I know a man who was living in a neighborhood when a salesman came door to door selling home security systems. He told the salesman he already had one. “What’s your security system?” he asked. The man replied, “God and a loaded gun.”
It wasn’t a matter of either/or but both/and. I suggest we have mass school shootings because we don’t have enough God on our campuses and we don’t have enough guns.
When tragic school shootings happen, like the one in Florida, everyone sends their “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the victims. But why don’t we pray before these shootings happen instead of waiting until somebody’s dead? Everyone understands that prayer in school is appropriate in the wake of a tragedy like this. But if it’s appropriate after, there’s no reason it’s not appropriate before.
Contrary to what the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and activist judges believe, there is absolutely NO constitutional prohibition against prayer in schools. Schools routinely incorporated prayer into their school days from the Founding until 1963, when activist judges mangled the Constitution and mysteriously materialized a prohibition out of the judicial ether, a prohibition that had remained completely undetected since 1791 when the Bill of Rights was first enacted.
The First Amendment only restricts the federal government: “CONGRESS shall make no law…” The First Amendment was never intended by the Founders to serve as a restraint on states or schools. In fact, the federal government is prohibited by the Founders’ Constitution from messing with prayer at all. The central government and all three of its branches – including the judiciary -is flatly forbidden from “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion in any way. So if a federal court – even the Supreme one – bans religious exercise in public schools, it is prohibiting something the Constitution protects, which means it is the COURT which is violating the Constitution, and not the schools.
In fact, properly speaking, it is impossible for a school, or an administrator, or a teacher, or a student to violate the First Amendment by offering public prayer on campus, for the simple reason that it was not written to restrain them. The Founders intended to leave all matters of religious regulation in the hands of the states.
As Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, wrote (emphasis mine), “Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions.” Bottom line, according to the Founders’ Constitution, if a state wants to allow prayer in schools, it is absolutely free to do so. It is time for state governments to start reclaiming that constitutional right whether a federal court likes it or not since federal courts have no jurisdiction in the matter.
We have spent the last 60 years telling God to get lost from our public schools. It should come as no surprise that he’s not around when we need him.
It’s instructive to compare the number of school shootings prior to 1963 when prayer was permitted in schools and the number after when it wasn’t. According to Wikipedia, the number of school shootings by decade from 1900 until 1970 looks like this: 15, 19, 10, 9, 8, 17 (in the 1960s).
The increase by decade after prayer was removed from schools is almost geometric: 30 (in the 1970s), 39, 62, 60, and 145 (from 2010 to 2018, with the number growing virtually by the month).
The number of deaths from school shootings follows a similarly grisly progression. In the six decades prior to the removal of prayer from schools (1900-1960), there were 62 deaths from school shootings, an average of just over 10 per year. In the six decades since (1960-2017) the number has ratcheted up astronomically to 419 (from 28 in the 1960s to 124 so far in this decade), an average of just under 70 per year.
It has always been a matter of obvious and demonstrable fact that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all in these school shootings is that when a shooter comes on campus, there is rarely anyone – a teacher or an administrator – who is armed and able to stop him.
Armed school resource officers are simply not enough. There were two of them present on the Florida campus, but the shooter easily evaded them. Who knows how many adults were in a position to stop the shooter but, unarmed, couldn’t do anything but throw their own bodies over students to protect them, as one of the football coaches heroically did in Parkland.
The 2nd Amendment quite conspicuously protects the “right of the PEOPLE” (not just the military or law enforcement) “to keep and bear arms.” It’s there for self-defense, and for the protection of vulnerable people who look to us for protection – our families and our students.
Eighteen states now allow concealed carry on their college campuses or in cars in their parking lots, and an organization called Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) is now training teachers and administrators how to carry safely on high school campuses. According to FASTER, there are a total of 23,000 schools – nearly a third of all public schools – who have armed security on staff. May their tribe rapidly increase.
I remember hearing a story about a guy who was sitting on the roof of his house as the flood waters rose. A neighbor in a motorboat came by and asked him if wanted a ride. He said, “No, I’m trusting in God to save me.” Then a Coast Guard helicopter came by and asked if he wanted them to carry him to safety. “No,” he said, “I’m trusting in God to save me.” Shortly after that, a police boat came by and asked him if he wanted to jump in. He said, “No, I’m trusting in God to save me.”
Well, about that time the flood waters reached the roof and he drowned. When he reached heaven, he complained to God, “I trusted you to save me and you didn’t do it.” God’s reply: “What do you mean I didn’t save you? I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”
We can’t very well blame God for not coming to our aid if we fail to use the tools (prayer and the Second Amendment) He has graciously given to us.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.