All You Need is Love

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 8, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Another tragedy has filled the news and social media, with everyone weighing in on their opinion. Unfortunately, many of those opinions were thrown out onto social media or covered by the “news” before any information was really known and with an exceptional amount of emotion. My purpose here today with this blog post is to express what I believe is the obvious issue or issues allowing for these sorts of things to happen. I'm talking about the school shooting at Parkland, FL.

On Valentine's Day, February 14, 2018, an evil person sought to kill as many as possible before being apprehended by authorities. This terrible individual was taken into custody, but not before killing 17 unsuspecting individuals—14 students, 2 teachers, and the athletic director. There were multiple heroes and some who may be counted as villains.

Back to the lashing out we saw (and still see, unfortunately). Most of the loud, highly publicized opinions being spouted on Facebook, Twitter, CNN, and the other “news” outlets were very one sided and very uninformed. And I get it. This cowardly, heinous act demands we do something. But blame and going after people who had nothing to do with this tragedy isn't going to fix what happened or prevent it in the future. Will more laws concerning who can own firearms and what kind fix this? No. Of course not. Repeating firearms have been around for centuries—literally existing before any European colony was in the New World (that's America for those of you unsure). And the AR-15 is just one of them. There are many firearms available today (and they've been available for some time) that fire faster and shoot more damaging rounds. And the NRA did not do this or even remotely contribute to it. They have not killed a single person since their formation and they are not even in the top 20 for lobbyists. President Trump didn't do this and his power to change things are exceptionally limited.

The facts here are eye opening and, unfortunately, the story is all too familiar. There were dozens of warnings that this person was going to attempt some sort of horrific act. We know that the FBI was aware of this person's threats 6 months prior to the shooting. We know the local authorities had been notified long before February 14th, 2018. The fact is the system was set up to stop this from happening, but it didn't. More laws won't get this fixed. That would just mean more laws and procedures that won't get followed. Had proper attention been given to this threat, it may not have happened at all. Had the proper information been shared, it's possible the AR-15 may not have been able to be purchased. Does this mean the mass killing wouldn't have occurred? Of course not. Nearly 3000 people were killed on (and many since due to) September 11, 2001. Not a single gun was used in this mass killing. In Oklahoma City, on April 19th, 1995, a man killed 168 people including 19 children and didn't fire a single shot. You see, it's not a gun problem. Mass murder has been around for a long time and there are many more ways to inflict death and destruction than with firearms—ways far more efficient than guns. Blunt objects (like hammers and bricks) have killed a great many people. Fists and feet have killed a large number as well. So have cars, knives, poisons, and explosives.

The worst school killing in US history was in 1927, the Bath School Disaster. Forty-four people including 38 children were killed with an explosive device. No guns were used to kill students or teachers. The worst school massacre in the world was in Russia and did involve firearms. This resulted in over 300 dead and nearly 800 injured! I can't believe that myself, but it seems to be how it's reported. So the idea that this is an American problem is also not sound. In fact, the 4 worst (in terms of numbers) mass killings at schools were not in the US. Please don't take this to mean I'm trying to minimize the events of February 14th this year. I'm not at all. Any shooting—especially a shooting involving children—is tragic and inexcusable. I'm trying to express the truth about what's wrong here, in my opinion. The truth that it's not about guns is evident to me fairly clearly. Let's move on.

Some suggest we need to regulate or even prohibit who can buy what gun. The truth here is that we already do this. There are many firearms out there that I am not able to buy as a responsible, law-abiding citizen. I understand why someone would irrationally lash out concerning this. But most of them don't understand some of the basics concerning guns. I'm not going to get into the minutia of that topic. But some will suggest that even though the US Constitution gives us the right to own firearms, that doesn't mean we should. They want to suggest that either modern firearms change the discussion or that one must be part of a “well-regulated militia” in order to own firearms. Both of these arguments are void of logic. I'm not suggesting someone saying or believing these things isn't smart or sincere. I'm simply saying such things are easily proven false.

