On Ash Wednesday a bloody rampage by a crazed young man, Nikolas Cruz, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. in Florida, killed 17 people and wounded 14 others. This is a tragedy and a massacre of innocents.
Cruz was obviously a troubled young man. The FBI had been warned that Cruz planned to kill and did nothing about it. The FBI admitted its failure to act, stating that a person close to the 19-year-old was concerned with his “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”
While mistakes were made, we also have to consider the issue of the availability of guns to young people. It is the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Yes, the private citizen in the U.S. can own firearms. But it has to be better regulated. For instance, should a teenager – or anyone for that matter – really need access to an automatic weapon?
We need to ask ourselves what is at the root of the culture of violence that pervades the nation. Truly, the culture of death has taken root, particularly among young men, fed with a steady diet of violent imagery and pornography. In an age of either helicoptering parenting or absentee parenting, without the ability to express any emotion but rage, these young people need to know that they are not alone and can get help. And, if someone notices a propensity for violence, or threats are made, especially on social media, it needs to be reported to and acted on by authorities.
It seems that, on social media at least, from celebrities like Bette Midler and Stephen King on Twitter, “prayers” are rejected and considered a mere throwaway line. There is nothing more efficacious than prayer, which can lead to reasonable, prudent action. To have people say that they do not want prayer, only action, is a failure to see the full picture. To disregard prayer is to disregard the fullness of human life and the power of God.
Prayer is as needed as stricter gun regulations and the rejection of the culture of death. Pray that our children may be delivered from this way of death and embrace a culture of life.