We lost more American students and teachers in another tragic school shooting. I cannot imagine the grief or the pain. I simply cannot fathom how parents, siblings, family members, friends, or even a school or community could process such loss. I just cannot imagine!
We first heard about the latest school shooting via the radio on our way to a state championship tournament where we were slated to watch our son, a first-year assistant coach, his fellow coaches, and their team play a simple game of baseball in a double-elimination series. While our Mississippi kids and their coaches were headed for a joyful celebration of all they had worked to accomplish on the baseball diamond this school year, other Texas students at Santa Fe High School were experiencing the unimaginable.
Instead of experiencing a jubilant end-of-the-year celebration of accomplishments and finished projects, a first-period art class was abruptly interrupted as a fellow classmate began gunning down people with reported malice and glee. After the intentional massacre ended with police finally confronting and stopping the murderer, eight students and two teachers were left dead, while 13 other victims were wounded and subsequently hospitalized with varying degrees of injuries.
But my words cannot paint a true picture of the devastation left in the wake of this latest school shooting. Santa Fe High School will never be the same, never. And neither will each family touched by this tragedy.
Once again, wherever we turn, someone has a comment (or tirade) to make on the solution to this tragic epidemic. Every celebrity with a social media platform or a microphone wants to offer his/her opinion. And of course, the liberal media wants to place the blame on guns, as if the removal of guns and our 2nd Amendment rights would instantaneously put an end to all school shootings. Yet, common sense and history testify to the fact that a populace without the right to bear arms ultimately becomes subservient to those in authority with the guns.
Others, myself included, tend to think more armed security guards per school and a few highly trained, armed teachers make more sense. You can go crazy over my answer if you want, but I still have a right to my opinion as a retired teacher, mother, grandmother, and tax-paying, voting American citizen.
Plus, I have been in a classroom when the lockdown alarms sounded. Totally unarmed, I then had split seconds to decide how to prepare my classroom full of kids. I had to make sure the doors were locked and barricaded, while turning out the lights, and lovingly, reassuringly demanding total silence - no tears, no questions, no sound at all.
And through the years, I did this in elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms alike. Each time, I had to forget about where my own sons were for the moment and focus on my twenty-plus students. Those precious, innocent kids were counting on me, just like my sons were counting on their teachers in similar situations. So, I was totally responsible for the lives of those kids, each one with panic-stricken eyes focused squarely on me.
Granted, in each and every lockdown situation, I never had to face the sounds of shooting guns, detonating bombs, or screaming students. I get that! That is exactly why I stated from the get-go in this blog that I cannot imagine the pain and terror of a real school shooting. I realize I have no idea what it is actually like.
I thank God I do not know, and I thank Him for sparing me and my students from such a tragedy. I also thank God that my grown sons never had to endure that reality. I pray my grandkids never have to face it either. But I realize that other American families do not have the luxury of my prayer of thankfulness.
Still…I have been in those classrooms and have wondered if this time it was for real. Like every other teacher out there, a school shooting was always a lurking thought, a constant threat, and a very real possibility that I prayed I would never have to face.
And while arming more school personnel might be a move in the right direction, what is the real answer to this problem?
The answer is simple but far from simplistic. As a nation, we have removed God from the school equation. Actually, many Americans have removed Him from every aspect of daily life.
And therein lies the problem, for He is the only hope we have for a lasting solution to this problem of children murdering children. Yet for some reason, America decided God was not necessary for the future well-being of our children. His Word used to be recognized as the absolute truth around which our country was centered until America unwisely decided not only that God is not really important but He isn’t even real!
Sadly, (tragically, for our children) America has chosen its own, self-centered path, a way deemed higher than His. Yes, we have turned from His way to follow our own way. And in the process, we lost everything of moral and spiritual value, including the compassion and humanity of our sons and daughters. The stability of faith, family, and community is gone because God is gone from the very fabric of American culture.
The pathway back to God is not complicated, but the process and time it will take to move back to a Christ-centered country might take generations. It begins with humility and repentance.
Vice President Pence has outlined the only possible plan for such national healing on the numerous occasions he has publicly quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Yes, God is offering America hope and healing. The next move - knees down - is up to us.