As stated already, repeating and/or rapid fire guns were in existence long before America was a nation. It is true that such weapons were not widely available to the layperson, however. This was changed by James Madison, who sponsored actions to create mass production of rapid fire or repeating firearms and to make such firearms affordable for the average American. If one of the Founders (James Madison is a Founding Father) desired to make it possible for average Americans to buy repeating firearms, I think it's fair to say this argument is finished. Concerning a “well-regulated militia,” let's read the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The argument goes that this reading makes it necessary for the owner of a firearm to be in a militia. In a recent discussion with former Worldview Warrior's writer Michael Homula, the two statements (maintaining a well-regulated militia and owning a firearm) in the Second Amendment are not connected so strictly. In fact, I would argue the connection is the other way around. In order for a militia to exist, the citizens must have the right to bear arms. According to Mr. Homula, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton wrote on the topic significantly in the Federalist Papers (which are useful in interpreting the Constitution of the United States) and it seems rather clear that they believed armed citizens and a militia were not the same thing but both were important.

Noah Webster (another Founder) said this: "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." This sounds like being able to defend yourself, in the minds of the Founders, was less about home defense against an assailant and more about keeping the government in check. Doesn't it?

I heard a person talking about this and said it this way: “The FBI failed to investigate this guy. The local sheriff failed over and over to look into this guy's statements and possible actions. He shouldn't have been able to buy a weapon but was able to because of this breakdown in procedure. These people (the governing authorities) want me, a law-abiding American, to give them my guns so we can be protected? Are you kidding me?”

This senseless act was a symptom of a major problem our nation and our society has. Before I go any further, I want to say that I realize many people will read what I have to say here and roll their eyes and check out. That in no way is an argument against my statements and certainly doesn't mean they're not true. The foundation of any further issue I'll describe for you today is Jesus Christ—or a lack thereof. Come on, Americans! This nation was founded by Christian men on Christian principles derived from the Bible to govern a predominantly Christian people. There is little rational or fact-based argument against this nation being a Christian nation. This isn't to say it’s a theocracy but it’s a nation built by Christian men using Jesus Christ and the Bible to govern a Christian society. In 1835, Alex de Tocqueville said of Americans, "The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other." This was based on his observations of American society. How I long for such a thing to once again be true. We have lost our first love and the Truth that our nation was built upon. Because of this—this rejection of our Savior and the Lover of our souls—all other issues cannot be treated. If we treat the symptoms of the problem while leaving the problem untouched, we'll end up frustrated and the problem will not be resolved at all.

Our society is becoming more and more withdrawn. People interact over online social media and have less actual face-to-face relationships. This is a problem. It creates isolation and can easily lead to depression. It also leads to empowerment through anonymity. If we're just typing words on a screen, it's easy to feel like you're not really going to be accountable for your actions. Cyber bullying is one of the major results of this. Without real (and, let's face it, online interaction with someone is not a real interaction... and I'm not saying Facebook or Twitter or whatever are not useful, but they shouldn't be used as a permanent substitute for human interaction) interaction and relationships, our society turns into isolated, angry, lonely people with less conscience. I believe there can be a lot of healing in our land if we'd just value people over technology. If we took time to sit with someone and chat rather than mess around on an online game or waste time on social media, we'd probably find a little more value in humanity. And this leads to my next point.

We don't teach the value, as a society, to our youth (or adults) of human life. We don't value life. We're outraged by a man who likely has some mental issue who killed 17 people with a firearm when nearly 3000 innocent lives are terminated in the womb every day—EVERY SINGLE DAY—in the US. No one has a thing to say about that? Almost 1/4 of all pregnancies are ended by willfully killing the child in the womb. Yet we're up in arms about gun rights and mental health? We teach that whatever you feel is right. We teach that whatever you do is right. Your morals are between you and no one else. We teach that you evolved from an animal, so how can we be confused when our children act like animals? I'm seriously asking this question. We don't value human life as we should. The value of human life is derived from God Himself because He breathed life into man, creating him in His own image. We alone have this distinction. The Ten Commandments tell us not to murder. This is explained further in Exodus as meaning not just the intentional killing of a human being, but the death of a person due to negligence or carelessness. God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die to save humanity. If this doesn't give us a hint as to the unspeakable value God places on human life, I'm not sure what does. We are all—every single human being—something of value. We are valued far above all else in creation according to Jesus. We have failed as a society to teach this unwaveringly.

