Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Three School Shootings and School Prayer

Five (so far) dead in a shooting in Amish country where the man apparently planned on sexually molesting the girls he had taken hostage.

Principal killed by a student in Wisconsin when the principal had suspended the student for tobacco.

One hostage and the shooter dead in Colorado, where the assailant actually did sexually molest the girls he kept hostage.

And now, there's a plan in Wilson County to add a Bible class where it's not taught as Scripture but as curriculum.

Here's where it gets interesting. In the comments of the Tennessean article, there are people who are saying, "Well of course there are shootings now. We took God out of the schools and so naturally there's more violence. We need to reinstate God and all the problems will be solved." Or to qoute directly... "I want to thank people like the young lady who has come forward to have a bible class. That is the problem today more christians will not stand up for what is right. Until a few years ago we had prayer in our schools and could speak more freely about things, and you didnt see any school shootings then. I know times has changed but God is the same God and He NEVER changes. I agree that all things start at home but you should also be allowed to let children speak freely at schools."

Here's the thing. Society has changed GREATLY in the past 50 years. Violence has become institutionalized and celebrated, even though we act shocked when violence occurs outside of whistles (see, Haynesworth, Albert). We have over sexualized our children and made pornography so available that during the last 5 minutes of the Colbert Report, there's a long commercial for Girls Gone Wild. We've made sexualization such a part of life that some people consider oral sex no more than what a kiss was to me back in high school.

"Reinstating God" back into the mix isn't going to fix this like switching off a light switch. It's going to take a societal shift. It's going to take the business of selling violence and sex not selling any more. It's going to take parents putting forth healthy sexuality to their children and demystifying it. Making kids pray in schools isn't going to solve this. Making people read the Bible isn't going to work, just as making people go to church hasn't solved this. The infamous BTK killer in Kansas was the president of his church, for Pete's sake.

Honestly while these shootings dismay me, I'm not suprised by them. I'm surprised that in our world where we glorify sex and violence that it doesn't happen more (and I'm not talking about homicides and sexual victimization in general; I know those happen daily; I'm talking about them in our schools). To be an agent of reconciliation calls us to a greater calling than to surrender to the world and its definitions. Followers of Christ are called to this. And even that's not a cure-all. It's hard work.

The world is broken, but we have to trust that God is going to fix it and be willing to partner with Him to do that. We have to do it in our relationships with our families, with our neighbors, with our co-workers, with the strangers who we are in contact with daily. Anything less and we're not followers of Christ. It's as simple as that.


c said...

How can letting God/prayer back in school help when Christianity has glorified violence and war in the name of America?

Phil this is good stuff. Hope all is well.

Ribki said...

Europeans are generally confounded by all these shootings in America. There just aren't so many guns floating around in Europe. Maybe, in addition to the problems you mention, Phil, America needs to think more seriously about the old adage that guns don't kill people, people do. Maybe it would be harder to kill so many people so quickly if there weren't so many guns. Just a thought from someone on the outside looking in.

Justin said...

The problem isn't the guns. The problem is parents who let their children be desensitized to violence through media, that when they feel wronged, in their mind shooting and killing a bunch of people is a justifiable option. There isn't that fear of dead bodies, of killing, of mothers whos children are gone. Violence will continue, even if there are no guns. There weren't guns in the Old Testment, but there was plenty of violence going on then. Kids will bring knifes, or possibly make pipe bombs, which you can find directions for on the internet.

I will stick to guns don't kill people, people kill people. Because its true. A kid deranged enough to go shoot his classmates isn't going to decide against harming people because there isn't a gun in his house.

Phil said...

Just a thought Justin, but could the easy availability of guns be factor in these shootings? Perhaps like the easy availability of porn on the internet has increased pornography addiction?

And Chris, I don't think the gun thing will be resolved here. It's almost so far ingrained into our DNA that I'm not sure it can be excised. From the 2nd Amendment to our entertainment.

Ribki said...

The ready availability of guns in America is a PART of the problem. It's not the whole problem nor is it a panacea to simply ban all weaponry and ignore concomitant social ills. But it is a part of the problem. Columbine would not have happened like it had the kid had a big knife.

