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On Wednesday February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz walked into a Parkland, Florida high school and within ten minutes had killed seventeen people. This was the worst school shooting since Columbine in April of 1999. An investigator in the Parkland case said of Cruz, “He is a deeply disturbed, emotionally broken young man.”

I’m at a loss for words. There’s nothing I can say to heal the wounds of the people at that school. There’s nothing I can say to change the outcome of what happened or to reduce the effects mentally and physically on everyone involved. I can’t do anything about how this situation is changing each and every high school around the country.

I work in a preschool. I help to teach a four year olds preschool class one day a week, and I absolutely love it. I’ve never felt more fulfilled or content doing what I am, where I am than in doing this. Even awful days are amazing there. But it terrifies me to think that God forbid someone could walk into our preschool and start senselessly murdering children and teachers. If we’re in that scenario, which I pray I never am, I hope that I would choose those fourteen precious little lives over mine every time. Teachers shouldn’t have to even consider ever making a decision like that, but we do. Every time something terrible at a school happens we do.

I’m not claiming to be a real teacher, but as someone who works with kids on a very regular basis thoughts like that are always in the back of my mind. They have to be because the one time you put them aside is when something will happen. So you keep your guard up almost to a concerning amount, living each day with the knowledge that you may have to make a tough decision not much different from that of the three teachers who were murdered, but who gave up their lives for their kids.

I’m disgusted at the thought that someone could be so opposed to forgiveness that he would much rather murder the people who did him wrong. It saddens me to think that children are being taught to hide their feelings and then their parents act so surprised when their children do things like this. Senselessness is a learned trait. These kids are learning it from somewhere.

We say we’ll send love and prayers (which we absolutely should do), but what we need to do is see these common patterns that are being made manifest in children and do something to change that. I don’t believe that violent video games are the cause of all these problems. I don’t believe that gun control is the solution. I do believe that people shoot people, not guns, not video games, not mental capacities, people. When we start believing that all people are born good, we start to lose sight of why we need laws, police, and government officials. Why would we need gun control if all people are born good? Doesn’t that mean we don’t need any sort of accountability for our actions?

People are born sinners. That means that are born with a nature to do what’s wrong. It’s appealing, it’s fun, it’s exciting, and if you don’t get caught then your success is a reason to rejoice. You successfully stole $20,000 from a local bank without getting caught? Let’s go buy some new shoes! We are teaching kids that if they can do wrong without getting caught it is something to celebrate. You have won the victory over finding yourself caught in wrongdoing.

The only logical solution to solve this problem is to draw close to God. I’m not saying that parents should just pray and read their Bible and take their kids to church and everything will fine. By no means do I think that prayer is the be all end all solution. Actions speak louder than words. You have to put your prayers into action. Keep up with what your child is doing online. Play their video games, watch the movies and tv shows they are, keep tabs on whatever it is they are looking up. I’m not saying they can’t have any privacy or to be all up in their business all the time, but I can’t help but to wonder if more parents kept an eye on what media their kids are ingesting, if that would help us avoid some of these problems.

I’m not blaming the parents, or the teachers, or even the principle for why this happened, but I think that we rationally have to look at all of the factors that could have helped to cause this. Maybe he was allowed to play those violent video games as often as he wanted with no boundaries. Maybe his dad had guns and took him shooting for father son bonding time. Maybe his teachers felt burdened by his mental state so they didn’t pay as much attention to the things he said or the actions he committed. Maybe they didn’t pay attention when other students came and said that this kid had said or done something that seemed concerning. Maybe all of them let him do whatever he wanted to because they were scared of his mental state and what he might do.

There is such a stigma around people with mental deficiencies. People get weirded out by them, think that they’re strange, and say “Oh, his poor parents.” Mental deficiencies aren’t the person, they’re a disease. Do we think people who have cancer are strange and feel sorry for them, but don’t want to be around them? Absolutely not. We should be teaching in schools that these people still deserve love and friends even though they may act differently from us. Human interaction is something that we all need to survive. When we leave a person completely alone with no one to turn to and nowhere to go, they turn into their own best friend and sometimes their own worst enemy.

The world is not always a fun place to live. Decisions are made, lines are drawn, and personal convictions will always be refuted by those who disagree. However, Scripture clearly depicts what it is like to be in this world.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:15-16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.””

‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”

‭‭John‬ ‭17:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

There is beauty in knowing that God has us here for a time and a purpose. We as Christians are supposed to share the immense love of God even more so in times like these. Our mission is to show people that death is not the end, only the beginning. This school shooting should make us more aware of the evil in this world and how to better fend it off.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:4-6‬ ‭NASB

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