Is a tree felled after one slash of the axe?
Does a stalactite form from one drop of water?
Does a rose bloom from one day’s sunshine?
Is a trail eroded from a single drop of rain?
No. Time is the key. All of these develop over time; experiencing the same circumstances repeatedly.
Perhaps we should not wait until the erosion is irreparable before we are concerned enough to figure out a solution to prevent these things from happening.
Does it really make sense that someone would make the jump from being rational, civilized member of society to being someone who walks into a school and murders children? Do we really think one event, one single drop of rain, could cause someone to snap like that? Or perhaps the event was birthed from years and years of internal erosion.
Erosion does not happen overnight, but it’s development is not invisible during the process. There are signs. But what do we do when we experience people who are weird or different? What do we do to those who do not “fit in” with us? What have we done to create or continue this erosion in others?
Am I saying you are the cause of the shootings in schools?
No; every person is responsible for his or her own actions. The shooter pulled his own trigger.
But I do believe we may have created a monster. Monsters, actually. And for that, we are responsible.
What was that Edmund Burke said?
“All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
When you see erosion, what do you do? Do you say to yourself that it’s not your problem and ignore it and move on? Do you cast a judgmental look at it with criticism, thinking someone should better maintain their property? Or do you take the initiative to do something about it?
As children of God, we were given dominion over this earth, and with that dominion comes responsibility. We are to be stewards. Not judges (not yet, anyways) and not someone to ignore the signs or the call for help when they become obvious to us.
As a mountain biker, when I see erosion on a trail, I don’t want to just complain about it, or cast stones at the state park for failing to maintain the trails to my standard. No, I want to help. I’m not the only one, and that is exactly why people who use the trails create a volunteer group to help develop and maintain the trails, realizing that maybe the state park doesn’t have the resources to do it themselves. All because people see an issue and refuse to ignore it.
How much more important are human beings than a mountain trail? How much more should we desire to help a brother or sister who has signs of internal erosion?
The issue is not guns; Cain killed Able with a rock. If guns were not available, they would use something else. If a person is determined to cause harm or pain or death, the instrument they use is of no consequence. The problem is that they determined to cause harm in the first place. We need to address the problem, not the symptom.
It seems in these cases of school shootings, the person pulling the trigger had signs of internal erosion. I’m not at all trying to give excuse or justification or a pass. By no means. They are guilty and deserve punishment. And the people they shot did not deserve this, regardless of how the person felt or justified it in their own mind.
My point is the erosion happened over time. It wasn’t overnight, and it did not go unnoticed.
Each of us decides each day what type of person we are going to be. We must understand that our words and our actions have consequences. Sometimes eternal consequences. With our tongue, we can wield the power of either life or death, according to Proverbs 18:21. Which do we choose? We can create friends or enemies. We can build relationships or monsters. We can help cause or cure erosion.
Am I saying that simply being nice to the weird kid at school once can stop him from shooting me at school?
No. Erosion does not happen overnight, so healing definitely can’t.
Am I saying that kids got shot because they weren’t nice to the weirdo?
No. The desire to help someone shouldn’t be out of fear or self-preservation. It should be because we understand we are stewards of a vision. The vision is a better tomorrow. We have a mandate as stewards to help create a better society, and ignoring erosion does not help build a thriving community.
Instead of focusing on banning guns, how about we focus on creating an environment where no one would want to use one in a malice-driven way? Or maybe emphasizing the value of human life. Instead of casting stones at people for being different, how about we extend our friendship? Instead of making fun of people for their flaws and failures and internal scars, how about we help them heal? Instead of finding a scapegoat, how about we evaluate our own words and actions, seeing if what we’ve done and said contributed as either a help or hinderance to the situation?
Is it our responsibility to make sure others are not screwed up psychopaths? It may not be our responsibility as citizens of this nation or state or city or community. But as children of God, it is our responsibility to be our brother’s keeper. And as stewards of the vision, it is our responsibility to build a better tomorrow.
Does not the society decide what is and is not socially acceptable? If so, how can we say it is not socially acceptable for someone to shoot up a school, but do and say nothing to prevent the development of someone who would act in such a manner? How do we not hold at least some of the responsibility as a society for seeing the signs of erosion and doing nothing about it?
No; we’d rather say things like “God is in control,” than to take the responsibility for ourselves. Do we really think God wanted those atrocities to happen? Yet we want to yell at God; “Why didn’t You do something to stop this from happening?!” And He looks back at us and asks the same question. Why? Because He gave us dominion. Which means it is our responsibility.