We also are a fatherless society. One in three children in the US don't have a father in their home. This is a significant and connecting factor in many of our society's woes. But the underlying problem is a lack of Jesus Christ; I'm convinced of this. Every school shooter to my knowledge, or at least a very high percentage of them, has come from a fatherless home. Fathers provide something in a stable family situation that leaves an enormous hole when he's absent. Read more about that at this website, and I also wrote about that in this blog post.

Connected to our society's lack of value for human life is its lack of interest in other. Something I found heartbreaking was this statement from a person from Parkland who knew the shooter: “I never really got close to him, because I always had a feeling there was something wrong.” I've seen many of my Christian friends on social media ask questions after a tragedy like this like, “Why wasn't this person loved?” or “How could we have shown this hurting person the love of Jesus?” and others. These are good questions but the answers are the concern: we're an apathetic society. We need to take an interest in the “unlovable” and the “undesirable.” If we are around people on a regular basis that there seems to be “something wrong” with them, what if we took an interest in them and showed them the love of Christ? No. We'd rather go home and play Candy Crush or Minecraft or binge watch Walking Dead or This is Us. The phrase “Be the Change” has been worn out, I suppose, but it's good advice. Be the change. Make a difference. Get uncomfortable.

This is also true of many parents concerning their children. We are so stressed and high paced in this culture that it becomes a burden to even care what our kids are doing. This obviously isn't true of all families, but way too many. I know teachers who've told me about conversations they've tried to have with parents concerning their unruly children. Very commonly, the parents seem disconnected and quite often just don't care. Recently, a teacher in Florida named Kelly Guthrie Raley made waves by stating the woes of a many teachers—that students behave terribly and have no respect for themselves or others and parents don't care. Children talk with disrespect, react with violence, and play role-playing video games where they kill people up close and with graphic detail (sometimes as an act of terror rather than the role of a “good guy”). If parents take an interest in their children (as parents and NOT as friends), many children would better understand their value as human beings and members of society and, hopefully, this would lead to an increase in the awareness of the intrinsic value of the rest of the human beings they run into day to day. Children need to force themselves onto their parents and vice versa. Truly. Let's be families again. There is so much that would be resolved if we would just unite as families again. But these families need to have, at their core, Jesus Christ and His principles.

I guess, really, what I'm getting at is that love is all you need according to Kevin Prosch or, as the Beatles would say, all you need is love. First and foremost, the love of Jesus Christ in the hearts of man would change this nation and for the better. There's healing in the love of God and it's immeasurable. This would trickle down from Christ to each of us, to those who are “unlovable,” to our children, to our classmates and coworkers, to strangers on the street, etc. With the love we share from Jesus Christ would flow a feeling of acceptance and self-worth. From it would also flow a great appreciation for the value of human life. It would bring an end (or at the very least a drastic reduction) in the number of cases of this sort of tragedy. I guess you'll have to take my word for it.

The nation seems to be going insane and has no interest in literally the ONLY thing that can help heal our land. Who can argue that the longer and further we turn and run from God, the worse this nation becomes. I hardly recognize it and I'm only 40 years old. When I was a kid growing up in the 80's and 90's, I felt safe and had little fear of being attacked or shot or whatever. I felt secure because I was. Sure, there were dangers, but nothing at all like there are today. I was permitted to do things as a child that I would be investigated for today if I allowed my kids to do them. The world (the American world) is very different and I don't mean better at all. And it all stems from our public or national rejection of our Savior. We built this nation on His principles and then told Him to get lost.

Seek Him. Seek His will. Share His love. What do you have to lose? What could the down side possibly be? If our nation continues this way—attacking decent folks for things bad people do, desiring to DO SOMETHING even if it's the wrong thing for the wrong reasons, lashing out at people who didn't do anything, and making this about symptoms rather than addressing problems—we will only get worse. We can't heal if we don't want to accept the truth of our condition. Jesus is the only answer, friends. If you're one of those who roll your eyes and sigh when you read that, you're probably part of the problem or not far from it, in my opinion.

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