School Shootings: The Real Question
By Hal Lindsey
From Broward County, Florida, comes news of yet another school shooting. Politicians and members of the media immediately began asking how such tragedies can be averted. They focused on the usual things. How do we keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals, and how do we spot signs that a person might be a potential mass shooter?
Those are important, but they don’t address the real question, and that is, “Why?”
After interviewing the suspect, reading his social media posts, and talking with people who know him, the police will tell us what they believe motivated him. But the question of why will not be answered by finding the specific motive of a specific shooter. Specific motives for seemingly insane acts don’t usually tell the real story.
In Charles Manson’s trial, the prosecution put forward the famous Helter Skelter motive. Manson told his followers that they would start a race war that would lead to their eventual takeover of the United States. Helter Skelter was a motive, but superficial. It didn’t answer the real question of why. For instance, why would Manson or any of his followers be deluded enough to think they could start a race war or that it would lead to their becoming rulers of America? Where did the madness come from?
In Manson’s case, it came partly from drug induced delusions reinforced by occult demons. Manson’s hero was Hitler. He was trying to be the Antichrist. He loved personal power over his followers. His kick was to get them to do anything he wanted. Manson was not legally insane. He knew what he was doing was wrong. But something was clearly off.
That’s the case with more and more people across the country. Talking to reporters soon after the Florida school shooting, the Superintendent of Broward County Schools, Robert Runcie, told reporters, “Mental health issues in this country are growing. And they’re a big challenge.”
The ever-increasing drug problem complicates that challenge. So many kids aren’t learning discipline at home that schools can’t handle them. A surprising number of parents are being forced by the schools to drug their children, or the schools won’t take them.
Marijuana is a gateway drug to mind-altering drugs — now legal for “recreational use” in more and more states. Alcohol in excess is mind altering. Doctors have been overprescribing opioids for a generation. While all of that is legal, it is also changing the basic structure of Americans’ minds.
Add illegal drugs to the legal ones, and the problem becomes unmanageable. Heroin was once looked down on as an urban street drug. But now it lives in high end suburbs where it has become cool. Then there’s cocaine in its various forms.
The New York Times recently ran a feature story headlined, “Meth, the Forgotten Killer, Is Back. And It’s Everywhere.” The article said, “12 years after Congress took aggressive action to curtail it, meth has returned with a vengeance…. When the ingredients became difficult to come by in the United States, Mexican drug cartels stepped in.”
Society teaches children that drugs are the answer when life becomes difficult. We teach it to them by giving it to them. We teach it when television and film heroes drink alcohol to get through a hard situation. Anecdotally, there seems to be more alcohol use on television now than ever before — especially among characters in their early twenties. Those are the characters that younger teens look up to and emulate.
Drug use causes all kinds of problems in the human brain, but it does not answer the basic question of why. Instead, it is another symptom of the bigger problem.
We could also talk about violent video games, where a generation of children have been playing with murder simulators since early on. Most school-shooters played first-person shooter games regularly. But the games are also a symptom, and not the answer.
The real answer is that human beings need God. We were created to have a relationship with Him — to love Him with all our hearts, as well as to love our neighbors.
But having a relationship with God today is something big media mocks. The very bizarre Omarosa Manigault Newman is a “reality” TV specialist. She’s currently appearing on the CBS series, “Celebrity Big Brother.” She recently criticized Vice President Mike Pence’s faith on the show. She said, “I am Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”
In other words, “Yeah, sure, I’m sort of a Christian, but the Vice President actually believes that stuff!”
Responding to that on ABC’s The View, Joy Behar told her fellow panelists, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness.”
Imagine mocking something as precious as prayer. In America today, up has become down, and good has become crazy.
In an interview the next day, Pence said, “I actually heard that ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness. And I’d like to laugh about it, but I really can’t.”
He went to say, “It’s an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith. My Christianity is the most important thing in my life.”
We will not solve the school shooting crisis with gun laws. We will not solve the mental health crisis with more drugs. What we need is prayer — the kind of prayer that not only speaks to God, but also listens for His voice. We need people across the country to use the access God has given them to Himself, and to pray. As they do, many of them will come to really know Jesus. There, they will find meaning, joy, and peace.
That’s what we who know Christ need to work and pray toward with all our hearts.