She looked at me the same way she does when she asks where we are going, expecting an answer. What a question! Why, indeed?
“Well, Honey,” I began slowly, “a lot of people are asking that same question. Some say there are too many guns, or too much hate, or too many poor people. Others say it’s bullying, or video games, violence on TV, or people with mental illness. I do know that it didn’t use to be this way.”
“Then what happened?” she said, still with that confident look.
“Before I tell you that, can I tell you about when I was a little girl?” I knew she loved those stories.
She crawled onto the couch and put her head in my lap. “Yes, Granne! But I bet I’ve heard it before,” she said giggling.
“My daddy always had guns, and so did all the neighbors. We all had guns for snakes, wild dogs, and starlings that ate other baby birds. And most folks hunted for food, and there weren’t any gun laws back then. Most people I knew weren’t rich or had been to college. We had mentally ill people then, too. It was so sad, but back then black people and white people didn’t get along at all. But from the time I was born until I was 15 years old, I’d never heard of anyone shooting strangers for no reason like happens in the news now.”
Looking at me and sensing the cloud descending over me, she said, “What happened when you were 15, Granne?”
“When I was 12, our highest judges passed a law saying we couldn’t read the Bible or pray anymore in school. Then just before…”
Amazed, she interrupted, “You mean you prayed and read the Bible in class?”
“Every day. The first thing every morning we took turns reading a Bible verse, then we prayed the Lord’s Prayer and did our Pledge of Allegiance. Class started after that.”
“What’s the Lord’s Prayer?” she asked. I was stunned and ashamed at my oversight. I resolved she would never have to ask thatquestion again.
“I’ll have to teach it to you!” I said, smiling playfully. Continuing: “Well, just before my 15th birthday, on August 1, 1966, a stranger shot other strangers. We couldn’t believe such a thing could happen!”
She scooted closer and put her head on my shoulder. We were both quiet, sad at the thought. Finally, she said, “Why do people have to be that way?”
“People today aren’t hearing about God’s best ways of living: How to be married, how to be parents and love their children, how to take care of themselves and help others, how to respect other people or how to respect themselves. They don’t know how to be good friends with each other. Sometimes people feel like they don’t belong anywhere. They want it to matter that they were born. Sometimes people get so desperate they do even senseless things that no one should ever do.”
” So is that why people are shooting people? They get mad at everyone?”
“Sometimes they’re angry because they’re hurting so deeply. Most don’t have good daddies, but God wants to be their forever father. Some people don’t feel like anyone wants them, but God wants them to be in His family. Parents could learn how to have a good home if they’d study God’s ways to love their children. God made us for becoming like Him and making the world a better place. That makes us important in this world. He planned it that way from the very beginning. And if everyone learned how to be kind and helpful, brave and generous, and loving and loyal…”
“People wouldn’t be shooting people so much,” she finished.
“Not everyone was a Christian when I was a little girl. But everyone at least got to hear God’s ways to live when we read the Bible. Now, most people really don’t know how to have a peaceful life.”
We both sat quietly, cuddling, mourning the loss of peace in our world. Then I quickly added, “But just in case you’re worried, we’re more likely to get struck by lightning than getting shot by a stranger. Do you worry about lightening?”
“No,” she giggled.
“Then don’t worry about this, either, and neither will I. Okay?”
“Okay,” she whispered.
“The best thing you can do is to learn all you can about God’s way of living and loving. Learn to be like Jesus. If you let Jesus have all of you, He will use your heart and hands and mind to make the world better. That’s what makes a real hero. Then your children and grandchildren will watch and learn, too. Then when things go wrong, you’ll know God will show you the way through.”
So we sat together, grateful for peace in our little world in that moment.
“Want to go to the park?” I suggested.
“Yes!! Let’s take the dog, too. Okay?”
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.“Hosea 4:6a
Young Researcher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwNFUVGF7Ak
Regarding Media & Political Research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXGgI2E5JUw
One wise youth:https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=wujdvXWAguM
Statistics used by CDC and FBI: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data/