Tag Archives: God

Our Children

We had another school shooting on Friday. In case you have not heard yet, this one in Seattle, Washington at the Marysville-Pichuck High School. I did something very stupid Friday afternoon; I read the comments on the article. They were the usual comments. If we put God back in schools or outlaw all guns in the United States this would not be happening. There was a smaller contingent of people who were blaming this on bullying.

First, when these comments were being put up all we knew was two students were dead. One was a suicide by the suspected gunman and the other a student eating lunch in the school cafeteria. We did not know the suspects motivation nor did we know how he acquired his gun.

I am going to make a different proposition to you.

We need to get our moral compass back. I am not saying we need to bring Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism or any other religion into our schools. You can be a Buddhist, Shintoist, Atheist, or anything else for that matter, but you still believe murder is wrong. I do not care where your moral compass comes from, we all have one. Part of that moral compass is to respect other people and to respect yourself.

Even if we outlaw guns, they will still be on our streets. Suspend all the kids from school you want, there will still be bullies. There have always been bullies, there always will be bullies. I am not defending bullies and I have the most profound respect for people who work to rid our schools of bullies. But the best they will ever do is to reduce the number of bullies. Bullies will never be eliminated.

Guns. It is already illegal to murder someone. In many states the penalty for murder is execution by the state. Do you really think adding 20 years to that person’s sentence for possession of a firearm will stop them? Gun laws work if people obey the law. A law-abiding gun owner will turn in his weapon when guns are made illegal.

By definition a criminal is someone who breaks the law. It is already illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm in all 50 states. Has that stopped criminals from committing crimes with firearms? Unfortunately not.

Bringing God back into the schools?

Ok, which God? Do you want to bring Buddhism, Shintoism, Islam, Christianity, or one of the many religions that make up paganism into the schools? Take your pick, it does not matter which god you bring into the school, you will never get 100% of the people to believe in that god.

But, everyone believes murder is wrong. Some people even believe justifiable homicide is wrong (when a citizen or law enforcement officer is found, by a grand jury or court, to have been justified in taking the life of another). We all believe it is wrong to bully someone. We all believe it is wrong to steal. We all believe (those who are not fanatical about their beliefs) that it is wrong to force your beliefs on other people.

Schools are now expelling kids from school for drawing pictures of guns. Is that going to stop gun violence?

We keep passing more rules, more laws; and they do nothing to curb the violence.

This latest suspect had to have been in extreme emotional pain to commit the acts he is alleged to have committed, including suicide. If you throw a high school senior (who is already accepted at a major art university) out of school for doing a portrait of a soldier which included a gun in the portrait – how is that going to relieve the emotional pain this latest suspect was feeling. And, what about the thousands of other kids in schools in this country who are feeling the same or even more emotional pain.

The disease is not the act this young man did. What this young man did is a symptom of the pain he was feeling.

Do you want to stop school shootings? Treat that pain. We all want to protect our kids from everything bad and painful, but that is impossible. What we can do is to teach them how to respond to people who are bullying them.

From time to time I see an article about a kid who stands up to the kids bullying them. A kid who embraces those things they are made fun of for. It empowers them and makes them feel better about themselves. Even more than that, after they see how it disarms the bullies they feel even better about themselves. These kids who stand up to the bullies are always kids who decided to do that on their own, or were encourage by a family member or neighbor to stand up to the bully.

Are we teaching kids this in our schools? No. We are suspending and expelling kids from school for drawing pictures of guns and for bullying. Are we teaching kids that not everyone will like them, AND that it is ok if everyone does not like them? No.

Morality people, morality.

Not religion, not gun laws, not school expulsions, it is morality that will end school shootings. While our society and governments are busy pointing out everyone’s diversity, we need to embrace those things we have in common; and we need to teach them to our children.

We all believe:

1-It is wrong to murder       .

2-It is wrong to steal.

3-It is wrong to attack people who believe differently than you do, just because they believe differently than you do.

4-It is wrong to attack people who look or dress differently than you do, just because they look or dress differently than you do.

5-It is wrong to cheat.

6-It is wrong to lie.

7-It is wrong to be mean to someone.

8-It is good to help those who need your help.

9-It is good to clean up after yourself.

10-It is good to respect yourself.

11-It is good to respect others.

