Reflections on Recent Shootings
If you have watched the news recently, then you are aware of the shooting in Parkland, FL, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people (14 students and 3 faculty members) at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. After shooting people in classrooms and hallways, he discarded his murder weapon and left among the fleeing students. Then he walked to a Walmart, bought a drink at a Subway, and stopped at a McDonald’s. Soon after he was arrested by the police.
While family members mourn the loss of their loved ones and the entire country is witness of this gruesome display of wickedness, some questions are to be answered. A fatality’s relative wrote on Facebook: “My beautiful cousin’s life was taken today by a…lunatic with a semiautomatic… Why??? Why???” Florida Governor joined in the sentiments and asked, “How could this ever happen in this country? How could this happen in this state?”.
When trying to find answers to this tragedy, we should not overlook the whole picture. This tragedy is one among too many happening in this country. On average, there is about one mass shooting per day somewhere in the U.S.—shootings in schools (and churches) becoming “regular” events. While politicians focus on gun control and mental illness and dismiss these tragedies until the next one occurs, it should be clear that there are underlying reasons why this kind of evil is rampant today.
There Is No Respect for God
As a nation, we have renounced the idea of God and therefore we have forgotten Him (Psalm 14:1). Not all of us have done so; some of us deeply love and respect Him. However, all of us still face the repulsive consequences of living in a nation that, as a whole, has forgotten God.
For too many years, we have been teaching in our schools the pernicious theory that we are the product of mindless evolution and therefore there is no God to honor, fear, and love. We tell our students that they come from animals, are animals, and will be, for the rest of their lives, animals—and then we ask ourselves why they behave like animals!
We tell them there is no God in heaven to Whom they are to give an account (Romans 14:12), and then we grieve at the fact that they do not respect authority, whether in heaven or in earth. Make a group of siblings believe there is no such thing as a father above them and soon you will have chaos in the home! Make a group of classmates believe there is no such thing as a teacher above them and soon you will have chaos in the classroom! Make a group of citizens believe there is no such thing as a God above them and soon you will have chaos in the nation! In fact, if God does not exist, “nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful”. As the beloved apostle Paul concluded after describing the way of the evil (Romans 3:10-17), there is “no fear of God before their eyes” (vs. 18).
There Is No Respect for the Standard
We not only despise God but also despise His holy Word. His ways are too full of precepts, commands, statutes, laws, testimonies, judgments, and ordinances for our permissive and tolerant national taste (Psalm 119). We prohibit the reading of His Word in school and later lament that our children have grown up without an absolute standard for right and wrong. The truth is that, if someone will not listen to the Word of God, whose voice will he/she obey? When our children grow up and fire at their peers and end up in jail, then we give them the Bible to read—the very book that could have prevented them from ending up there in the first place!
As a nation, we do not read the Bible at school; we do not even read it at home! Our pathetic knowledge and/or rejection of God’s Word is paving the way to our destruction (cf. Hosea 4:6). We put God’s Word aside and listen to today’s “wisdom” that portrays proper corporal discipline to children as a kind of abuse (cf. Proverbs 23:13). We let crooked Hollywood teach “morality” to our children, and violent video games to mold their character (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:33). We do not take parenting responsibility seriously, neither do we teach proper responsibility and self-control to our children (cf. Ephesians 6:4). Most of our parenting skills relate to shopping for our kids, giving them every new toy and gadget they want, trying to be “cool friends” for them, and making them believe they deserve everything and anything at any time. This kind of “parenting” is producing a self-indulgent, rebellious, lazy, and evil generation!
On the other hand, if we were to open the pages of the Bible and read and teach them daily to our children (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-9), they would learn to be productive children, spouses, parents, neighbors, workers, and citizens (Colossians 3:18-25). They would learn that every man is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), that they are to love others as themselves (Matthew 22:37-39), and that the shedding of innocent blood is something God abhors (Proverbs 6:16-17).
But instead of letting tragedies like the one in Florida drive us to our knees and dust the pages of the Bible to find God’s instructions for our lives, those among us with obstinate disposition raise their fist to heaven to blame God for not stopping this misfortune with His all-powerful hand (cf. Luke 23:39-40)—when we, ourselves, are the ones who have rejected Him and His Word and have gotten ourselves in this big mess!
There Is No Respect for Life
For any Christian and sensitive person, this should be clearly obvious. Following the Florida high school shooting, several schools across the nation received threats of violence. A South Carolina high school student, with a “rifle” in his hand, posted his picture on social media with the caption: “Round 2 of Florida tomorrow.” When he was arrested, he claimed the post was a “joke.” In Ohio, a student posted on social media that he could “beat the casualty toll” of the school shooting at Florida; and, in Arkansas, another posted that he would “shoot up the high school like they did in Florida.”
Although these students may not have intended to carry out their threats, it is evident that there is an increasingly inexcusable and despicable lack of respect for life among our youth. This lack of respect should not be brushed off by suggesting that this is just an inoffensive act of mischievousness characterizing young age. These young people with lack of sensitivity and respect for human life (and those grieving) will be tomorrow’s murderers (if they are not already).
