools
Scott Biegel died while letting students get into his classroom and keeping them safe. However, other than being a human shield, he was incapable of doing anything affective against an active shooter. How much more effective could he have been if he had been able to return fire? If Nikolas Cruz had known that teachers were armed, would he have even attempted such a thing?
Mr. Biegel is a hero – please do not think that I don’t recognize his bravery and concern for the students. I mourn, however, that he had to die, rather than defending himself and his students. I am not a proponent of killing, but if there had been stronger security at the school, as soon as Cruz became hostile, maybe only one kid would have had to die that day. There have been proposals to hire armed security guards or law enforcement – a cleared, proven, safe weapons handler is a much better alternative to a reckless youth with a death wish.
Solution 3: Protect the Kids
This is a harder one to discuss, as it appears to shift blame from Cruz to others. Parents immediately blamed school staff, law enforcement, and (of course) president Trump, forgetting that they were the ones who sent their kids to the school in the first place. I’ve always been an advocate of home education (more for religious reasons than safety), but at the end of the day, parents have opted to send their kids to the indoctrination centers that both teach this dangerous worldview, and have recently served as killing grounds.
I don’t mean to be indifferent – I can’t imagine losing my child to a monster like this. Many have never even considered that there is an alternative, but there is.
I don’t want anybody to be unsafe or injured. While I am opposed to the public education system overall, that is absolutely no reason to protect the kids therein any less. If it would keep people safe, I would be a proponent of gun control, but ultimately, we need a mentality shift. We have created a moral-less society, and until we give people a reason to believe in a universal right and wrong, we can likely expect this murderous worldview to prevail.