By: Frank L. Hoffman
The Rev. Michael Shaw wrote us about an incident that took place in a London, Ontario, Canada school on 17 June 1998, which plainly points out where much of the gun violence among our youth begins. He wrote, in part:
Something very distressing occurred today regarding my family and myself.
I picked up my 12 year old daughter, Erika, from school today, to find out that a boy in her school saw me on the news protesting the animal acts in a circus.
He went up to Erika and told her that he thinks I should be shot in the head, and that she should be shot in the head, and that all animal rights people should be shot in the head.
The boy also said, that his dad said that I should be shot in the head. Then the boy said, that his father told him, that if he ever grew up and became an animal rights person, that he should get a gun and shoot himself.
I have heard many a gun advocate say, "Guns don't kill; people kill." Yet here is the perfect connection between teaching our children to both use guns, and to use them to kill, not just animals, but humans, too. Once children begin to lose their sensitivity and respect for the life of any of God's creatures, it is easy to have them lose their sensitivity and respect for all life. To me, it seems quite obvious that the father of this boy is so "hard of heart" that he no longer has any respect for any other being's life, not even the life of his own son. This father wants his son to grow up in his own "hard of heart" image. He so fears another person with a soft heart, that he would rather see his own son kill himself rather than have him develop a soft heart filled with love and compassion for all of God's creation.
When this incident was reported to the police, the police wanted to know if they feared a 12-year old. How easily some people forget the killings committed by children just this age. How do we know what could trigger such a youth to actually pick up a gun and begin to kill? The problem is that we simply don't know.
Until we, as a society, are willing to acknowledge how we have sanitized violence, and are willing to stop the trend, we will continue to have more and more violence exhibited by our children. It's bad enough that we've been shooting ourselves in the foot. Now comes along this man who wants us to shoot ourselves in the head, too!