The past 24 hours have been challenging for our country. We've had mass shootings in multiple locations. This is not a rant, and it is not a gun control blog. I've always said I'm not an optimist or a pessimist, but I am a realist. I have enough years behind me to remember when our society was different. I can remember seeing high powered rifles hanging in gun racks on the parking lots of local high schools, and the students left the doors unlocked, the keys on the front seat and the windows down. Nobody thought a thing about it. That student was going hunting once the final bell rang and he didn't want to waste daylight running home first.
What is different? And I realize, it's not completely different. In the late 1960s, we had riots in the streets. Protests were being conducted all over the country, there was great violence, racism, war and it seemed like an apocalypse. But, today is different in other ways. The view of the value of human life is at an all-time low. Multiple states in our country are passing assisted suicide laws, and they are applauded. That would have been an anathema in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Babies are aborted by the millions, and yet we rail against children in containment areas for their safety, at the border.
Middle-to-high-school students sequester themselves in their homes with game consoles that give them points for killing the most people. They don't interact face to face with other students of a similar age. We played Ms Pacman, and you had to do that in an arcade. Social media gives isolated people a forum to express their frustration with life, and they are often joined by a chorus of similar struggling individuals. We talked to a friend, a sibling, a parent, and even the dog.
Parents hover over their kids hoping to protect them from any mental or physical harm, and in the process, the kids never learn how to deal with issues or navigate life. A scraped knee is a crisis, and an insult is a means to have legislation passed to ban words. We put warning labels on products to keep people from doing stupid things, and that's right, I said it. It's stupid.
Teens set dogs on fire. Others tape their muzzles closed and insert firecrackers in their mouths while the poor animal in a panic runs around trying to get the sizzling device to go out before it blows up their face. And, the abusers video the abuse and laugh throughout the scene.
Our overly connected world has released a wave of ice cream lickers, vegetable urinators and prep-food spitters who are looking to be the next Facebook, YouTube or Instagram viral star. What they are really doing is revealing how poorly they have been prepared to live a life of value. Their willingness to taint the food other people will consume shows how consumed they are with themselves. Hey, look at me, I licked your ice cream. Enjoy.
The mass shooters, the ice cream lickers, animal abusers, the baby aborters reveal one thing about our country. We have a heart problem. The foundation of our families and our individual lives have been built of sand, and it is crumbling. Twenty-six of the last 27 shooters were men raised in fatherless homes. Only one woman has been involved, and she was a terrorist. Personally, I believe the absence of God in the average American's life is a main source of this wayward path we are on. Without God, there are no moral absolutes. In that absence, men create their own absolutes. How's that working for us?
Without a source of absolutes, everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Sadly, I believe the church has a lot to do with the absence of God in the lives of our citizens. Instead of speaking life to parishioners, we have sought entertainment rather than engagement. Rather relying on biblical texts to give us guidance through this life, we pick and choose what we would like to believe. The Bible has become a smorgasbord where we pick our beliefs rather than allowing it to reveal God's plans for our lives.
We have become experts at shifting responsibility for our shortcomings to others. It was my parents, my boss, my spouse, my sickness, my lack of money, my whatever we can scapegoat to, rather than accepting responsibility for our thoughts, our beliefs and our actions.
Politicians pander. Government squanders. Leaders disappoint. Rights disappear. Relationships implode. No folks, it's not guns, it's not somebody else's fault, it's not the Russians. It's the heart. Until we address the issues of the heart, we will not stop the decline in our nation, and those who would take advantage of our weak moments will continue to do so.
America, it's time to suck it up, stand up, get a backbone, quit being stupid, accept responsibility, respect others, love without conditions, cherish those around you, give without recognition, share your wisdom, know when to keep your mouth shut, deal with your personal issues, seek help, offer help, open a door, smile at someone, say thank you, make a difference, be available, listen without judging, be slow to become angry, stop lashing out, deal with your disappointments in healthy ways, apologize when warranted, take care of your body, feed your mind with healthy input, refuse to be part of a mob, stand in the gap for the weak, learn some manners, don't be a pawn of social media, make the world a better place, and most of all, get your heart right.