Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Parkland School Shooting and Decline of Common Sense…

At 2:30 pm on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, local police responded to a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in affluent Parkland, Florida.  Seventeen people, mostly students, were killed, and another 14 injured.

The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, age 19, is a former student who was expelled due to threats made to other students.  The Superintendent of public schools in Broward County reported that Cruz was reassigned to another local school.

Officials and parents are puzzling over why this  killing occurred and how similar events in the future can be avoided.

Many suggest “guns” are the problem.  Cruz owned his AR-15 legally despite many signs of hateful and crazed behavior.

In fact, the FBI was made aware of a YouTube post in September 2017 by Cruz.

From The Sun:

“Writing underneath a documentary clip about the notorious 1966 University of Texas clock tower sniper, a commenter called Nikolas Cruz wrote: “I’m going to [do] what he did.”

“A man calling himself “BentheBondsman” released a clip alleging that someone commenting under the gunman’s name wrote: “I want to be a professional school shooter.””

I heard an FBI spokesman this morning say there was no way to identify the source of those YouTube comments.  Really?  Or was this just a lame excuse for FBI failure?  We hear the frequent pleas of FBI and law enforcement to citizens: “see something – say something.”  A YouTube viewer saw something AND said something to the FBI.  And nothing happened.

We hear of those who report suspicious activity by Middle Eastern or Arabic/Farsi speaking individuals only to later learn of a lawsuit or bad press against either the reporting individual or law enforcement for “discrimination”, “harassment”, or a bogus “hate crime.”

In our  increasingly liberal churches we incessantly hear the out of context command of “don’t judge”, or friends mindlessly parroting “take the log out of your own eye before you judge others.”  But we all have logs.  Does that mean we are to never judge?  Foolish!

Some say this was a "senseless act" and Cruz was "mentally disturbed." These are the excuses used by those who don't want to bother to dig deeper and understand the sense this made to the shooter.

Sure, the shooter had a troubled life. A lot of people have a "troubled life" but the vast majority don't kill because it.  But some do.

In this case his “troubled life” was made known to multiple agencies who. did. nothing.

It is absolutely true that there were "a lot of signs." The students knew it.  The school administration knew it.  The Superintendent of schools knew it.  So Cruz was transferred to another school?  Sounds like the shuffling of sodomizing Catholic priests form one diocese to another.  And the FBI knew it but did nothing despite someone saying something.

The school leadership,  Broward Count Child and Family Services, the Sheriff's Department and the FBI, all of these entities had a hand in ignoring the problem.

Are schools too big and impersonal?  The student enrollment of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is over 3,100.   Students generally, and especially existing and potential troublemakers specifically, get lost in the huge bureaucratic system and social system in such a large school.

Possible solutions: Drastically downsize schools.  This is more costly, yes.  Would this be worth the price?  Very likely.  Are parents and voters willing to pay the price?  Probably not.

Other alternatives for parents who care more:  Sacrifice to send to small private schools or home school.

Many schools across the nation have tighter security than this school apparently had.  They keep exterior doors locked.  They screen visitors before they buzz them in.  They keep those out who are unknown or seen as a potential threat.  They keep armed security (teachers or law enforcement) at entrances at school openings and closings.  None of this was done at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  In fact, the two law enforcement officers at the outsized school reportedly never saw the shooter.  For a huge, sprawling school with over 3,100 student, do we really believe two trained security officers is enough?  A security assessment is essential.  Maybe 5 or 10 trained officers are needed for this size school.

Here is the broader problem:  We have become a culture whose highest value is “judge nothing; tolerate everything.”

We have a cultural and political environment that frowns on the promotion of traditional morality in the schools that used to be based on (dare I say it) Christian Biblical Standards. These standards were an integral part of our public education system until 50 to 60 years ago. We've fallen so far down the slippery slope due to this lack.

Our churches and Bible studies focus on not judging anything or anyone.  They are too often led by those who value “not offending” more than Biblical truth.  They take Scripture out of context to stress their culture-driven value system.  Very little that was considered immoral 50 years ago is considered immoral today.  What ever happened to Biblical concepts such as “admonish”, “reprove”, “rebuke”, or “correction?”  Those who stand by Christian self-discipline are derisively called “fundamentalists”, “extremists”, or “haters.”  Christian values have deferred to a declining culture of extreme permissiveness and out of control tolerance. 

Here is this culture’s mandate:  We certainly don’t want to offend anyone by calling them out on their crude, rude, or otherwise disturbing behavior.  After all, we all do it. In fact, even the Bible says [out of context] “judge not” and “take the log out of your own eye.”  Anything else is immoral.  Who are we to judge others?  And above all, don’t report it to any authorities.  We don’t want to be accused of being a snitch or a hater.

The above paragraph reflects some of the reasons we have become what we are as a culture.  Yup, we all “mind our own business.”  That mindset is a convenient excuse to not be bothered. 


Unknown said...

"Will any of it change?" you ask. Unless we all get off our collective duffs and start demanding answers of Congress in person, probably not. But then, there's that wonderful and powerful Bible verse in II Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.

Brother Michael said...

If we all practised Christian values--even simply the Ten Commandments--the world would be a better place. As far as "do not judge," that IS a Christian value, but it doesn't mean "do not report a consideral threat to humanity." Judgement is left to a higher power--and I don't mean in the courtroom. But again, protecting human life is self defense; not judgement.

