There is no question that America’s schools have become killing fields. I was horrified when the word came from Littleton, CO on April 20, 1999 that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had walked onto the campus of Columbine High School, killing 13 and wounding 23 others before killing themselves.
I hoped and prayed that what happened at Columbine would be the end of it, but then came Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. However, last week Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL was invaded by a troubled teenager by the name of Nikolas Cruz who opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle and killed 17 people, wounded almost as many others and caused hundreds to flee the school in horror.
The truth is that our nation’s schools are no longer safe and our children and grandchildren are at risk once they enter the school campus. Here are some suggestions to rectify the situation
First, arm teachers and end gun-free school zones. Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, FL suggests that schools embrace what he calls the “Sentinel Program” – an almost certain game-changer if it were implemented on school campuses across the nation.
The Blaze quoted Judd, “The plan is simple: Arm teachers with concealed weapons and train them to effectively defend students should the need ever arise.”
The sheriff indicated that only teachers with impeccable, crime-free backgrounds would be selected and they would have to undergo rigorous training and intense psychological evaluation.
I think we can justifiably believe that if Douglas assistant football coach and security guard Aaron Feis had been armed he could have prevented much of the carnage that happened in his school last week.
Feis was called a hero because he jumped between a student and the shooter, pushing her out the door and out of the line of fire. One student acknowledged that the coach took several bullets covering other students at Douglas.
Second, law enforcement agencies must follow up on reports of individuals who give warning signs that they are bent on violence.
Nickolas Cruz posted on YouTube five months prior to the school massacre, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” He had been expelled from school for an undisclosed disciplinary reason. People characterized him as a strange and hostile individual who threatened others, talked about killing animals, and posed with guns in disturbing photos on social media.
Klebold and Harris, the Columbine shooters, had been identified as potentially dangerous. They had been building an arsenal of weapons and were making plans to use them according Harris’ website. Harris and Klebold were on probation and Harris had threatened to blow up another teenager with a pipe bomb. But the sheriff’s department never searched or visited the Harris home to verify the reports of their devious activity.
Third, parents need to make their children accountable. Parents, demonstrate an unconditional love for your children – love that affirms, supports, and disciplines when necessary. Be there for your child whenever he/she needs you.
Find out what your children do when they are away from home or in their room. Get to know their friends. Ask your child about his friends and what he likes or dislikes about them. Have your child’s friends in your home.
Check their rooms for anything that would militate against your family and faith values. Monitor what they read and what they watch on television or on the computer. Don’t be afraid to intervene when your child exhibits behavior or attitudes that could potentially harm them or others.
Spend time with them. Lead them to faith in Christ. Take them to church. Help them establish a love for God, for family, for friends, and even for enemies. Do not defend them when they are wrong. Make sure they take responsibility for their misdeeds.
Fourth, crusade against violence in the media. There is ample research to show that there is an increase in aggressive behavior when children watch violent television programs and when they play fierce, vicious video games.
Common Sense Media reports that children who are exposed to multiple risk factors – including substance abuse, conflict at home, and the consumption of violent media – are more likely to behave aggressively.
Fifth, help develop a school violence and prevention and response plan. This suggestion is provided by the National Parent Teacher Association, but extremely well-founded. The PTA reports, “School communities that have violence prevention plans and crisis management teams in place are more prepared to identify and avert potential problems and to know what to do when a crisis happens.
“The most effective violence prevention and response plans are developed in cooperation with school and health officials, parents, and community members. These plans include descriptions of school safety policies, early warning signs, intervention strategies, emergency response plans, and post-crisis procedures.”
Sixth, a more careful scrutiny of those seeking to buy guns and more effective background checks would probably be helpful, but if you expect me to become a champion of gun control as a means of curbing school shooting you will be disappointed. While that may be a viable option in the minds of some people, I agree with those who say,” guns do not kill people, people kill people.”
Those who go on killing sprees are people with mental or psychotic illnesses, people who become agents of the devil, people who hate, people who are angry and if guns were not available they would find some other weapon like explosives, poisons, or some other nefarious means of destruction.
It always astonishes me that those who scream the loudest for gun control seem to have no compunction about killing babies in the womb.
Last night I posted the following on my Facebook site. A friend sent it to me. “The NRA kills 0 people a day and received $0 from the taxpayers each year. Planned Parenthood killed 321,384 babies last year or 87 babies a day or one every 90 seconds and gets over $500 million from the taxpayers each year.” So, don’t scream about gun control until you also decide to voice your opposition to abortion. Killing is killing whether it is in the hospital or the schoolhouse.
Ultimately, laws, legislation, restrictions, rules, and regulations will not change people’s hearts – only God can do that. Primarily, we need to pray for God’s intervention in the souls of men and in the soul of our nation.