Tuesday’s shooting at Great Mills High School demonstrates that America’s violence with guns problem is not about the kind of weapon, but the kind of assailant. Tuesday’s events did not involve an assault rifle. Every gun requires an angry or mentally unstable person to pull the trigger, and people would use butter knives to vent their anger if guns were not accessible.
A society that applauds violence on television, computers and gaming (where teens now spend more time on electronic devices than they do sleeping), cannot help but reap what it sows. Is it a coincidence that we are seeing so much violence with guns these days, or is there a correlation between the demonization of God and religion, and the acceptance of violence in nearly every facet of life? Not at all. The correlation should be obvious. Violence with guns is high because morals are low. Morals are low because we got what we asked for: a society where God and religion are demonized, not respected.
In colonial days, young colonists were required to own muskets—but we didn’t see colonists shooting up the local one-room schoolhouses, did we? That should not be seen as a coincidence. America does not have a gun violence problem. We have an increasing inability to express our disagreements and frustrations in healthy ways. If we deal with the root problem, the violence subsides.
Violence with guns is a symptom of a deeper and growing trend throughout America: When God is demonized, attacked as the enemy rather than our friend, society grows increasingly evil, not good. The instability, division and anger in our nation will only rise as long as we continue to bully God, insisting he has no place in the classroom, the football field, in civic meetings and a host of other public arenas. If we want a safe society, it’s time to invoke the author of peace, God Himself. As long as we keep him at arm’s length, and continue to demonize and bully Him, we can expect more of the same.
The Maryland shooting also demonstrates that the federal government need not be involved in order for local law enforcement to step in and minimize a threat. Great Mills High School’s resource officer, Deputy Blaine Gaskill, did the job for which he is employed—and he did it without the aid of the federal government. The clamor for the federal government to be the solution for local problems, which will take center stage this weekend again, during the “March for our Lives,” is largely misdirected. Local law enforcement does not need the federal government to step in where they can do their job and do it well.
Michael Anthony is author of A Call For Courage, a speaker and blogger at CourageMatters.com and through the Courage Matters app, and lead pastor of Grace Fellowship in York, Pennsylvania.