It's true that deranged people may still hurt people, but I promise you there would be less caskets if guns weren't so easily available. Living in Europe has enabled me to see what a problem this is for America. I guess the NRA will have the last word as they always have, but it's really too bad for America.

Sorry, Phil, for distracting your readers from the main thrust of the post but everyone of these incidents I hear about in America makes me just sick.

Justin said...

Did the easy availibility of guns contribute to the shootings? Sure. But they aren't the cause. And like I said, you can find recipes for bombs online. The guys from Columbine had some, but they didn't have time to use them. It might have been worse were there no guns. Detonating a couple of pipe bombs in a school could cause some serious carnage.

I mean, the worst violent acts in our country have been caused without guns. Sept 11 and the oklahoma city bombing.

And the problem here in America is this as well. There is no way for the government to take away all the guns. If they tried, there would still be guns around, but the people who don't go around shooting people anyway would no longer have them. The people that keep them, the ones that shoot people, typically don't have a high regard for following the laws of the land. So then, you have criminals with guns and good people with no protection. From a purely secular standpoint, I would want a gun to be able to defend my family.

Granted, since I'm non violent now, I won't own one.

Malia said...

Granted, since I'm non violent now, I won't own one.

Does that mean you were previously violent?


Tony Arnold said...


Maybe the people who are doing the shooting would use knives or some other weapon, but guns sure do give them an efficient and mass-lethal way of exercising their malovence.

I used to be very much a supporter of gun ownership and rights. In fact I got a carry permit when they first came out. I have changed my tune now.

Guns do kill people although they have to be used by a human. Unfortunately in America at this point in time, the humans have proven they cannot handle the responsibility of the freedom to own a gun. Since too many Americans are not acting responsibility it is going to force us to give up this right and the time is now.

We certainly seem to be willing to let George Bush take away many of our freedoms in the name of safety, so why are the same group of his supporters so opposed to getting rid of guns, especially handguns?

I will trade my right to own a gun to get my freedom to fly with shampoo and shaving cream back anyday.

Europe has much tighter restrictions on weapons and has for a long time now. No one seems to be suffering from the lack of owning a gun.

If we lose our gun ownership rights, we can only blame ourselves for it. If people were not using guns to effectively execute their anger at a drop of the hat...that is, if guns weren't a problem...we would not be having this debate and no one would be suggesting getting rid of guns.

More simply, I ask this question...where does a gun fit in a disciples life?


Justin said...

Malia - I wasn't violent. I just say non violent becuase it has kinda a different connotation than pacifist.

Tony - If I were still into politics, I would say I don't want to trade my right to own a gun or my right to get on an airplace with shampoo. (this is just the secular in my talking right now) Both parties, in my opinion, have major constitutional issues with things they are doing (republicans) or want to do but can't right now (democrats). Our constitution has the second amendment for a purpose: that purpose was to give some line of defense were there ever another tyranical government or military coup. Granted, today things are a bit different. I doubt a militia of freedom fighters armed with the most high powered automatic weapon that is legal in this country could take on smart bombs, but that is beside the point.

If people want to make laws against gun ownership, they should change the constitution. The thing is, neither party is really big on trying to do that. They like to use the courts and judicial review. Its much easier to get a small group of like minded old white men to change a law than to get the entire country (or really 2/3s).

And in response to Europeans, gun control might be part of the reason that they are less violent. I would say the main reason though is that violent movies and tv aren't near as prevalent. You can watch two men doing it on cable, but you won't see anything like CSI or Heroes (which i watched the other night and there were, among other things, a family dead and attached to a wall with forks and knives, and a man who's head had been sawed open and his brain taken).

And in response to the disciple thing, the only need for a gun would be hunting. I won't have any hand guns in my home and probably not any hunting rifles (cause I haven't hunted since I was in ninth grade. the whole getting up at 4 AM and siting in a tree in the cold doesn't get me excited like it used to)

phil, sorry I kinda hijacked your blog here.

Anonymous said...

Justin, I wonder if you meant pacivist, not pacifist. Pacivism is not resisting at all. Pacifism is nonviolent resistance, which is what it sounds like you're saying you are.

Justin said...

I've never heard of pacivism before Darren... can you enlighten me a little more. Is it basically just standing there while someone harms you?

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