Seventeen moms in Florida have walked into the bedrooms of their children tonight and wept. They have looked at half-open dresser drawers, unmade beds, socks hanging out of hampers, running shoes on the floor, and sticky-note reminders on the mirrors. They have smelled the pillows on the beds and cried. They have looked at trophies on shelves and scattered cosmetics on bathroom counters. They’ve noticed the half-eaten bag of chips on the nightstand or the valentine candy wrappers in the trash. They have listened to yesterday’s phone messages (those messages they will never erase), just so they could hear their children’s voices one more time. They have opened the refrigerator and found half-eaten take-out boxes or looked in the purses given them by the authorities to find the latest selfies on their children’s phones. They don’t want to clean up any of the messes or erase any of the texts, because they know it will be the last time those messes are ever made and there will be no more voicemails or texted answers with emojis.
The excruciating pain of losing a child to senseless violence in a school shooting is more than we can even contemplate for very long. If any of those moms is able to drift off to sleep tonight, she will awaken tomorrow to have about 1.5 seconds of normalcy before she remembers and everything in her world turns to cold, gray grief again.
Of course, the information has not been completely collected. The details as to why Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen people at a Parkland High school in Broward County, Florida may be slowly forthcoming. But the testimony of witnesses and findings on his social media accounts seem to point to premeditated, multiple murders. They seem to point to evil of the worst imaginable sort.
Authorities keep repeating the phrase “Speak up.” Policemen admonish “If you see suspicious behavior, observe statements or pictures on social media that just don’t feel right, or if you overhear conversation that sounds threatening, report this to the police.” I understand that there is merit in a community of “watchers”—in all of us being responsible for the safety of one another. I get that, while a person cannot be incarcerated prior to the commission of a crime, this reporting of suspicious behavior might, in some cases, facilitate some protective measures. Of course, any protective measures would be worth the saving of one life.
But “Speak-up”, in the sense that we are hearing it this morning, is not the answer that will stop the destruction of mass shootings. Until we, as a citizenry, decide that we have had enough of the blatant disrespect for life that has grown in our culture to alarming proportions, we will continue to hear the disheartening news of self destruction. When we reject the idea that God exists and that he created human life in His image, we open the door for an automatic eventual disrespect for life. When we reject the idea that human life is infinitely more valuable than animal life because it is the habitation of the immortal soul, it is no wonder that there are those among us who are capable of taking that life. When we are capable, because of this rejection, of routinely and dismissively killing 1.3 million…MILLION…annually in our clinics, it is no wonder that our children get the message that there are many acceptable reasons for murder. When our Senators last month voted down a ban on twenty-week abortions (while they can actually see, in real time, those babies sucking thumbs, responding to music, stretching tiny toes, etc…) —I say, when the most respected men in our land can shout from Capitol Hill that murder of the most innocent is acceptable, why should we not expect our kids to “get” that message?
Thanks to Vid-Angel, I watched Schindler’s List for the first time ever this week. It was a movie that disturbed me beyond what I can even express. But the most disturbing aspect was the unavoidable truth that kept haunting me: In the 1940’s, six million innocent people were slaughtered in German concentration camps. Americans, including many of your fathers and grandfathers, gave their service and even their lives to stop the slaughter. Since 1973, 58 million innocents have been slaughtered within our own borders. Rather than giving our respect to those who rescue the endangered, we have, as a nation, given it to those who kill the innocents. Our respect has so shifted that we lead the world in this inhumane form of killing, second only to China. Many of our state legislatures have voted to allow our high school (and even middle school) children to kill babies without their parents even knowing about it. Tell me how such children can covertly commit such a heinous act in the darkness of their own consciences (and often with the aid of school counselors) and then continue to have any semblance of a healthy respect for the breath of life. It cannot happen. Tell me how a society can purposefully place men and women in the highest offices in our land, knowing that they plan to do all they can to be sure the killing continues, while talking about the stock market.
As I watched the movie, I wondered, “Why did it take so long to stop this insanity? How is it that a huge army of men could yield their wills to a bloody dictator, knowing full-well that they were part of a murderous regime? Where were those who were willing to give their lives to stop this regime?” The answer was, they were in America and other countries in the alliance against Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Where are they today?
The answer is still God. When we routinely and nonchalantly kill a million-plus annually, why are we shocked when people lose respect for life? It IS unimaginable evil; just not MORE evil than killing that is legal. My prayers are with seventeen families and a host of friends tonight… and a nation that has lost its way.