In the past days since the awfulness of Newtown, CT happened my Facebook feed has been filled to capacity with finger-pointing. Everyone has a side and everyone has someone or something to blame. The blame races through the gamut of ideas, from gun control to mental health services. Normally I would have prepared a little piece on my ideas concerning God but I felt the urge to jump up onto a soapbox and shout some truths. People can get angered by this but the truth is never meant to be an easy pill to swallow.
First in my line of sight is the most heated of the debates, GUN CONTROL. Pro 2nd Amendment people like to state that it is our right to bear arms and that the 2nd Amendment protects that right. They also like to point out that “criminals” can get to these weapons without caring about the laws as they are indeed “criminals.” I agree that criminals can and will get whatever they need to commit their act, money has a way of helping you there, but maybe we should delve into the idea of the 2nd Amendment a bit more before we just make it a fact that it protects our rights. The only United States document that gave any guaranteed rights is the “Declaration of Independence,” in which states that we have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the right to overthrow our government and place a new one in the former governments place.” No where in this document does it state any other right. The Constitution is nothing more than an agreement between the people of this country and the government of this country. This document was formed so that the people knew what was expected of them and the government knew what was expected of them. The entire thing is left open for interpretation as for what was meant and it is also left open for changes to be made, in case something comes along that requires a written and recorded opinion by consensus of the people and the government. The 2nd Amendment was added because the people and the government agreed that at the time our nation needed to be able to present an army quickly in case of attack and that the nation as a whole needed to be able to protect ourselves from the non-Americans still roaming our new country. This Amendment was meant solely for this purpose and not to protect ourselves from “criminals.” If you try and identify with the writers of our constitution, you would realize that they were former peoples of a government that controlled the arms of the nation in order to control the people. You would also see that these people were farmers living in a merciless land and felt that they needed a way to protect them from nature. It was not until the expansion west that the right to bear arms became about protecting oneself from a fellow human being or “criminal.” The expansion west saw a time when guns became more portable, accurate and easier to obtain. During this time we saw numerous examples of the right to bear arms being perverted into the “right to kill.” Just because the writers of the Constitution had the presence of mind to leave a document that would be open for interpretation and changes do not mean that we should make assumptions about our rights.
Now onto anti 2nd Amendment folks and their bickering. These folks what to state that banning guns and ammo or restricting them further will curtail the “criminal” element, but does not the idea that they are “criminals” not belie that sentiment. These folks are willing to ignore the laws of the government, ignore the rights of their fellow man and do as they please. Would another law really bring them back into line? I think not as we see that we can not control them with the current set of rules, another one would mean just as much. The simple answer here is to stop blaming the rules and start blaming the rule breakers. If we go back to the idea that the Constitution is nothing more than an agreement then we can connect a few more ideas. Our government has an extensive list of rules, regulations and laws. Not only do we have federal ones, we also have state, county and local one as well. At each level the people agree to a code (constitution) of our rights but we also agree to a code (rules, regulations and laws) as well. Our government agrees to abide by our code (constitution) so long as we agree to abide by their code (rules, regulations and laws). Now when a person or government breaks this agreement, both the people and our government have agreed on punishments for this but we do not through out the agreement. We simply punish those that break the agreement and move on. If we start shifting blame from the people or government who break the agreement and place it on the agreement we will then start to punish the agreement not the ones who break it. Once this happens then we might as well trash the agreement and start over. However, I choose to blame those that do not live up to the agreement we all have made.
On to the hot topic of our mental health system, whether lack there of or not. Many folks complain that their psychiatrist does not spend time with them or only has 15 minutes to devote to them. There was a time when psychology involved nothing more than a psychiatrist some orderlies and nurses and a few sanatoriums. These places were awful and most psychiatrists were only out to make a name for them and not interested in actually correcting the problems causing the issues. Fast forward to today and psychiatrists have become nothing more than a “drug dealer.” Not to say that they are not important in overall mental health but they are only there primarily to help with the medicines. For overall mental health you need to add a psychologist, therapist or counselor so that the root of the issue can be dealt with. I am not saying that some people are beyond help or that there are those that do not want to be helped and those are the ones that need to be removed from society. Those that do not want to participate in their own mental health should not be allowed to participate in society freely. We can only allow an excuse for so long but when does the line get drawn. With my children I have this philosophy; the first time they make the wrong choice or do the wrong thing is a free be but after that it is a choice and they must be accountable and responsible for that choice. So if you mental health staff states that you need this medicine but you refuse to take it then you have refused to make the right choice. If your medicine makes you feel bad, talk to you doctor DO NOT just stop taking it. There is much more to delve into in this issue but suffice it to say that I feel that we lean on mental health as an excuse because it is easy. I believe that some people can not help it but I also believe that it is up to us to put into place ways to protect them and others. I am not saying that our mental health system is perfect but at least it is not still experimenting on our minds. So saying that our systems should have prevented makes the assumption that he cared enough to be helped or took medicine as prescribed or any number of things HE was responsible for.
