For all the differences between these two news outlets, the headlines were remarkably similar. Oxford, Michigan has joined an increasingly long list of communities in the United States scarred by a mass shooting in a local school. Less than eight hours later a second shooting took place in Humboldt, Tennessee following two basketball games at Humboldt High School. One adult was killed, a second medevacked to Memphis where he underwent surgery. Several others received minor injuries.
The responses are predictable: “Top Michigan Senate Republican urges ‘balance’ as Democrats push for change in wake of Oxford school shooting” (https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2021/12/top-michigan-senate-republican-urges-balance-as-democrats-push-for-change-in-wake-of-oxford-school-shooting.html). The Senate paused for a moment of silence after a speech by Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, who once resided in Oxford and continues to represent the community. A discussion is underway in the White House concerning whether President Biden will visit the grieving families. We can be assured there will be candlelight vigils, more moments of silence and promises of prayers for the victim’s families—and nothing will change.
These two incidents make 29 school shootings on school property (K-12) the USA during 2021. That is down from 2020, when there were “only” 10, probably because many schools were not in session much of the year because of COVID. Both 2019 and 2018 had 24. Two school shootings a month have become the norm in the United States (https://www.edweek.org/leadership/school-shootings-this-year-how-many-and-where/2021/03). The prosecutor in the Michigan case, Karen McDonald, was right when she told reporters we have become “desensitized to school shootings.”
According to news reports, the weapon used in the Michigan incident was a semiautomatic 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 pistol. The suspect, Ethan Crumbley, is a 15 year-old sophomore who will be tried as an adult. The gun was purchased four days earlier by the young man’s father.
I must confess, I’m not much of an expert on guns, but I have to ask: how does a fifteen year old manage to acquire such a destructive weapon and carry it around without supervision? The young man cannot legally purchase either cigarettes or a beer, yet he somehow is able to smuggle such a powerful weapon onto his school campus. And many Americans are concerned that passing laws to make this behavior more difficult somehow violates their “Second Amendment Rights.”
A Facebook friend of mine posted today that the Second Amendment has become an idolatry. He then posts the Merriam-Webster definition of the word “idolatry”: (1) the worship of a physical object as a god and (2) immoderate attachment or devotion to something. I think he’s right– guns have become a god in America. Many place their trust in them rather than God for security. Gun owners in many cases are “immoderately” attached or devoted to them. They will do everything in their power to defend their god.
The interesting thing about an idol is that sooner or later it will demand the sacrifice of the worshipper’s children. The worship of both the Canaanite gods Baal and Moloch required the sacrifice of children. Those in the grip of addiction, where a substance (alcohol, drugs) or a behavior (gambling, sex) become a god will eventually sacrifice their children’s well-being to gain a “fix.” Too often we send our young men and women off to wars where they are killed, not in the pursuit of justice as St. Augustine promoted, but to secure natural resources like oil to keep up our materialistic lifestyles.
I find it highly ironic that the very Americans who are most emphatic about the “Right to Life of the Unborn,” which they portray as the slaughter of innocent children, are also the most opposed to reasonable gun control laws to reduce the slaughter of innocent children on the school campuses of our nation.
How many children have to be sacrificed before we end this madness?