Gerardo Moochie said...

"Do not judge" is a terribly maligned, out of context snippet of Biblical teaching. "Judge righteously" is the intent. Our culture has butchered its intended meaning into "judge nothing" and "who are we to judge". That has neutered Biblical morality. Judging is a Christian duty. Ignorance of context is a huge problem in our culture. That ignorance has turned us into an "anyrhing goes" culture - far from the teaching of Scripture.

Brother Michael said...

I like my explanation better. However, who am I to judge? (aka: "whatevah")

Gerardo Moochie said...

Each to his own. That is PRECISELY why we have the world we have. It's comforting to know that my comments aren't being judged. :)

Brother Michael said...

Oh, my. You're blaming my comments in support of the Ten Commandments; value of human life and final judgement ceded to the higher power, for our deteriorating society. You may be confusing my reference to "judgement" with discipline and traditional values. More accurately, the liberal churches--in an effort to rescue and build their diminishing congregations--are caving to the progressive element in a society that has been drifting away from Judeo-Christian teachings. The question is, how do we re-establish the values of discipline, abstinence, moral character and societal respect--all basics of Judeo-Christian (and even Hindu) teachings in a world grossly influenced by the no-holds-barred entertainment industry and other free-wheeling influences of mass media--now including internet and social media. It is, in fact, totally out of control and seemingly out of range of an aging population of "deplorables" that are alluded to by progressives as "clinging to their guns and bibles."

I don't think "judging" anyone will get us anywhere. That is for a higher power. And I don't have a workable solution, but I do have faith that we will experience a social evolution that will bring the ship to a more sane course. We may be at the beginning of it right now, although events like school shootings are not encouraging. But there are some signs if you look for them with a positive attitude. It all starts with each individual--one-by-one.

Gerardo Moochie said...

In the case of Parkland, all involved - acquaintances, the school, the sheriff, the shrinks, social services, the FBI - all failed to "judge" to the extent that no action was taken to prevent an atrocity.

I think we can agree that morally (personal responsibility, etc.) our nation has been in decline for a few decades. I have observed that much of this decline is excused by the extreme, out of context interpretation of "who are we to judge" and the various forms of this expression. These maligned interpretations are often used as an excuse or justification for doing nothing - for saying "it's none of our business."

These verses are not intended to keep us from "judging others" and acting on that judgement to guide, admonish, discipline or correct others. Parents used to do this all the time with their kids. But not so much anymore, often for this very reason.

The point of "do not judge" as used in Matthew is to suggest that we judge ourselves first -to judge fairly and with good intent. It does not mean "never judge under any circumstance." Cultural preferences for lax, anything goes behavior has forced on us this newly distorted interpretation of the phrase "do not judge." It is our newest convenient excuse to help us feel better about our participation in our cultural decline.

Gerardo Moochie said...

A Facebook comment from Kelly Guthrie Raley, a Florida school teacher. She is judging. Thank God...


Okay, I’ll be the bad guy and say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say. I’ll take all the criticism and attacks from everyone because you know what? I’m a TEACHER. I live this life daily. And I wouldn’t do anything else! But I also know daily I could end up in an active shooter situation.

Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it-violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others’ lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each others’ faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school. Our kids don’t understand the permanency of death anymore!!!

I grew up with guns. Everyone knows that. But you know what? My parents NEVER supported any bad behavior from me. I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would have not had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was ALL the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, pockets, anything! Parents: it’s time to STEP UP! Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough “friends” at school. Be their parent. Being the “cool mom” means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME. I’ll say it again. My home was filled with guns growing up. For God’s sake, my daddy was an 82nd Airborne Ranger who lost half his face serving our country. But you know what? I never dreamed of shooting anyone with his guns. I never dreamed of taking one! I was taught respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency, and most of all, I was taught that until I moved out, my life and bedroom wasn’t was theirs. And they were going to know what was happening because they loved me and wanted the best for me.

There. Say that I’m a horrible person. I didn’t bring up gun control, and I will refuse to debate it with anyone. This post wasn’t about gun control. This was me, loving the crap out of people and wanting the best for them. This was about my school babies and knowing that God created each one for greatness, and just wanting them to reach their futures. It’s about 20 years ago this year I started my teaching career. Violence was not this bad 20 years ago. Lack of compassion wasn’t this bad 20 years ago. And God knows 20 years ago that I wasn’t afraid daily to call a parent because I KNEW that 9 out of 10 would cuss me out, tell me to go to Hell, call the news on me, call the school board on me, or post all over FaceBook about me because I called to let them know what their child chose to do at school...because they are a NORMAL kid!!!!!

Those 17 lives mattered. When are we going to take our own responsibility seriously?

Brother Michael said...

I agree with Kelly Guthrie Raley 100%. Is she really "Judging?" She is certainly stating her case and in a way judging. I guess we are discussing semantics here. Our assessment of our country's dire situation is one and the same.

God bless you and may He judge you fairly. :)

Gerardo Moochie said...

...and may we all judge one another justly. Blessings to you, also.

Gerardo Moochie said...

Kelly had to first judge before expressing her very thoughtful and valid cultural admonitions.

Gerardo Moochie said...

For those who may be open to understanding the Biblical context of "judging", an excellent article on the topic was written by Pastor James L. Melton of Bible Baptist Church titled "IS IT RIGHT TO JUDGE?"

It may be viewed here --->