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Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School

On Wednesday of last week, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Marjory in Parkland, Florida. 17 people were killed and 15 more hospitalised, making it one of the world's deadliest school massacres. Nikolas Cruz, the teenager arrested as the shooter, is in custody of the Broward County Sheriff's Office, charged with seventeen counts of premeditated murder.

Understandably, there has been outrage, and the usual calls for stricter gun control in the United Staes of America have been made. However, much of this is a "knee-jerk" reaction - one reason why I have waited for a few days before making any comment of my own!

The first thing I would wish to point out is that many of those who are making such calls do not even live (and have never lived) in the USA. This means that they have neither experience, nor understanding, of the culture of that country. Cultural differences are very important. I know that since my wife and I moved to France, we have had to make a number of adjustments because of the cultural differences between Scotland and France.

The second thing I would wish to do is to back almost to the beginning of this millennium - to the event that is remembered simply as "9/11". It was on September 11th, 2001, that four commercial aircraft were hijacked by Muslim terrorists. In one case, the hi-jackers were overcome by passengers and, although all on board perished, the intended target was spared. However, thousands died in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre, and a couple of hundred died in the Pentagon.

I am unaware of anyone then,. or since, calling for a ban on flights! I can understand that. You see, the aircraft were not "responsible" for those many deaths (and don't forget the members of the emergency services who died even as they endeavoured to save the lives of others!) - it was the hi-jackers who were then flying them. Likewise, it was not an assault rifle that was responsible for the horrendous situation in Parkland - it was the mentally disturbed teenager who had managed to acquire it, and was fulfilling a desire that, apparently, he had expressed beforehand. Again, it was fallible people who failed to follow up on those threats!

Of course, every single day, whether in the USA, in the UK, in France, or anywhere else in the world, tens of thousands of lives are callously taken - without a single protest from the majority of people! I refer, of course, to the practice of abortion! Is it not sadly strange that this murderous procedure has become so common that so many simply accept it as being somehow 'inevitable'? I am not suggesting, for one minute, that the end of abortion would automatically bring about the end of terrorist attacks, or massacres in schools. However, I do find it the difference in attitudes to be of more than passing interest.

One final point. Some have asked - as some will always do in times of tragedy - "Why did God not stop this dreadful thing from happening?" I think that the response of Anne Graham-Lotz, daughter of Dr. Billy Graham, to that question after the 9/11 atrocities is as good as one could find. She said, in an interview on "The Morning Show": "I say God is also angry when he sees something like this. I would say also for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their fist at God and said, God, we want you out of our schools, our government, our business, we want you out of our marketplace. And God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life. Removing his hand of blessing and protection. We need to turn to God first of all and say, God, we're sorry we have treated you this way and we invite you now to come into our national life. We put our trust in you. We have our trust in God on our coins, we need to practice it."

Those words can, surely, be equally applied to many other countries in the world today. Nations that were founded, and built, on solid Christian principles, have turned their backs on the Creator. As a family member posted on Facebook: "The problem is not guns! It's hearts without God; homes without discipline; schools without prayer; and courts without justice."

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