School Shootings

Today is a day of celebration for our family.  Our oldest son graduates from high school.  Later tonight Vannessa and I will be standing on a stage with Derick handing him a high school diploma.  We could not be more proud of him!  He has a bright future, endless possibilities, tremendous potential, and a promised destiny from his Heavenly Father.

But sadly, the day of the pinnacle of our joy for our son is now the depth of despair for some parents because sons and daughters in Texas have been tragically and senselessly killed.  Am I perplexed at how a person becomes so deranged that they prey on the most innocent of society?  Yes.  I write this blog today though because what perplexes me more than anything related to mass school shootings is our society's apparent lack of resolve to sufficiently secure schools.

When I ride my motorcycle, people see me fully regaled in gear.  In my class for a motorcycle license we learned the phrase, "All the gear all the time."  When people see me in my gear, they may have lots of thoughts, but no reasonable thinks, "Look at how fearful that guy is."  When I see a fireman running into a burning building with all the gear, I don't think, "That person must be afraid based on what they are wearing."  Who shows up to an airport and objects to going through the security check because you are so courageous?  Who refuses to let people wear seat belts in your car because your vehicle is a special no fear zone?

When I hear journalists and "expert" commentators say that overhauling schools with appropriate security is succumbing to fear and will instill fear in our children, I am sickened.  When I hear them declare that proper safety and security will create a negative mindset and criminalized identity in our children, I am appalled that their absurd point of view is so easily embraced.  Hey, stop putting that child in a properly secured car seat; you are damaging their psyche!

Our schools and our educational philosophies were developed and designed during an era when the sanctity of life, especially the sanctity of children's lives, existed at a level that created a collective moral conscience that protected our children.

As many of you know, we home school our children.  I am not judging anyone for choosing a different approach.  I am going to tell you though that one of the primary reasons we committed to home schooling was because we could not find, for our family, how it was reasonable to send our children into an environment that was designed decades ago and has failed to adapt to the very real and present threats facing us as a society today.

Are our children in public places without us?  Most certainly.  But they were not in public without our supervision and protection until they reached an age and maturity where they had the judgment, discernment, and physical presence to make sound decisions about their physical safety.  No person is impervious to violence.  But every person can make reasonable decisions that reduces their exposure to violence.  And when they are 21, they like their father, will be properly trained ccw permit holders.  As stated before, this too is not about fear.  My personal belief is that citizenship is first and foremost about preparation.  I want my family to be as prepared as reasonably possible to protect ourselves and others.  

You want to see real change, stop going to school.  Put your child's education on hold.  What would happen in Newport News if every child stopped going to school until real, substantive changes were made.  You tell me what is more ridiculous.  Continuing to send our children into environments where they are completely vulnerable to very real threats or demanding they be protected?

Have you ever asked yourself the question why the airline industry didn't wait for gun law reform before enacting drastic security protocol changes?  Because of money.  Because the profitability of their industry demanded a sense of safety for people to continue to spend their money to travel.  So what does that tells us about the value we place on our children?

Oh, you are waiting for reform to our gun laws?  You will never see that in our lifetime or the lifetime of every child alive today.  You might call that statement resignation.  It's not resignation.  It is reality.  Every country who has enacted dramatic changes in their gun laws had constitutions that were uniquely different from America's constitution.  Do some research.  The only way our gun laws will be able to be changed like England's or Australia's for example is if the 2nd amendment is itself altered.  That isn't going to happen.  Even if you want to devote your life to seeing the 2nd amendment altered, are you really willing to risk the lives our children until that is accomplished?  What if you believe that in the next 50 years, vehicular deaths will be reduced by 99.9% because of spectacular technological advancements in computer navigation and safety equipment?  Are you going to stop wearing a seat belt and stop putting children in car restraints now?

I'm frustrated today because of the simplicity of this problem.  Change is not simple, but the circumstance that should be motivating change is most certainly simple.  Shootings happen at schools because they are vulnerable.  Schools have been historically safe places, not because they had robust security but because they relied on a collective social moral consciousness that valued life, especially the lives of the innocent and vulnerable.  That collective consciousness no longer exists.

We are the wealthiest nation in the world.  Are you telling me we aren't willing to commit the resources necessary to drastically increase the safety of our children?  We don't lack the money.  We don't lack the creative minds needed to produce real change.  We lack resolve and that is shameful.

Pastor Fred