by Chuck Colson
Newspaper headlines continue to shout the terrible news of school shootings: "Student kills 2 classmates, wounds 13 near San Diego"; "Detroit high school shooting injures 3"; "Student dies after shooting outside Baltimore high school"; "Student killed in Michigan elementary school shooting"; "Suspect in custody after school shooting in Oklahoma".
The Columbine school shooting shocked the nation. And now we hear of yet another, at Santana High School, in Santee, California. Two more students dead. Thirteen students and adults wounded. A fifteen-year-old, high school freshman arrested. Charges will include murder, assault, and assault with a deadly weapon-a long-barreled handgun. "His dad had a bunch of guns at home," one student told reporters.
Why would a fifteen-year-old teenager turn his father's gun on his classmates? "We don't know the motive, so we don't know whether it was random or not," said San Diego County Sheriff William Kolender.
On hearing of the tragedy, a saddened President Bush called the shooting" a disgraceful act of cowardice." And he added, "When America teaches our children right from wrong, and teaches values that respect life in our country, we'll be better off." How right he is!
I've been addressing this topic for years. As I said in my book, Answers to Your Kids' Questions, in the wake of the Columbine massacre: Politicians call for gun control, commentators decry the decadent popular culture, scientists even suggest genetic disorders; but the real answer goes much deeper.
Today's kids desperately need moral guidance. They need to know right from wrong. And sadly, too many adults have abdicated their responsibility to teach kids values that respect life. In public schools, students are taught to "construct" their own truths. And teachers are trained not to offer direction, lest they hamper a child's autonomy. The results of such thinking have been explosive.
Perhaps the best assessment of this moral dilemma came in the eloquent words of the father of Rachel Scott, one of the girls killed at Columbine for professing her faith. Visit our website at www.breakpoint.org for the full text of his remarks to the House Judiciary Committee.
On that day, Darrell Scott asked, "What has happed to us as a nation? We've refused to honor God, and in doing so we opened the doors to hatred and violence."
Scott continued, "No amount of laws can stop someone who spends months of planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts. Political posturing and restrictive legislation are not the answers."
And he added, "We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgement that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God."
Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, California: They are all wake-up calls! Kids are in trouble, and they need help. How many more wake-up calls will it take? Darrell Scott and President Bush are right. "When America teaches our children right from wrong, and teaches values that respect life in our country, we'll all be better off."
All I can say is: "What are we waiting for?