Where was God? Why would he allow this to happen?
These are questions I have seen plastered all over facebook, twitter and of course the news (otherwise known as DOOM and GLOOM). First answer is God was there guiding those that died, home. Those children and adults got to run to Jesus’ open arms and are now in the promised garden. He is also now all over the news, social media and on the hearts of every believer that sends their prayers to those affected by this atrocious display of humanity. Second answer would be that God gave us free will and unfortunately sometimes man can show that he can not handle that gift. We inherently are destructive and truthfully can not help it. Mankind has demonstrated throughout our history that free will is bigger than we can handle as a whole. On the other side of that argument though, we see that humanity can pull together at lift each other up during times like these. Seems to me that we need the bad part of humanity to poke its head out so that we can remember that we are all riding this rock together. So do not blame God because he did not stop a human for exercising free will, blame humanity for not realizing that his will should be ours. Also when one really studies the Bible we realize that God is saying he will not stop the evil from happening, nor will stand in front of us and protect us from it. He states that he will walk with us, every step of the way. This is where we must change our focus. God is not there to protect us from bad things, he is just like a parent. Parents must allow their children to experience the bad so that they will learn from it and appreciate the good more.
If there was prayer in school or if God was allowed in school this would not have happened. This is a completely idiotic statement. Learning about, studying about and hearing about God does not remove our free will. I am not an expert on schools and the inclusion of God but I am sure of a few things.
1. If they say the original Pledge of Allegiance then they use the phrase “Under God”
2. If they teach about money our kids see “In God We Trust”
3. As far as I can tell children can pray to themselves so long as their belief or actions do not harass another student
I Where God and school separate is teaching from the Bible itself. Our education system no longer utilizes the concepts behind the Bible. Now before we get much further into our school system I must clarify that this can not be about all schools as there is always the exception. Remember that the following is my opinion only:
It seems to me that our school system allows our children excuses when it comes to their own schooling, whether it is behavior or work. In my own children I have seen the schools allow them to make up homework that is months old, allow behavior that should merit suspension and all the while find a way to excuse the child from said performance. In my day, you were punished for behavior that was unacceptable whether you were having a bad day or not. If you did not complete your homework and turn it in when it was due, you did not get the grade for it. Our educational system back then taught us to be responsible, accountable and have integrity. Not to say it was perfect nor was it meeting the complete needs of the students but we were not shooting up our schools nor were we dying like flies. I will save the rest for another post but I will leave this, we as parents are responsible for ensuring that our schools teach our children more than their ABC’s and 123’s.
Back to God in our schools. If we can teach about ancient civilizations and their Gods, then why not teach the history of all religions? When I was in school we had a class called “Religious Studies” made just for this purpose. We were not told what to have faith in but taught that faith was not evil. We were taught that God is not religion nor is religion God. Never once does God proclaim allegiance to one certain religion. How could he as he is the creator of all? We had a Bible study group that met on Wednesdays, along with any other group whom had their own study groups. We understood that our beliefs and faiths did not have to be another groups and we respected that God enjoys worship and praise from a multitude of angles. We also accepted that we were all right in our own ways and most important was not the rite and ritual in which we worshipped but the faith that we had. We need to bring this back to our educational system. We do not need to bring the rite and ritual of each religion but we do need to bring the faith. How many children would we help if they had faith to lean on? More on this in another post.
I hope that the lesson that we learn from this is to stop trying to find fault that is outside of the person committing it. This young man is responsible for his own evil and should be held to his choice. We need to stop pointing a finger at the gun, mental health, schools, parents or society as a whole. It was his choice to get up that day and kill. It was his choice to take a fellow human’s life. Was he disturbed or evil? He was not but his actions were. People are not bad inherently but their choices most certainly can be. I hope we can all start to redefine the meanings of accountability and responsibility and begin to turn the channel we find ourselves glued to.
Lets be the difference instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us.
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