To view the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/UlN03JAYKe8
Today we are discussing the weighty topic of mass shootings. Although it’s a difficult topic to discuss, it seems inappropriate to not talk about it. Even if we sit around and pretend like mass shootings aren’t on the rise, they will still be present in the news. So let’s dive into the conversation and talk about what the shooters all have in common and how we can prevent more mass shootings from taking place in the future!
Since 2013, there has been only one full calendar week — the week of January 5, 2014 — without a mass shooting. So far in 2019, 279 people have been killed and 1092 wounded in 263 mass shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive, mass shootings are defined as events in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, were shot but not necessarily killed at the same general time and location. (according to Vox Media, link below) In 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. In 2016 a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida led to 50 deaths. In 2017 a gunman fired into a crowd at a music festival on the Las Vegas strip, killing 59. In 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17.
The goal of this episode is not to talk about politics or gun laws. The goal of this episode is to gather the common denominators among the mass shooters, discuss them, and talk about how we can prevent more shootings from occurring in the future.
Common Denominators Among Mass Shooters
They were disconnected. They did not have deep, meaningful connection with other human beings. They were isolated. Often, on top of being isolated, the shooters are marginalized or treated as insignificant. They were possibly bullied in their childhood or adulthood. God's word tells us that we simply can't function without each other. We need each other and we need community. Genesis 2:18 says, Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
They were abused as children or experienced trauma in their childhood. We are not saying that every person who has been mistreated in their childhood will become a mass shooter, but that big problems can arise in adulthood when abuse goes unresolved for long periods of time.
They had access to guns. Whether the gun was legally or illegally acquired, everyone who has committed a mass shooting had access to a gun.
They showed antisocial behavior days and weeks before the shooting. There were signs before each shooting that the shooter was spiraling. Families, friends, and neighbors comment that they distanced themselves the days and weeks before the tragic event.
They were down on their luck. They had lost control, felt disempowered, and had lost all hope.
What causes the shooters to get to this point?
The breakdown of the family. Over the last several generations, the importance of family has diminished. Many boys don't have a loving father in their lives, expressing love and respect for their mother. Boys are going without strong male examples in their lives, and this is a tragic reality. This is not to say that single mothers are doing anything wrong because we love single mothers and believe that they are heroes. But boys need dads or male figures in their lives. There is so much importance behind a grown man showing young boys how to love with tenderness and kindness to all people. There is something powerful within the connection of a father and a son, so if you are a father to a son make sure you are spending time with your son loving him and teaching him how to love and respect others.
The breakdown of moral consequences. There has been a decay in consequences for people's behavior. Tim says he is not talking about punishment but discipline. Tim says, “Discipline produces a consequence that helps us realize a behavior is unacceptable and unhealthy.” The combination of a boy without a responsible father figure + a lack of discipline is a recipe for violence.
The proliferation of pornography and violent video games. Tim explains that pornography used to be more difficult to access because you had to go purchase a magazine or movie from a store, but now it practically finds us. If we search the wrong word on Google, we can be flooded with lewd images. Even every day shows on Netflix and TV have pornographic tones and we have become numb to it. Also, starting from a young age many boys are playing violent video games where they have to shoot or kill another player to win the game. The result of this numbing is a lower view of human life.
Breakdown of spiritual connection to God and not seeing God as sovereign. People trivialize God and make him seem less complex than He really is. People try to make God small enough to manage intellectually and emotionally. We have forgotten how big God is. He is beyond our comprehension. He is infinite. He is beyond our capacity to understand. Kimberly says, “In the effort of trivializing God, we have lowered our view of God, which in response has lowered our view of humanity.” Tim says, “Our human value is based on the intrinsic value that God has given to us. We are created in the image of God, and as image-bearers, we are sacred to God.” The lower your view of God, the lower your view of humanity.
What can we do to stop this epidemic?
It has to start in the home. Look for the warning signs in your own family and invest in your family. Fathers and mothers have to understand how important it is to be present in their children's lives and set a positive example for them to follow.
Boys have to have a positive male influence in their life. Programs like "Boys to Men" match a caring adult with a young boy, and that adult acts like a mentor to the boy.
We need to address bullying. As adults, we have to acknowledge that bullying is happening and prevent it in any way possible. We have to be there for our children when they need someone to talk to.
Model manliness, strong non-toxic masculinity, and a mature well-balanced man. Tim explains that he thinks masculinity has gotten a bad rap, but there is nothing wrong with a mature man who is well-balanced and manly. Toxic masculinity is oppressive and misogynistic and not the example that young men need. Young men need to be shown how to be masculine and respectful, and the best way to show them is by example.
Join us next week as we answer the question: “Do we really need to read our bibles?” Thanks for joining us, and we love you guys!
“Discipline produces a consequence that helps us realize a behavior is unacceptable and unhealthy.” -Tim
“In the effort of trivializing God, we have lowered our view of God, which in response has lowered our view of humanity.” -Kimberly
“Our human value is based on the intrinsic value that God has given to us. We are created in the image of God, and as image-bearers, we are sacred to God.” -Tim
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.