The increasingly common American tragedy, a school shooting, came to northern Nevada Monday. A 12-year old boy took a gun to his school that morning, and injured two other students and killed a math teacher before taking his own life.
Reno newscasts are not giving the name of the shooter or any possible motive, so I do not know any more about this than others not directly affected. But when the perpetrator is only 12, I have to think the incident was a cry for help. Was there a problem at home, a bullying problem at school, a mental health issue? Violent video games are always suspect in these shootings, but reports on how this went down do not sound like other shootings where games were found to dominate the disturbed shooters’ free time.
American society has failed our children. No child should feel so helpless that they commit suicide. Students should not have to go through code-red drills and the fear that the drills put in their minds.
Members of the National Education Association whine every session of the Nevada Legislature that they cannot teach adequately without more money for education. Some years this funding makes it difficult for the state to properly fund other state services. Meanwhile, many county school districts cannot afford a school nurse for each school. When nurses divide their time between numerous schools, they cannot get to know the students and students’ needs.
School “health” education teaches kids how to use a condom, but does not sincerely help students understand the wide range of emotions caused by their changing hormones. Anti-bullying programs are multiplying across the US, yet bullying is becoming more common and more vicious.
Parents are somewhat to blame, but often societal trends guide their actions. In many families both parents must work to pay the bills. Unfortunately, the bills often include large screen TVs, the latest electronic gadgets (does each family member really need a smart phone or tablet?) and restaurant meals (because no one is home to cook). As retailers try to gain an edge over competitors, they make family situations worse by keeping stores open more hours, forcing employees to work during hours when children are home from school. Macy‘s announced last week that for the first time thy would open on Thanksgiving Day. I applaud the owners of Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A and RC Willey, who close their stores on Sundays, allowing employees time to be with their families.
There seem to be many factors at work here, so solutions will have to be muftifaceted. That complexity will make it hard to measure results from any attempts at change, or it may cause people to give up in frustration. I certainly do not have any answers. I hope people who understand these social issues better than I do can make serious, determined efforts to solve the problems that cause our children to kill others and themselves. Every individual child is worth the effort. And we must remember that the future of our country will be determined by what is done now to help those who will be the future leaders, entrepreneurs, parents and teachers.
The teacher who died at Sparks Middle School was Michael Landsberry. He was a member of the Nevada National Guard. He survived a tour of duty in Afghanistan, but was killed in a place where we never expect violence. Reports are that he tried to talk the shooter into surrendering his gun. That interchange cost him his life, but likely saved others. I pray that brings comfort to his grieving family.
” Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13