Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Danger WIthin: An open letter

“A gunman has shot dead at least 32 people before committing suicide at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., in the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history.” (CTV online news, April 16/07). I am sure you have been reading about, watching or listening to the steady flow of information coming out of Virginia at another recent killing spree. I was looking at a Canadian Press article of a “Timeline of violent incidents at N. American schools” Updated Tue. Apr. 17 2007 10:45 AM. Between 1975 and 1994, 19 years, there was 8 shootings at schools. From 1997 – 2007, 10 years, there has been over 34. Someone said on the radio that people in leadership are totally baffled as to what to do to stop it? I am sure that you, like me, have heard many, MANY suggestions on what to do. I have heard people say “we need more laws”, “we need more screening”, “ban all guns”, to “make more guns available”. One guy said, that if the teachers and students would have been permitted to have guns at school they could have shot the guy before he killed so many people. Is this really the answer?

It is my opinion, that people are trying to fight an internal problem with external answers. You can have all the laws in the world, all the screening programs, all the security checks and balances, but if it is in the heart of a man or a woman to kill, all the external controls in the world are not going to be 100% effective. Something else has to be done; something that can deal with the internal problems that many people have. Problems like: a poor self image or even self loathing, deep hatred, envy, jealousy, rage. How about this list: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions. All deep internal problems that effect our lives everyday.

The Bible calls this list humanity’s “sinful nature”. This nature can not be controlled by laws, clubs or groups, as much as they are good to have, as they come from the inside of a person. Something has to change the nature of a person to see any change in our society. Not many years ago, people believed that God could, and would help in this change if a person wanted. Today most young people have not even heard that God is real and can help with internal and lasting change. I listened to a CBC program this morning when the discussion turned to, who in the room had a Bible. One person said, and I quote, “I do, I use it for a door stop”. Much laughter was the response by the other people. Could I suggest that people everywhere would pick it up from, the door way, or wherever else you may have one and read it? I know they could find real answers to the internal problems of our world.

God, I ask you to be with the families that will be burying their children this week and in the weeks to come. Please help us with our internal problems, our sin nature and reveal yourself to us afresh I pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.