Last week, I chose to remain quiet about the Parkland school shooting. I thought it best to listen a while, both to God and people. For me, that’s proven a good practice. While I’m still as sad and angry as the next gal about the whole ordeal, I’m excited to see a few new talking points come up in discussions I’ve been privy to.
Sure, the same old arguments came up. Mostly right and left gun control talking points. That’s to be expected. But amongst the worn out points that are so often beside the point, there were some that hit on real issues. Such as:
1. Fatherlessness. Most mass murderers do not and have not had at any time in their lives a stable home life. When did fatherlessness begin to plague us? It’s always been a problem to some degree. But as our culture has willingly embraced sexual freedom, fatherlessness has skyrocketed. Motherlessness, too, is an issue. The rise of feminism has stilled feminine, cradle-rocking hands, in turn affecting the social, emotional, and spiritual development of our children – and not in a healthy way. It’s time to address parenetlessness. Fathers need to step up and lead their families. Mothers need to step down and support the fathers’ leadership, and step up and nurture their families. Yes, even at the cost of their precious careers, self-fulfillment, and so-called self-esteem.
I find it odd that the more freedoms women have here in America, the louder their voices get. Can we honestly say we are happier than we were sixty years ago, ladies? Maybe the school system isn’t our trustworthy buddy after all. Maybe daycare isn’t the best place for our babes to spend their first years of development. Maybe it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, but instead self-sacrificing parents first and foremost dedicated God, then family. Maybe additionally, the alcohol and drugs ingested during so many pregnancies are affecting the brains and emotional wellbeing of our children.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)
And women, speak with wisdom and faithful instruction on your tongue. Watch over the affairs of your household, and eat not the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 26-27)
Soap operas, anyone?
It’s time to get real about childcare. For fathers to be manly once again and protect and provide for their families. For mothers to be more dedicated to the health and wellbeing of their children than their career. I’m not saying women shouldn’t work, ever. But we have sacrificed our children on the altar of the corporate ladder. And filthy lucre. Do we need the perfect Martha Stewart house? Do we need three shiny new cars? Or even three clunkers?
Having a family equals sacrificial living, only these days, it doesn’t. But if we want to change our kids’ emotional wellbeing, we’ll start sacrificing again, rather than desperately grasping for the promised joy that comes from “having it all.”
2. Divorce or the absence of marriage. First came the sexual revolution. Then came overly-accepted divorce. Or shacking up for a while and never marrying. Or not even shacking up – just having one night stands in the backseat. Then came parentlessness. Then came screwed up kids. It’s not rocket science.
3. Violent video games, movies, and rap music (as well as other trashy genres of music). Garbage in, garbage out. This is not rocket science either, but the culture insists on feeding violent junk to our children and parents keep forfeiting their rights as parents to tell their kids to knock it off and go outside and play in the mud. Interact with others. Explore the great outdoors. Develop worthwhile skills and interests. If you don’t think sitting around in a basement for days on end feasting on a steady diet of murderous lyrics, scenes, and tactics will corrupt a mind, think again. Paul, in Philippians 4:8, tells us this:
Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.
Kids don’t think that way naturally. They’re born with a sin nature, and they don’t need to be taught to be cross, mean, rebellious, and filthy thinkers. That is who they are. They do need to be taught to be kind, loving, gentle, patient, good, and self-controlling. If we, as parents, do not lead and instruct them otherwise, who will? What is your child filling his or her mind with? Disney channel, which teaches them all adults are idiots? Video games that teach them to view other people as targets that, if hit, scores them points? Takes them to the next level? Makes them known? Movies and video games that make light of rape?
That brings me to the next talking point:
4. Lack of discipline. We need to stop coddling our children and start instilling truth in them. There is truth, even though they’ve been taught at school that there’s not, or that truth is whatever their little hearts want it to be.
Just as long as you are happy with you, little Johnny, we say as we gingerly pat him on the head. And so Johnny keeps playing the filthy music and games, because that’s who little Johnny is: lazy and violent and full of lust.
You’re beautiful just the way you are, Princess, but if you want to be a boy, then so be it. Here, honey, take these hormones that have a good chance of giving you cancer down the road. Also, here’s a knife to cut off your God-given anatomy. Just mutilate yourself, Princess, because then you’ll feel loved. Beautiful. And accepted.
