Sunday, July 28th, in Gilroy California, a white nationalist shot and killed Stephen Romero, age 6, Trevor Irby, age 25, and Keyla Salazar, age 13. 12 more people were injured. Six days later, in El Paso, Texas, a white nationalist kills 20 people and injures more than two dozen more. 13 hours later, a third white nationalist opens fire in Dayton Ohio. 9 dead and 27 injured. Three mass shootings in one week’s time.
America, we have a problem. Supposedly, admitting the problem is half the battle. However, if you only fight half a battle, you still lose. Americans are the losers because we will do exactly what we have done since Columbine in April 1999. We will mourn, be outraged, and then get distracted and do nothing.
There will be a time of grieving, a call for stricter gun laws. This will lead to the inevitable arguments that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Someone will use the term “assault rifle,” and some other guy will derail the argument by point out that what the shooters used weren’t actual assault rifles. Someone will say we need more guns that a good guy with a gun could have stopped the bad guy. Congress will block any attempt at meaningful gun laws because they prefer lobbyist dollars over our children’s safety. There will be lots of finger-pointing. Democrats will blame Republicans and Trump. Republicans will blame Democrats for immigration! Every politician will try to score a few points with these tragedies. It will be a lot of sound and fury, ultimately leading to nothing.
Then the cycle starts again. The dangerous rhetoric meant to divide people will start. Sound bites and tweets designed for mass consumption will stoke the fires of conspiracy and white nationalism. Already “Fire Fighter” prophet Mark Taylor is feeding his rabid base the words their itching ears want to hear. “This is the work of the Deep State.”
Chris McDonald conspiracy nut extraordinaire is telling his audience that this was the work of the deep state trying to take away your freedom to worship.
This kind of violence in America has no easy solution. This violence has been planted into the very soul of America and now has come to fruition. Our culture loves guns and violence. Our political system sows discord to garner votes. Prominent church leaders have turned to politics in pursuit of their dominionist policy instead of turning to Christ to build His kingdom.
Comprehensive reform must take place. I’m not just talking stricter gun laws. Yes, stricter gun laws must happen. There needs to be laws preventing the mentally ill from owning a gun, laws that have stricter background checks, laws that extend the waiting period, laws that limit the magazine capacity. Oh, I can hear you now, “If you do that it won’t stop criminals from owning guns.” No, it won’t. However, it would have stopped young disenfranchised white nationalist from having easy access to them.
We need to reform our culture. We need to reform our mental health care. Too many people are slipping through the cracks. “Treating and streeting” people doesn’t work. Young people show the signs of becoming a potential shooter, and there aren’t enough qualified counselors to do anything about it.
We need a reformation of our educational system. Security guards, metal detectors, and armed teachers aren’t the answer. More school counselors and support programs, smaller classrooms, anti-bullying initiatives are all needed. My God people, buying a bulletproof backpack for your child to go to school with is becoming the new norm.
Private companies like Google, Facebook, and YouTube need to continue banning hate speech. Oh I know, you cry out freedom of speech. However, hate speech is not protected under the constitution. Also, free speech cannot be abridged by the government. Google, Facebook, and YouTube are not the government; they are privately-owned companies that can decide hate speech doesn’t fit into their terms of service. Every social media company, every Internet Service provider must actively work to remove the hateful rhetoric from their platforms to prevent the radicalizing of our youth. This isn’t censorship; this is private for-profit companies deciding not to earn money by allowing hate mongers to use their service to spread hate.
This is a complex problem with no simple solution. We need to start calling out the “religious leaders” who earn a paycheck by spreading conspiracy and hate. The violence has been planted into our souls, and the roots have spread deep and wide.
The last time I discussed the need for comprehensive reform across our entire culture, people started commenting on individual aspects saying, gun laws won’t help. You know what you might believe they won’t help, but they certainly won’t hurt. People said spending money on social programs for the mentally ill won’t help. Ok, but it still won’t hurt. I agree, no one thing will solve this problem. That’s because it isn’t a simple problem. It is a complex problem that has dozens of different causes. We need to change our culture.
Hate is big business. Politicians, businessmen, and religious leaders all sell it to earn a profit. Human lives are exchanged for fat bank accounts. Politicians rake in lobbyist dollars and get re-elected dividing this country. Weapons manufacture earn billions selling their weapons. Religious leaders solicit donations to fight the evil deep state. “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” (I Tim 6:10) How about we start there. believe me; if hate were not profitable, this country would begin to heal.
Stop sending thoughts and prayers and do something, anything. Don’t bother trying to pin the blame on a political party, demand that your party do something. Let’s stop the stupid debates on what is and is not an assault weapon and do something. These aren’t foreign terrorist attacking our country; these are homegrown terrorists.
Let’s do something. I have already written to my Congressional leaders, I have called their offices. All people of faith must work on racial reconciliation and justice. If you are at a church or under a religious leader that promotes violence, its time to walk away. If your church or religious leader doesn’t preach and teach healing the nation through racial reconciliation and justice, they aren’t teaching the Bible.
Three mass shootings in a week. Is that enough yet? I pity a country that becomes outraged over homegrown terrorist killing people, and then a few days later get distracted by celebrity tweets.