Tim Johnson: Yes, there was another school shooting

Tim Johnson • Updated Feb 23, 2018 at 7:00 PM

“It is a gun problem.”

“It is a mental health issue.”

Those two quotes were coming out of the mouths of pundits in one form or another since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida faster than Olympic downhill skiers going down the slopes.

My first visit to a heart doctor was a good one. My heart was in well enough shape the doctor only wanted to see me once a year, but he did give me some instruction. He told me he wanted to know about any changes, “If you currently get winded after going up four flights of stairs, I want to know when you get winded going up three flights of stairs. All is well now, but if there is any change, it is a sign of something going wrong underneath. We cannot see what is wrong with the heart from the surface, but we can see that something is the matter by changes on the outside.”

Mass shootings, at one time, were unheard of in our country; now they happen at an alarming rate. There has been a change. Using the doctor’s analogy of the stairs, let us look at mass shootings. When Columbine happened in April 1999, we could no longer climb four flights of stairs; we became winded at three. Since October, we have had Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas and now Parkland. Since 2009, our nation has seen 12 of the top 20 deadliest shootings in our history. Now, we are winded at a half flight of stairs.

“It is a gun problem.”

“It is a mental health issue.”

Is it?

The invention of the semi-automatic rifle came in 1885, and Sigmund Freud introduced psychotherapy about 100 years ago. Where are the changes the doctor wanted us to notice? Before 1968, a background check to buy a weapon was not required. The care for mental health patients is remarkably better than what it was 50 years ago. There is room for improvement in the areas of gun security and mental health treatment, but the fact remains these areas are better now than they ever have been before.  

If the changes in the area of weapon legislation and treatment of mental health issues have improved, but the situation with mass shootings is getting worse, we can conclude the increase in massacres is not a gun or mental health problem. 

As the doctor said, “We cannot see what is wrong with the heart from the surface, but we can see that something is the matter by changes on the outside.” 

There are changes in our country, changes on the outside that indicate problems on the inside. What other changes have there been besides the mass shootings? The moral breakdown and destruction of the family was the most gradual and yet the most devastating of shifts in our nation. 

The nation’s general opinion of morals has shifted in the last century. Sex outside of marriage has gone on since the beginning of time, but in the past, our country believed it was wrong. When people engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage, a feeling of guilt often followed; people living together were said to be living in sin. Currently, if a couple has not had sex by the fifth date or so, they wonder if the relationship can advance. The guilt of premarital sex has evaporated. The terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are now synonymous with the term, “sex partner.”

Another change is the respect for the Scripture. Not many decades ago, the Bible was considered an authority; today not so much. People do not have respect for authority they do not trust. The credibility of the first chapters of Genesis dissolves in our schools with the teaching of evolution. After a few generations of teaching, humans evolved and therefore were not created; how much of the population can trust the Bible’s words? If the first chapter of the book cannot be trusted, how can it be trusted when it tells us how to act within society?

The worth of life has changed, as well, through the decades. We kill masses through abortion – more than 60 million since Roe v. Wade. Take a look around you. Every person you see could have met death before birth if their mother had chosen to abort. The life they have lived and the life they have yet to live would not have existed. The child in the womb is life, yet as a nation, the most innocent of life is the one least protected; and as the least protected, it is the least valued.

There are changes, and the changes are the symptoms of the broader problem inside.

“It is a gun problem.”

“It is a mental health issue.”

No. It is a spiritual problem.

Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at preacherspoint@gmail.com. Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points may be found at preacherspoint.wordpress.com.


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