I’ve been mulling what and how to write this post almost since I heard of the latest shooting. Please be warned that it’s social, political and spiritual – yes that CAN happen!
The multitude of posts for “thoughts and prayers” for the latest (I’ve read 18) school shootings this year is starting to ring hollow. Aren’t we, as Jesus followers supposed to take action as well as pray? (James 1:22) . My beloved unbeliever is wont to continually rag on these self-righteous leaders in government and the church who say all the right platitudes but offer no justice, mercy or humility when it comes to developing solutions. Yeah, “thoughts and prayers” are pretty empty about now. In truth, I believe most of us may have started to normalize this rampant epidemic! You know what I mean… “Ho hum, there was another shooting today. Only seventeen people died” I ask you, is THAT what we have become as a nation, a people, and the Church?
How sad is it that we’re doing “active shooter” drills in schools? That we’re not even safe to go to the sanctuary that is our local house of worship? Heck, I’m starting to think its safer to walk down the streets of New York at midnight than it is to go to a concert!
Let me re-iterate, as I have done in previous posts about mass shootings: I AM NOT ANTI-GUN! I am against wholesale slaughter, especially of our young people so it’s about time to DO SOMETHING!!!
Our duly elected Congress seems to have forgotten the basics of the Constitution! Yeah, there IS the Second Amendment (and might I add NRA contributions) that seem to cause them to hesitate when it comes to ESTABLISHING JUSTICE, INSURING THE DOMESTIC PEACE (TRANQUILITY), PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE AND PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE of their constituents aka their EMPLOYERS … We the people!
Many will say that its a mental health issue. I’m of the camp that leans more to an emotional health issue. You may think they’re the same, but that’s not quite true. We may have diagnosed mental illness like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia or depression. These are considered physical psychiatric illnesses. However, what I’m talking about is how we deal with those feelings we all have like anger, frustration, fear, sadness, love, envy loneliness etc.. I think you get the idea. EVERYONE experiences these at one time or another in life. That isn’t the issue. The issue is how we cope with these things. I suspect that the young man who horrendously shot up former classmates and teachers was depressed, angry and in pain. Unfortunately, while I understand he had been getting some direction, it wasn’t helping. I’m not making excuses for him – just sayin’ ! We humans are funny in that when we hurt we may strike out to hurt others. When angry, we want revenge. When sad, well, we may artificially try to fix that with addictive substances.
In my view this is part of the problem. In recent decades funding for those who need support has been drastically reduced. Medical costs, in general are often beyond the median income of anyone.
Now to the other aspect-responsibility and liability. This is where government has a role!! Recently, DJT rescinded an order preventing the mentally ill from acquiring a gun. Congress, as we speak, is considering a bill that would allow permitted individuals to carry guns across state lines-even those states that have no provision for “concealed carry”. How is this furthering the aims of the Preamble to the Constitution? How is this justice, mercy or humility? Dare I say it- it’s damn near stupidity! Just think if the Las Vegas shooter was able to take his arsenal to a concert at Hollywood Bowl!
As I said- I’m not against RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERSHIP!!! I have owned guns with requisite registration, licensing etc. I also took certification and use classes to know how to handle it. (just think, we do all that to drive too!) IMHO MOST gun owners are responsible. Sport hunters, collectors, target shooters as well as those who do keep a gun for personal protection. From all I’ve read, they are just as upset as I am! As the saying goes … one bad apple… Sadly, too many paranoid conspiracy fanatics are “‘fraid the gov’mint gonna take our guns and lock us in FEMA camps and make us slaves” Well if that’s you-GET OUT AND VOTE! ELECT TRUSTWORTHY LAW-ABIDING REPRESENTATIVES. NOT THESE GREEDY POWER-MONGERING BRIBED OFFICIALS!!! There, I said it! In many ways, we the people’ are responsible for this carnage! We, as a free people, are privileged to choose our leaders. And yet the apathy towards voting amazes me. What’s really sad is that those who do the most complaining about the government are the least likely to vote!
Parents-you’re there too! When did it become ok to not teach coping skills at home? When it was easier to sit them in front of the idiot box while you did your nails or had a beer with the boys? Teachers and school seem to me to have become nothing more than a babysitting service with some education thrown in. And heaven forbid a teacher let’s you know your child has a problem. It must be the teacher’s fault right??? NOT!!! Many of my fellow Jesus-followers will say its because there is no prayer in schools. However, I believe scripture says otherwise. (Prov. 22:6). As parents WE need to train our kids to deal with those negative emotions in healthy ways. I know it’s hard but learn to say “NO” once in awhile. Help them to realize that they’re worth more than what Facebook, Instagram or other social media might dictate. Teach them it’s NOT acceptable to strike out when they’re angry, disappointed or not the most popular kid in school. And for heaven’s sake, let’s stop with “participation trophy” awards. Despite what culture seems to dictate, winning isn’t everything!
One last thing.. those who are classified as terrorists may, at the end, follow a specific ideology. Considering our culture and the current socio-political outrage of those who are immigrants or have a different faith or maybe just speak more than one language or don’t look just like you. (Can you say bigotry, racism, prejudice?) I have a theory that perhaps a reason there are those “lone wolf” terrorists is that somewhere along the line they were singled out and persecuted. Human nature is to go where we ARE accepted, are wanted and sadly, too many will go to extremes to prove their worth and belong.
So, to summarize… be watchful and yes definitely offer “thoughts and prayers” but also reach out. Jesus talked a lot about “the least of these”. Go and find them! Even if they’re weird, strange or different. Be a neighbor, and love as you want to be loved.
On the political side – register to vote, review the proposals and policies of ALL the candidates regardless of party affiliation. Choose “employees” who speak to your interests, concerns and ideals. MAKE THE TIME AND EFFORT TO VOTE!
I’ll be back on Monday. If you have a comment or other ideas about how we can stop this ugliness, please share! If you would like to be a “guest poster” at Along the Way, let me know in the comments. That is what the comment section is for OR you can go over to the Abiding Ways Facebook group and leave it there!