Another School Shooting:
Over the past 24-hours, I’ve been wrestling with what happened in Florida Wednesday afternoon. I keep reminding myself I have no desire to write one more column about America’s children being killed in their classrooms, victims of our curious, bizarre, bordering on religious, dysfunctional love-affair with guns.
But I can’t close my eyes and make it go away, so I thought I’d begin by putting a few facts out there that seem self-evident:
- Nobody’s right to bear arms trumps any child’s right to live.
- Saying this is a mental health issue is a contrived misdirect. Yes, mental health plays a part in violence… but you can be full-bull looney in most countries in this world yet never get close to such efficient killing devices as we make so readily available in the USA.
- There is only one reason to own an “assault” weapon. That is to kill as many people as possible as efficiently as possible.
- Many arguments associate the Second Amendment with freedom. That said, all assault weapons tend to do is to take life and freedom away from defenseless people and consign survivors to a prison of fear.
- Our culture continues to cultivate a disturbingly casual relationship to violence – via movies, gaming devices, television shows, and more. Children become inured to killing, then those same children become young adults and find easy access to weapons.
- The unwillingness of Congress to do anything to interrupt the epidemic that is gun violence (or even address the issue of assault weapons, and modifications such as bump stocks) adds up to a simple equation: votes are more important than the lives of children.
- Tight gun-control laws in nations such as The United Kingdom and Australia have done nothing to compromise freedom or liberty or security.
This is not a blog post touting easy answers or prescribing a clear road forward. It is, however, a post designed to challenge every last one of us to take a long hard look at the impact the ready availability of military-style weaponry has on freedom and security.
I see children and teachers who may never be free from fear – that is the real effect of our refusal to do something creative and constructive about guns. If anyone believes our schools and our children are more free because there are people in their town who own assault rifles, then I can only conclude they are delusional.
How many more dead children before we admit that we are wrong?
Peace – and I really mean that – DEREK
(Note: This new blog format – “Monday, Wednesday, & Friday” – is deliberately set up to accommodate the dream of reinventing my newspaper columnist past. My regular column with the Tama Tribune emerged from a unique set of circumstances, and I’d love to see it happen again here in Raleigh. This commentary is faith-based and rooted in Jesus – but without the political slant that has so severely compromised the evangelical perspective, leading adherents away from Christianity and deep into the territory of religious nationalism.)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.