Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds a roundtable discussion at the state capital on May 24, 2018 with those impacted by the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting. Drew Anthony Smith/Getty
It all began with an innocent Facebook post and question I posted on my Facebook page:
"I have a question. Since SMU has asked their faculty to ask questions of ethnic minorities they've always wanted to ask but were afraid to, I'm going to play SMU question and answer. My question is this. Why are young white males so angry? All these school shootings? White males. Columbine? Young white males. Sandy Hook? Young white male. The Charleston church massacre? Young white male. Sutherland Springs church massacre? White male. Aurora movie theater? Young white male. Las Vegas? White male. Santa Fe? White male. Parkland? White male. What are white males so angry about that they are committing all these mass murders in schools and churches? Yeah, I'm sure I will hear about Chicago and black-on-black crime. Those are one-on-one urban violence. But as far as I know these mass shootings of innocent church people and school children are angry young white males. And in the case of Las Vegas, just an angry old white man. I'm just asking what many of us talk about privately. What are y'all so angry about? Try being a black male for a minute. And I'm not being funny. But these are the kinds of issues that burn beneath the surface and cause so much outward hostility. I applaud SMU for what they're trying to do. But this is the white elephant (no pun intended) in every school or church massacre that nobody wants to talk about."
I was not prepared for the onslaught of responses. This is PART II of a three-part series.
The comments on my Facebook page are still rolling in.
While some comments are vicious, others are thoughtful and respectful. Nothing makes Americans' blood boil hotter than when conversations turn to issues of race. Particularly black and white because of our shared, nothing-to-be proud of history of slavery, systemic racism and mutual disdain by many on both sides.
When it comes to broaching anything involving race, it makes some uncomfortable, others angry.
But as Christians it shouldn't be this way. But it is. Why? Because the body of Christ for the most part has chosen to do as the world does and try its best to ignore the one issue that continues to deeply divide us.
The fact is while we are quick to call out "radical Islamic terrorists" for bombings and examine to the nth degree violence among young black males, we are less or not at all so inclined to call out the obvious when it comes to mass school and church shootings committed exclusively by young, white, obviously disturbed and angry males. That's the uncomfortable truth.
As a Christ-centered educational and leadership organization rooted in biblical principles, we will not duck the hard issues. As a matter of fact, if the people of God refuse to seek biblical answers, choosing instead to blindly follow those who don't know our Savior and his word, who will?
Jesus left us with the message that we are salt and light.
As Christ followers we should be lighting the way and showing others the way. Yet, far too many of us are in the way.
As an organization we are committed to teaching truth and seeking answers. Even when truth causes our sanctified blood to boil.
Governor Greg Abbott this past week, following a series of meetings with those impacted by the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting, released a 43-page report of proposed recommendations and legislative actions designed to deter future school shootings.
In the report are mentioned the usual - "harden" soft targets such as schools by increasing police and school marshal presence, persuade more school districts to join state programs for arming school staff - to which the Texas State Teachers Association strongly objects; mental health screenings and more ancillary and politically palatable solutions.
But nowhere in the report does it mention the common profile of these mass shooters - male, white, young and in many instances angry. If the perpetrators were say, all Muslim, would that not be a factor to take into consideration?
When it comes to terrorist attacks, we have and do. Even to the point of President Trump's attempts to restrict entry of some immigrants into the United States from predominantly Muslim countries known to be bastions for terrorists and terror groups.
My question as innocent as it was, created a firestorm. Which ultimately may not be a bad thing.
We too are seeking answers and want to help find solutions. We will not shy away from the white elephant (no pun intended) in the room, so clearly evident in these massacres.
We are not pointing fingers, blaming "the white guy for everything" as more than one commentator put it; nor are we putting down an entire race of people. Not anything remotely related to any of this.
I just pointed out the obvious and asked the question, why?
In Part II of this series, Keith Bilbrey offered these thoughts and observations.
By Guest Blogger
I've tried to stay out of this conversation, but feel led/driven to add my 2 cents.
1) We've allowed our country to get away from our moral compass. Whether or not you believe in God, He has been driven out of our schools and society. I cannot allow my 8-year-old to watch prime-time television because of what she will encounter; much less watch anything on cable programming, without me there to censor and change the channel. You can blame music, videos, games, or whatever...our country has NO moral compass.
2) We have raised a generation (or two) of entitled human beings. They do not know what losing is. They have no clue what disappointment is. They are coddled and everyone gets a trophy. Because of this, they don't know how to handle the slightest disappointment.
3) In many cases parents refuse to accept any responsibility for their child's actions or attitudes. The whole "not my child/what did you do to provoke my child" mentality our educators face on a daily basis is unfathomable.
While the above are cross-cultural in nature, the predominant race to claim and have immediate access to such actions are Caucasian, but can be found in all races.
David French, in a May 18, 2018 National Review article entitled,"The Best Explanation for Our Spate of Mass Shootings Is the Least Comforting,” (https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/why-do-mass-shootings-happen-best-explanation) references a study by Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter and Malcolm Gladwell.
French wrote that in 2015 Malcolm Gladwell wrote what French believes is the “best explanation for modern American mass shootings and it’s easily the least comforting. At the risk of oversimplifying a complex argument, essentially he argues that each mass shooting lowers the threshold for the next. He argues, we are in the midst of a slow-motion “riot” of mass shootings, with the Columbine shooting in many ways the key triggering event.”
Gladwell wrote… “But Granovetter thought it was a mistake to focus on the decision-making processes of each rioter in isolation. In his view, a riot was not a collection of individuals, each of whom arrived independently at the decision to break windows. A riot was a social process, in which people did things in reaction to and in combination with those around them. Social processes are driven by our thresholds—which he defined as the number of people who need to be doing some activity before we agree to join them. In the elegant theoretical model Granovetter proposed, riots were started by people with a threshold of zero—instigators willing to throw a rock through a window at the slightest provocation. Then comes the person who will throw a rock if someone else goes first. He has a threshold of one. Next in is the person with the threshold of two. His qualms are overcome when he sees the instigator and the instigator’s accomplice. Next to him is someone with a threshold of three, who would never break windows and loot stores unless there were three people right in front of him who were already doing that—and so on up to the hundredth person, a righteous upstanding citizen who nonetheless could set his beliefs aside and grab a camera from the broken window of the electronics store if everyone around him was grabbing cameras from the electronics store.”
The point being that social media and media coverage have allowed those not at the “riot” to become participants. It has been easier to use Columbine as their triggering event.
I agree. Because of the initial Columbine shooting, those predisposed because of 1, or all 3, of the above listed are more apt to step out and act out.
One of the countries highly touted on gun control issues is Japan.
Until we as a country hold ourselves to a higher standard of morality and sense of right and wrong, the United States can never be judged alongside such a country.
The idea of acting out in such a manner as to discredit and dishonor ones family is unheard of. This is a country where public school children help in cooking lunch for the schools, they clean up the schools, they respect their teachers, their family, their neighbors and their community. They put others' needs ahead of their own. The thought of bringing shame to your family name is enough to keep the majority from acting out and disrespecting themselves or their family.
We must, as a country, decide that we will do better and that we will once again strive to raise responsible children that become responsible adults. We must stop raising a group of entitled brats that cannot handle disappointment.
Now....I'm not a highly educated man, but I have lived long enough to see this from several points of view...I'm tired...but willing to do my part to help.
PART III, next week, what a cross section of Americans had to say on this issue...