12-It is good to say “thank you” and “please.”

13-It is good to ignore people who attempt to bully you.

14-It is good to honor other people.

Even those who do not deserve to be honored, you honor them, not because they deserve it, but because YOU are a person who deserves to be honored and you honor yourself when you honor others.

That is my solution to the problem. I am doing what I can to teach my young daughter this. Of course this is a free country. You can continue to scream for more gun control, you can scream for more religion. But, this is my advance notice. The next time we have a school shooting I am going to point my finger at YOU.

I will point my finger at the extreme religious right, because you would rather use the deaths of innocent children to advance your agenda, than to stop the madness.

I will point my finger at the gun control advocates. Because you push gun control as a cure-all, even though you know that in countries where guns are illegal they still have gun violence. But, you would rather use the deaths of innocent children to advance your political agenda, than to stop the madness.

When a person aims a gun at a child and pulls the trigger, they do not ask if they or their parents are: religious or atheist, republican or democrat, liberal or conservative, for or against gun control. They are merely killing people, and often they are trying to kill as many people as they can, before they die.

You go ahead and push your agenda, but while you are busy trying to “win” your political or religious argument; that next child killed may be one you know, or worse yet, your own child.

Me – I want to make sure kids know there are people who can help them with their pain. I want them to know that there are peers of theirs that will help them with their pain. I want them to learn how to deal with their own pain, and to share that knowledge with their peers. I believe that is the way to stop the violence in our schools.

It is over used, but this is an epidemic. If we want to stop school violence we have to help these kids – OUR kids, learn out to deal with their pain in a positive way. We need to teach children, all children, morality. We do not need to teach them religion that should be left to their family. We need to take those 14 points I listed above and add to it those moral beliefs we all share and teach that to our children. Then, after we stop this madness, then you can go back to bashing each other for your stances on religions and guns. I do not want another parent to know the pain of having to bury a child. I know that pain.

There will always be tomorrow to argue political and religious agendas. But, for some kid, somewhere in the United States, tomorrow will be too late to teach them how to deal with their pain. And it will also be too late for the other children that kid will murder.


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We Pre-empt Your Normally Scheduled Article ( The Ugly, The Beautiful, & The Barrier) …

This week was going to be the last in my rigid airship series. However, last week while on my private Facebook page (I guess I should say personal as nothing on FB is private) a friend of mine sent a “personal” message asking why “so-and-so” was one of my friends. Though most of my facebook friends are veterans, writers, or people I went to school with, they are as different from one another as night and day. And I value each and everyone of them. I started to send my friend an answer, not my first on this subject. The answer became statement of my view on the world. I have decided to share it with you. As always, I do not discuss religion, politics, or money (my grandfather always said it was in poor taste to discuss these things in front of company), but I do mention my own personal beliefs towards the end. If you agree with me … fine, if you don’t … fine. Our friendship is not dependent on our personal beliefs of the after life. I accept you as you are and only ask that you accept me as I am. I hope you find something useful below, but if nothing else you will understand who I am a little better.

The Ugly, the Beautiful & the Barrier

There are really only three types of people in the world; you are the ugly, the beautiful or the barrier. The barrier stands between the ugly and the beautiful, protecting the beautiful from the ugly. The beautiful spread hope by showing others that hope, beauty, joy and love reside within us all and that no person is an exception. The ugly destroys hope, exalts surface beauty over inner beauty, suppresses joy and spreads hate not love.

There are sub-types of beauty and barrier too. They are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The first two believe that one day the ugly will be defeated and then all will be beauty. Then one day they realize that ugly will not be totally defeated and they become embittered and disillusioned. They decide that the ugly could be defeated if we just forced people to do what they should do.

The Embittered barrier turns on the beauty at first and then on the barrier that does not support change by coercion. The Embittered beauty turns on the barrier at first and then on the beauty that does not support change by coercion. Both stop blaming the ugly for all the ugliness in the world and instead blame the barrier and the beauty.

Another sub-type of barrier and beauty are those who realize that ugly has always existed and always will, but they are content to help just one person on this one day. Today they will help just one, and that will be enough for today. The war will never end, but today will be victory for one person. Today a person who is in despair, cold, hungry, or sick; someone who can longer see the light will once again feel hope within their breast, love will caress their soul, joy will light their path and once again they will see the beauty that surrounds us all. These two realize you cannot force an outcome. They realize that when you try to force people to do something, they will do the opposite. Can you force someone to be happy or to love you? Of course not, but the embittered and disillusioned will not be deterred.

