With Kleenex in hand, I read a story about Angel Garza an EMT. Angel drove 85 miles to the chaotic, desperate, tragic, and disastrous scene at Robb Elementary. He wanted to save the lives of the wounded children still living after the 18-year-old with an assault weapon did his ungodly and evil acts.
To render aid Angel bent over a 10-year-old hysterical girl who was covered in blood. The wounded girl choked out the words that she had witnessed the shooter kill her very best friend. Angel asked the girl what her best friend’s name was. She said her best friend’s name was Amerie. Angel froze in disbelief. The dead girl, Amerie, was his daughter.
These stories rip the heart right out of you and me. Clearly, innocent lives are being snuffed out in the war in Ukraine. But this is not in some far-off land. This is America. A land where parents have every right to expect their children to safely return home from school on a bus and not in a hearse.
For decades all of us, elected officials and citizens, have prayed to God to prevent this from happening again and again. Our hearts endlessly bleed in compassion for the senseless killing of students and teachers. We sit for hours on end viewing 24/7 news coverage watching people cry, parents grieving, the placement of flowers at school memorials, watching coffins being lowered into graves, and paradoxically asking for a rational reason an unstable mentally ill human would do this.
Just as there is renewed and hopeful consideration of social and government options to bring about meaningful change to prevent the next mass shooting, the focus turns to placing blame instead of finding and creating solutions. Conservatives blame liberals. The liberals blame conservatives. Republicans blame Democrats. Democrats blame Republicans. The parents of dead children blame law enforcement for not acting promptly to end the carnage where minutes meant the difference between life and death of their precious children.
Citizens blame the NRA and lax gun laws. Citizens proclaim that their elected representatives serve the gun lobby and not the best interest of those they govern. Various branches of law enforcement say another branch did not do its job. Then, now to top it off, social media is full of conspiracy theories about unseen forces causing this mayhem or allowing Uvalde to happen to achieve sinister hidden goals.
History is clear. After the dust settles and the graves are covered with dirt and after calls for change are made, nothing changes. Is this how God wants us to act or not act? Does God want you and me to merely pray, to have compassion and empathy, or to give money to the families of the victims? Will just those things prevent further school shootings? Will it stop the killing of innocent students and teachers?
How much do we love kids compared to how God loves us and them? What happened in Uvalde and in prior school shootings cannot be addressed by one simple solution.
I do not have the answers. But I know two things without any doubt. God knows what we need to do with faith and courage. Second, God has given us hearts to love others and brains smart enough to know and implement His will.
God has spoken in Scripture about using our minds and protecting children from harm.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’
He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself.’
‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Let us pray together.
Dear God, in prayer I thank You for the mind You have given me to know and apply Your will to protect and love Your children.
God, I am committed to doing more than comfort the afflicted and pray for Your guidance.
God, please help me act to do what is needed to bring about real change to address the problem of gun violence in our schools and elsewhere.
God, please help me to require my elected governmental officials to enact proper laws to protect children and teachers from death and injury.
God, I pray that one day there will be fewer spirits of Your children and teachers who will be prematurely commended to Your heavenly care because of gun violence.
God, help me to truly and fully love and protect Your children. Amen
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.