On the Florida Shootings: A Christian Teacher’s Thoughts

The nation was stunned earlier this week as news was received of yet another school shooting.  17 lives were taken in Parkland, Florida at the hands of a former student, Nikolas Cruz, who, unlike many school shooters, was taken into custody after the event.  The tragedy has fired up debate on gun control and mental health, and with good reason.  There have been over 230 school shootings nationwide since Sandy Hook in 2012 (nytimes.com).  Clearly something has to be done, a desire which has polarized the nation in the past couple days.



“It’s a sin problem” is a very Christian line.  Usually that line will end a conversation.  You’re in the middle of a heated debate on gun control with a buddy at church when he throws his hands up and exclaims, “Well, none of that changes the fact that it’s a sin problem.”  The only possible follow up to that is a discussion on helping people out of sin because every Christian knows the antidote to sin isn’t legislation but a shift in your moral paradigm.



While it’s true that our thoughts and beliefs drive our actions, as Christians, we have to be careful with throwing around glib catch-all’s as solutions to problems.  You were frustrated at your kids today?  You just need a little more Jesus.  You’re upset about something?  Just give it to Jesus.  What should be done about school shootings?  Pray because it’s a sin issue.  You’re afraid something could happen to your children at school?  God is in control.  Perfect love casts out all fear. 

I don’t disagree with those statements, but if we follow that advice and do nothing else, we’re not simultaneously utilizing the brains the good Lord gave us.



For example, during my time as a teacher at a Christian school, there were years where the school didn’t have a plan for what to do in the event of a shooting.  Of course we imagine that a Christian school is less likely to be the recipient of such a tragedy, but I never believed that.  In fact, I always saw it as adding an extra target on my back.  Emotions run high when religion is involved.  There are people who hate us by virtue of being Christian.  There are people who have felt slighted in dealings with the school, and the entity itself comes under attack.  So when it came to my safety and my students’ safety, “God is in control” and “we don’t have to fear” wasn’t enough because ideology isn’t enough to physically protect my students.  It may be statistically unlikely, but it was still a fact that if someone came in with the intent to kill, people would die.  Children would die.  We were sitting ducks without any way to protect ourselves.  And while I didn’t fear death, I did fear not being able to save my students.



Let’s make our schools more secure.  Bring in the metal detectors.  Hire armed guards to have a presence at our schools.  Design new school buildings with security in mind.  Go through frequent, simulated lock down procedures to the point where teachers and students alike can go through the motions without even thinking.  Hear students when there are signs of unusual behavior.  Provide access to mental health counseling.  Listen to teachers on what would make them feel safer, and communicate safety concerns with all staff.



Please go ahead and work on the root of the issue.  Debate it, research it, educate, and bring in your expertise.  But in the meantime, let’s not watch the world burn because “it’s a sin issue” and we can’t do anything to change the fact that we live in a fallen world.  Right now, we have to address some of the symptoms.  We can’t just acknowledge the cause and sit out from any discussion on addressing what we’re seeing happen in our schools.  Even Band-Aids are going to stop some bleeding.








  One thought on “On the Florida Shootings: A Christian Teacher’s Thoughts

  1. February 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    I’ve realized more and more that “sin problems” are more like cop outs than reality checks. Everything in this world is a sin problem but we treat special “sin problems” with a certain indignation that cripples us. We have power and privilege in Jesus’ name. We should use it to overcome sin as it already has in heaven!

    • February 17, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Yes! And amen to the power we actually possess in Jesus!

  2. February 19, 2018 at 7:54 am

    It’s been tough for us here in South Florida. I live not too far from Parkland and it was a shocker since we’re considered to be one of the safest towns. Now, that’s been taken away from us.

    • February 19, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      It’s scary when it hits close to home. It definitely rattles you when the school was believed to be very safe.

  3. Shannon
    February 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Just something for thought, Switzerland enjoys the lowest crime rate in the modern world. Everyone owns a gun.
    In Japan, their culture runs on respect. Courtesy is common. When everyone’s right to life is respected there is a drop in tragic crimes.

  4. February 19, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    “Even bandaids will stop some bleeding” – I LOVE this statement. It’s a simple reminder that you should just do nothing, even if you don’t have a solution to the entire problem RIGHT NOW.

    Kelsey | Raising Little Wild Ones

  5. February 19, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    It was very interesting to see your perspective and I completely agree! I went to a Christian school, but had an opposite effect. For whatever reason, we received a fair amount of death threats, etc, and we have “hostile” drills from first grade onward. In fact, while I attended that school we had to go into lockdown because a hostile person had entered the building. We always has police or security guards and at least once a year had a lock-down drill. While I trust in God for my safety, I believe that we should take every practical precaution.

    • February 19, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      Wow, I’m sorry that you’ve experienced hostility at a Christian school. I love your last line, “While I trust God for my safety, I believe that we should take every practical precaution.” Yes!

  6. February 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Love your perspective on this!!

  7. February 21, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    As a Christian, you have an interesting viewpoint on this topic. You mention that many Christians like to use the phrase “It’s a sin problem” when talking about the recent school shooting and gun control. This is kind of used as a blanket statement to avoid talking about the real issues. The fact of the matter is that not everyone is a Christian who cares about avoiding sin and pleasing God. Although that might be part of the root of the problem, how do we talk to non-Christians about the issue of gun control? If they are not living for God, what ways can we share our viewpoints that are practical and make sense to them?

    • February 21, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I don’t think the approach in talking about gun control changes depending on a person’s faith background. Everyone is on the same page that we want mass shootings to stop, and that’s enough common ground to be able to delve into the topic. I’ve talked with people from both sides of the debate, Christian and non-Christian, and my two cents is always the same. Change in law regarding gun control is a fine topic to discuss, but it’s years out in becoming an actionable plan (whether you agree with it or not). In the meantime, we have to tackle the more immediate concern of making schools safer.

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