There are no sub-types of ugly, but ugly is very good at getting the disillusioned and embittered among the beautiful and the barrier to do their work for them. The ugly takes great joy from this.

The second sub-type of the barrier willing sacrifices themselves in the path of the ugly to protect the beauty, both literally and figuratively. It is written, “No greater love has a man than he lay down his life for another.” This sacrifice is not without its price and leaves both seen and unseen scars on those of the barrier. The pain of these scars are with those of the barrier always and rob them of the beauty, joy and love they once had. But not the hope, their hope is that their sacrifice will protect the beauty from the ugly. They mourn the loss of those who sacrificed themselves before, and this is the most painful scar of all. These are the people I respect, these are people I honor, these are the people who are my heroes.

The second type of the beauty are often undervalued and underrated by the rest of us. People see the joy and love that burst forth from them, as if from a wellspring, and think “it is easy for them to be happy they know nothing of pain.” But, the beauty are the most scarred of us all. They remember the pain, but they do not carry it like an albatross around their necks. They change the things they can change and accept the things they cannot. Fortunately, for us they have the wisdom to know the difference. They have not forgotten the pain, but they do not dwell in a past that cannot be changed. They focus on today; this focus is what allows them to spread beauty to us all, if we will only let them. We have to let them, for they will not attempt to force beauty on us. The beautiful know that by attempting to force beauty on others they will only spread ugly. Often these are the people we see as the weakest and most naive among us, but they are the strongest and wisest among us. Of all the types and sub-types they are the most rare.

I was raised in the Southern Baptist church and taught on a regular basis, “money is the root of all evil.” Money is not the root of all evil. Let me say that again, “money is not the root of all evil.” The lust for power is the root of all evil. The ugly use money to increase their own power for their own gratification. But the ugly do not need money to exert power over others. Have you ever seen the face of a man, woman, or child who is under the power of the ugly? The ugly constantly berates them, “You are worthless, you are so lucky to have me because no one else would ever love you!” The ugly constantly berate them with this because it is the only way their victims will believe the lie. This lie is the tool the ugly wields over the victim, the tool that controls the victim and robs them of everything that is precious in life.  The victims fear the ugly. This fear is the goal of the ugly because it gives them their power over their victims. What the ugly do not know is that eventually fear exhausts the fearful to the point of apathy towards the tormentor.

Hate consumes all around it and eventually even consumes the hater as well. Love grows to encompass all with its light and joy, the more we embrace it the more light and joy grow and expand. The embittered and disillusioned barrier and beauty are not lost. They can return to where they once were. But, it has to be a decision each one makes on his or her own, this decision cannot be forced by others.

I do believe in a God. I do believe in life after death. I do not concern myself with the ugly, I leave those to God. I do believe the barrier and the beauty are doing the work God has set before them, they work on His account. I also believe:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God

Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

These are the gifts God has for the beauty and the barrier. They are His gifts to give; we cannot take these gifts or force them for ourselves or others.

Love will triumph over hate. Eventually, the war will end and ugly will lose. All of their power will not save them, they will lose and they do not even know it.

Each of us has our own belief system. A truth, if you will, that we have arrived at for ourselves. A truth that has been revealed to us by our experiences over the course of our lives. As our life continues we modify it, but it is our own truth. This is my truth. I do not know the journey you must travel, discard or accept (in whole or part) any part of this as it suites your needs, but this is my truth.

May you always know peace, joy and love.

P.S. Next week will be the last of my airship articles for the summer … I promise. Then the following week I’ll introduce you to a remarkable man, a man responsible for my view of history and the reason behind my style of historical research and writing.

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Sunday’s Father’s Day Article

Girl carrying her father's lunch pail, Omaha 1...

Girl carrying her father’s lunch pail, Omaha 10439u (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Sunday’s article is about a Father’s Day I will never forget and almost missed. So often in life we pass through the great moments and never realize the significance until much later. But occasionally, we are fortunate to realize the importance of that moment in time and space as we are standing in it. My article this Sunday is about just such a moment.

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