But, from whom did these young people inherit their infamous lack of respect for the life given by God (Acts 17:25)? Again, as a nation, we have paved the way for this kind of repulsive attitude. We are guilty, and our hands are full of blood (Isaiah 1:15). Every year, we kill about a million innocent babies in the womb by abortion. We kill our own, our family, the most innocent ones, the defenseless; we kill them in the most atrocious way, break them into pieces, and then throw them in the nearest dump; we fund agencies as Planned Parenthood to promote this holocaust, protect butcher doctors who perform this massacre, and encourage parents to make of the unborn home a bloody battlefield. Then, we wonder why there is a criminal wave of young people shooting at strangers at school! Certainly, there is no respect for the sanctity of life.
There Is No Respect for Justice
True justice is not a main concern in this nation; we do not like the consequences of sin, but we like to flirt, play, and engage in sin. When a criminal act of this nature is performed, we are quick to arrest the delinquent so we can lock him up in a cell where we give him free food three times a day, free medical attention, and free gym equipment so our criminal stays healthy. Then he stays there for a few years until he is very likely released to do the whole thing once again. Serial killers are proof of this messed-up system.
The Bible does not put up with this kind of criminal wave. In a perpetual passage given in the early ages of human history, God sentenced: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). Of course, this applies to the shedding of every person’s blood—whether outside or inside the womb (Exodus 21:22-23)! God never intended to fill up jails as vacation homes for proven criminals. Those who involved themselves in murder where to be executed by God’s designated authorities (cf. Romans 13). If God’s justice was to be respected, then the sentence was to be applied diligently. The inspired and wise Solomon wrote: “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). This is exactly what is happening in this nation!
Our confused and highly tolerant society does not understand true justice. Some claim that executing the murderer is using the same kind of violence he has used; it is completely astonishing to learn that there are those even in the law system who would think in this irrational way. If that were the case, we would use violence when we lock up a criminal who has kidnapped a victim and lock her up. We will have to get rid of our police department entirely since a policeman may use “violence” by shooting a shooter who is shooting others. This is irrational thinking in the highest degree! When the proper authorities execute proven criminals, they are exercising justice and therefore are servants of God in doing so (cf. Romans 13:4).
Christians should neither put justice and love in a ring and let them fight to death; they are not enemies! God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is just (Psalm 45:6). Under the Old Testament, He prescribed death penalty for at least 16 crimes (e.g., Exodus 21-22 and Leviticus 18,20) while at the same time gave the instruction to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). We cannot love our neighbor when we create a system in which the criminal does not pay for his crime but is likely given another opportunity to repeat his crimes.
The God of heaven not only mandated the death penalty for several hideous crimes, but also commanded the punishment to be public so others may fear and not repeat this kind of evil (Deuteronomy 13:11). It is a deeply disgusting and terrible time when a tragedy like the one in Florida occurs and we learn that other people in the nation boast about matching up and even going beyond the level of evil of the crime just perpetrated!
What is the solution to our dreadful state? Is it more gun control? Granted, there are things the government could do to decrease the probability of guns falling into the wrong hands, but this does not address the real problem. The government could make purchasing a gun legally impossible, and the good people will not buy them—while the criminals will get as many as they want on the black market. Even if we were to successfully take all fire guns away from everybody, criminals will still use a kitchen knife, a rock, a bat, gasoline and fire, homemade explosives or a car in movement as a weapon for their crimes. The problem of this nation (and all others) is a deeper one. To turn this nation around, the nation must turn to God. We are to resume our faith in God, we are to open His Word to learn His will for our personal and national existence, we are to learn and teach to respect, honor, and treasure the life that comes from Him, and we are to make sure that God’s justice is served solemnly and diligently. May God help us to turn to Him with weeping and mourning (Joel 2:12).
 Turkewitz, Julie, et.al. (2018) “Suspect Confessed to Police that He Began Shooting Students ‘in the Hallways,’” The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/us/florida-shooting.html.
 “Florida Shooting Victims: Family and Friends Pay Tribute to the Lives Cut Short” (2018), The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/15/florida-shooting-victims-named-family-friends.
 Segarra, Lisa, et.al. (2018), Time, “Suspect Went to Walmart and McDonald’s After Killing 17, Police Say,” http://time.com/5158678/what-to-know-about-the-active-shooter-situation-at-florida-high-school/.
 “Mass Shootings,” Gun Violence Archive, http://www.shootingtracker.com/.
 Dostoevsky, Fyodor (1967), The Brothers Karamazov (Heron), pp. 60,244,599.
 Joyce, Kathleen (2018), “Schools Across US Receive Threats of Violence Following Florida High School Shooting,” Fox News, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/16/schools-across-us-receive-threats-violence-following-florida-high-school-shooting.html.
 “Induced Abortion in the United States” (2014), Guttmacher Institute, https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states.
 Bessler, John (2002), “America’s Death Penalty: Just Another Form of Violence,” https://scholarworks.law.ubalt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1091&context=all_fac.
 Miller, Dave (2002), Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=7&article=683.
 Mccausland, Phil and AP (2018), “Day Before Parkland, Grandmother Foiled Grandson’s Alleged School Shooting Plans,” NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/day-prior-parkland-grandmother-foiled-grandson-s-alleged-school-shooting-n848426.