The latest mass school shooting in America occurred on May 24, when 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas. While there were isolated incidences of gun violence in America’s public schools prior to the 1960s, there were no mass murders. The first was in August 1966, when 25-year-old Charles Whitman killed 16 and wounded 31 at the University of Texas-Austin. Since then, there have been 13 or more mass school shootings, depending on how they are counted (“13 Mass School Shootings,” May 26, 2022, Reason.com). For example, in April 1999, 18-year-old Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School near Denver, then killed themselves. In March 2005, 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise killed seven students and staff at Red Lake High School in Minnesota. In April 2007, 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech. After each of these highly publicized events, new laws have been proposed, but for the most part they are political knee-jerk things that don’t address the fundamental issues. (Putting more guns into the hands of the right people would provide better protection.) America has always had a gun culture, but America has not always been as violent prone as today. A larger percentage of the American population owned guns in the first half of the 20th century and a larger percentage had military and other martial experience, but there were zero mass school shootings. The thing that has changed is America’s moral character and prevailing culture.
We would list three of the fundamentals underlying this change. The first is the apostasy of America’s churches. The 20th century witnessed a great downgrade in the character of evangelical Protestant and Baptist churches. There was a large scale disappearance of such basics as a regenerate membership, forthright preaching, church discipline, separation and a pilgrim lifestyle, fathers as spiritual heads of the home and overseers of the children’s education, and mothers as keepers of the home. A light-hearted party atmosphere replaced a holy atmosphere. The churches walked in lockstep with the world.
The second fundamental was the rise of a vile, antichrist pop culture and entertainment industry. The music-driven youth culture blasted on the scene in the 1950s (preceded by the smaller jazz culture) and exploded in influence in the 1960s. With the self-centered theme, “It’s your life; do what you want,” it is in open rebellion to God and His holy laws and is a recipe for moral disaster. The pop culture and entertainment industry have grown progressively more corrupt and violent-prone with each passing decade, and the internet, smart phone, and social media have amplified the influence.
A third fundamental was the philosophical corruption of the public school system. This began at the turn of the 20th century and spread slowly, gaining ground more dramatically as the century progressed toward the halfway mark. Major turning points were the replacement of creationism with evolution and the rejection of the biblical view of God and man and absolute morals. The result has been evident for all to see. The moral difference between the America into which I was born in 1949 and the America that exists today is breathtaking. Mass school shootings are only one small element.
The top two things that would bring real moral change to America are these: The first thing is spiritual revival in Bible-believing churches. The churches hold the key to this if they are willing to pay the price. Pastors must stop following and start leading. The second thing that could bring real moral change in America is the dismantling of the public educational system, including government-supported colleges and universities. At the very least, all of God’s redeemed people should stop supporting the public schools.