The Columbine High School Carnage
The tragic shootings which occurred today (April 20, 1999) at the Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado where I live have already made the news outlets around the world. Even as I write, bodies and the wounded are still being found. Therefore, I will not attempt to report or comment on the details of this misfortune. The climate here, suffice me to say, is charged with emotion and questions. I just returned from the immediate area of the Columbine High School. Police cars, F B I, swat teams, the National Guard were everywhere. As I now sit in my office composing this material, I hear people on the street talking about the incident, some driving by are in tears (they may have children still in the school building, I live only five miles away).
The public schools in my area are not drastically unlike the public schools where many of you live and where your children attend. My children have attended and graduated from the public schools in Littleton (elementary through high school). I have watched the changes take place and, like many of you, I have not really known what to do. Over the past ten years, I have had several experiences involving the high school which my children attended (about six miles from the Columbine School). Please allow me to relate the last experience I had as I believe it tells the most.
I went to the high school to pick up my daughter. While I was waiting, a young man, also parked and waiting, maximized his sound system (he had a car trunk which was dedicated to amplifiers, etc.). The young man (a senior I later learned) preferred rap music. I could not believe the wording and lyrics. He refused to turn down his volume. To make a long story short, within a few minutes he, the assistant principal, and I were discussing the matter in the principal's office. The young man looked at the assistant principal and said, "Jim, what are you going to do about it, you remember I whipped the football coach last week!" After the young man defiantly walked out, the assistant principal helplessly looked at me and said: "This is what we are facing today, some of the students are out of control, we have no cooperation from the parents, and the government and state have taken away our authority to aggressively discipline." He then warned me that the young man would probably be waiting for me with some of his friends when I returned to my car (what was left of my car). As I exited down the corridors, I could not help but see the lack of discipline and control as demonstrated by the dress, the profanity freely being shouted even in the presence of the teachers, and the open sexuality. How have we reached our present condition and what can we do about it?
The family must be restored. No institution has undergone such radical change in the past twenty-five years as has the American family. The once common structure of the husband being the head of the family, the children expected to obey, and the mother there for the children is an endangered species (Eph. 5: 22-6:4). Materialism and new found philosophies have taken the place of basic reverence and the general acknowledgment of God and His word in many families. Sunday morning is no longer understood as a time for public worship but sports, outings, etc.
In too many cases, our public schools have become dedicated purveyors of godless evolution. Many of the public schools in Littleton are on a crusade, as it were, to advance the cause of Darwinism. Our children are the targets and victims! "You must understand that we don't preach godlessness as such in the school," wrote a Russian newspaper, "there is no need for it. We explain the laws of the natural development of the world and we give a scientific explanation of the facts of the universe. In the senior classes we teach the foundations of Darwinism" (see this quotation and others in "Quotations" "Evolutionists Speak").
We must return to tried and proved values and morals. Our young people are often confused and disillusioned. Some have no values, beliefs, and priorities. As parents, we must teach our children of God (ultimate morals) and set the example (Deut. 6: 7-9, Eph. 6: 4). I was recently at the local mall (about two miles from the Columbine High School) when several of (perhaps all) of the Trench Coat Mafia walked by (probably some of the ones who did the shooting). I experienced two conflicting, yet simultaneous emotions: I was repulsed at their appearance, mannerisms, and manifest rebellion; yet, my heart went out to them in their confusion and lack of proper direction. These were kids - seventeen year old range!
Beloved, I in no way justify or defend what has happened in Littleton, Colorado. However, these are signs and statements which are shouting to high heaven and in clear language - we must cease our present direction as families, society, and religion. Gun control is not the answer - parents must return to being parents (I speak in general), society must cease fostering non-conformity, and "religion" must aggressively teach morals, conservatism, and applicable teaching from God's authoritative word.
In closing, I am very sorry regarding the Columbine High School tragedy. Perhaps I could have said or done something the other night at the mall! We must become involved and aggressive as caring human beings. The only thing, frankly, which surprises me regarding the increasing number and the escalating nature of school shootings, is that we are not experiencing many more of them!