Why the School Shootings?

[This article was written by Tim Haile.]

Our nation has once again been shocked by another tragic school shooting. On April 16, 2007, Cho Seung-hui killed 32 people and injured 17 more at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Sadly, these shootings have occurred frequently enough over the past 15 years that we tend to forget just how many of them have taken place. It hasn’t been that many years ago that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 and injured 24 in Littleton, CO (Columbine High School, 1999). Along with these school killings, many other gang related murders occur at the hands of youths. It is not my purpose in this brief article to document the dozens of such shootings that have occurred, but rather to shed some light on why they are occurring, and why they are occurring with such increased frequency.

1. Young People Lack a Moral Compass – Too many young people are being raised with absolutely no objective ethical and moral standard. Their only standard of morality is themselves. Israel of old once drifted into such a condition. The last words of the book of Judges are as follows, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). This mindset of doing what is right in one’s own eyes exists today among many in the younger generations. There was a time when young people were taught the Bible. Others were at least indirectly influenced by the Bible. They had a biblical world view. Being conscious of God’s existence, they had God’s perspective on the sanctity of human life. They respected life. Sadly (and tragically), this condition has changed. Too many young people are being left to themselves, spiritually and morally. Like the Gentiles of Paul’s description, they have become “a law unto themselves.” As such, they are “heartless, ruthless and full of murder,” among other things (Romans 1:29-31). Paul also described them as being “disobedient to parents.” This connection is interesting in light of the fact that some of the most notorious of these young killers are on record as hating their parents. The only way to prevent these massacres is to change the way people think. They must be raised with a consciousness of God, and with an understanding of right and wrong. They need to be taught self-respect and respect for their fellow man. Jesus tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). One’s capacity to love his neighbor is directly linked to his ability to love himself. Incidentally, this explains the new phenomenon of murder/suicides. Those who see themselves as being of such low value (soulless and animalistic) will also see others the same way. They kill others, then turn the gun on themselves. They don’t care whether they live or die, and this allows them to commit mass murder with a clean conscience. People who have never been taught that they are creatures in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27) will never respect themselves, nor others.

2. Humanism – Too many of today’s youths are being influenced by the philosophy of humanism. Humanism is a system of thought that exalts man as the highest moral authority. It rejects everything that is supernatural or divine, which eliminates the Bible as a rule. Under this system, morality is determined on the basis of what man believes is good and right for himself. Humanism is the religion of atheists, and worsening the matter, evolution is one of this religion’s major tenets. The steady dose of evolutionary theory that is taught by our culture and schools has negatively affected our youth. They are raised with the notion that they are mere animals. Naturally, they then behave as animals. They emulate what they witness in the animal kingdom. The model of the animal kingdom is the survival of the fittest and strongest. Humans who are brainwashed with evolutionary thought will view it as natural and right for them to exert their power and influence over others. This ranges in degree from simply taking social or financial advantage of others, to the extreme of taking their lives. A society dominated by such people is a very dangerous society.

3. Abortion – The cultural and legal acceptance of the barbaric practice of abortion has contributed to the problem of youth violence. It is argued that an unborn human is a mere mass of soulless “fetal tissue,” which is worth so little that it may be rightly destroyed upon a mother’s whim. This view is consistent with the general humanistic view that man is a mere animal. Technology is such that very clear images can be produced of unborn babies. Unborn babies look like born babies. Visually, there is no difference between the two, particularly between born babies and late-term unborn babies. Those whose view of life has been affected by humanism see no difference between killing the unborn, and killing the born! (And quite frankly, I see no difference either.) The only difference is that some governments (wrongly) authorize the killing of the unborn and not of the born. God views the life of both as precious. Young minds that are indoctrinated with this humanistic philosophy will have no conscientious objection to acting out what is done every day in abortion clinics throughout the world – the killing of the innocent. Absent any offsetting influences, and barring any outside prevention and intervention, those guided by humanistic principles are a danger to themselves and to others.


What can be done? Youths must be taught the sanctity and value of human life. Bible believers are at a tremendous advantage in being able to deter youth violence. The Bible tells us to bring up our children “in the training and discipline of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Those who respect the Bible have a wealth of information that will help them in producing children who respect themselves and others. Obviously, carnal and worldly-minded parents are ill equipped to produce spiritually-minded children, so others must do what they can to help. I attended school at a time when the Bible was read, and a prayer was offered every day. Incidentally, though kids still did occasional wrong, no one brought his dad’s deer rifle to school and murdered his fellow students or his teachers! Since God and His laws have been legislated out of our public school system, we must take up the slack somewhere else. We must teach young people the difference between right and wrong, and we must teach them to respect their fellow man. We must also cultivate a culture that punishes evil and encourages right conduct (Romans 13:1-4). The first line of defense is the home. Parents must teach their children to respect authority. This requires the disciplining of unruly children. Everyone must do what he can to stem this tide of godlessness, or this problem will grow worse and worse.

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