You can be whatever you want to be, Suzie Q, and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise.
Then Suzie Q goes out into the real world and feels perfectly justified in mowing down others to promote herself.
I know you were a nothing but sloths in today’s baseball game, Horacio and Frank and Jasper, but here’s your trophy anyway. You’re awesome sauce just for being born!
Then we wonder why we have kids who are unmotivated (Johnny), insensitive (Suzie Q), entitled (Horacio, Frank, and Jasper), and self-loathing (Princess).
5. Drugs, alcohol, and psychotropic drugs. This is self-explanatory. Mess with the brain, get messed up brains. Drugs and alcohol will always have a negative effect on the brain. Psychotropic drugs can be necessary, but we have undoubtedly over-prescribed until patients’ mental states are compromised beyond repair. Look it up. A good number of mass murderers in American were on loads of such drugs when they committed their crimes. There are physical causes to be on pharmaceutical drugs. But start prescribing them for emotional and spiritual problems that can be effectively remedied in other ways, and it’s a prescription for disaster – a band-aid for a massive hemorraghe.
These five talking points that I’ve seen and reiterated here are a cocktail of sorts, made up of a few of man’s problems. The base problem, though, is total depravity. The base problem is not alcoholism, or drugs, or parentlessness. Those are simply the result of our base problem: that we are great sinners in need of a greater-than-all-our-sins God.
And so, when I get online and I am told that the AR-15 I possess is the source of the mass shootings, I become … well, angry. But also so befuddled.
Why would anyone choose to believe that a mindless, soulless object can be the source or cause of evil?
Because we are more comfortable playing the blame game than we are with taking personal responsibility. As much as we loathe the shooter and what he did, if we admit that he is the problem, that he and he alone committed the heinous act of blowing away children and the teachers who attempted to protect them, then we have to admit that the same evil could possibly be lurking somewhere deep down in our own souls.
Admittedly, that’s a scary thought.
So, we blame. We say the fault must lie with the AR-15. Because if the problem is fatherlessness, then we need to be better fathers.
If it’s motherlessness, we might have to get our priorities straighter than they are.
If it’s video games or other entertainment, that means we have to insist Johnny turn it off and come eat with the family. But there’s no food tonight anyway, because Mom is tired from working, Dad is altogether absent or still working, and it’s easier to be Mr. and Mrs. Couch Potato, sip a little wine, eat a box of bonbons and watch Fifty Shades of Grey.
If it’s the breakdown of marriage, both spouses must learn sacrifice and deference, but we shake our forefinger and say “Girl! Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”
And if it’s lack of discipline, well … we lack discipline ourselves, so how could we in good conscience possibly tell Johnny to get with it when we don’t get with it?
The problem, see, is a total moral decline of the culture. No matter our ages, we’ve seen despicable acts committed by fellow humans. When I was a kid, the popular trend was not school shootings. It was serial killers. Ted Bundy admitted to killing thirty-six women over a long period of time, but experts believe he could have killed up to one hundred, if not more. He often lured his victims with kindness, and yet, what should we have done? Outlawed kindness? He often raped his victims before brutally killing them. Should we have outlawed penises? He often used a crowbar, a rope, a face mask, and handcuffs to rape and kill his victims. Should we have confiscated those items and created war on them, or should we have created war on evil?
Evil has and always will exist. But the cure is never to take away my tool that looks and operates just like the tool that an evil person used to commit evil. That will solve nothing. If you make the guns less accessible, an evil soul determined to act out will find something else to kill with.
I’ve tried to stay away from the obvious, repetitive talking points about mass shootings, but I’ll leave you with the one that, however cliche, still rings true:
Murder is a heart problem.
Admitting that makes us feel nervous and powerless, and it’s too self-confrontational. But until we learn that this world is evil because Adam fell, we fell with him, and that we desperately need God’s help to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, we’ll continue in the vicious and ineffective cycle of trying to legislate morality.
You have a cocktail of hate and anger brewing in your heart? We all do, to some degree. And if we don’t deal with it Biblically, it’s going to fester and anger allowed to fester is what leads to heinous crimes.
So get it fixed.
Not with drugs.
Not with legislation.
Not by might. Not by power. But by His Spirit. (Zech. 4:6)
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (I Tim. 1:15)