In the Wake of the Douglas High Massacre, Some Parents Ponder Homeschooling

(Miami Herald) The images of young people crying in terror, filing out with their arms held high.

In the wake of Wednesday’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a lot of parents are wondering if homeschooling might be a safer option for their children.

On Thursday, Twitter was filled with comments from terrified parents who were scared to send their kids back to school.

As defined by Florida law, home education is the “sequentially progressive instruction” of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian in order to satisfy Florida’s compulsory education requirements. Florida Statute (FS) 1002.41 breaks down the responsibilities of those who decide to take on this task.

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  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Christians have a theological view of the world that is given us by the Holy Scriptures. Our epistemology, that is what we believe is true and why, is predicated upon our conviction that the 66 books known as the ‘Holy Bible’ is inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and true. In the overarching worldview through which we see history, current events, and the world at large, Christians have room to accommodate the notion of evil. In fact, a primary doctrine of Christian theology for thousands of years has been the core belief that man is essentially bad. Mankind is a race of fallen creatures, suffering from the disease of wickedness which we have inherited from Adam. This negative anthropology is as much the heart of our religion as the solution to such a problem, who is Jesus. If we weren’t inherently bad, we wouldn’t need a Savior who is inherently good, who could reach into time and space and give us new natures that aren’t depraved.

    Paul wrote it best in Romans 3, in which he painted an abysmal picture of the heart of man:

    None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.

    This view of mankind as essentially evil is in stark contrast to the collective wisdom of our modern age, which holds to John Locke’s tabula rasa theorem that man is born with a blank slate. Locke’s hypothesis was a departure from classical Christian thought that man is born evil. It is peculiar, then, that the American Founding Fathers considered so heavily the work of Locke when designing our system of governance, which is contrastingly formed upon the Christian notion that people are naturally evil.

    The Federalist Papers 51 addressed the topic of human depravity in relation to government head-on, and the famous quotation is most often attributed to James Madison:

    The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

    Human nature, according to the Federalists, was inherently wicked. Because mankind does not consist of angels, it must have government. Because government is comprised of men, government must be limited, because even the governors are wicked. Therefore, the Founders saw fit to install a form of government in which the wickedness of man is checked and balanced at all levels, both for the governed and for the governors.

    However, 21st Century American society has largely abandoned the negative Christian anthropology and adopted an indomitably positive anthropology that believes men – in general – are innately good. So then, when tragedies happen like what occurred this week at a Parkland, Florida public school, Christians and secularists have startlingly different perspectives on the problem and thus, the solution. Secularists have no theological framework to accommodate for the notion of evil. Postmodern in philosophy, secularists don’t believe in an absolute truth, and without absolute truth, there’s no such thing as immutable morality. With postmodern philosophy, what is “right” and “wrong” becomes little more than subjective opinion. Likewise, secularists have no theological framework to accommodate for evil because they are evolutionist in their biology. If there is no God, there is no Law Giver, and if there is no Law Giver, there is no law. And if there is no Law, there is no “evil,” in any real or meaningful sense. Therefore, both philosophically and biologically, secularists have to find different reasons for mass murder besides sheer wickedness. Christians, much more easily, call such behavior “wickedness, sin, depravity, or evil.”

    For secularists, there must be some reason why this gunman murdered 17 innocent people other than that he is evil. Facts that have surfaced which lead one to believe the shooter was paranormally influenced by Satan, such as the Daily Mail reporting he heard the voices of demons or that he cut himself and banged his head against the wall, are dismissed by secularists as nothing but mental illness. Testimonies from classmates that he was “dark,” “evil,” or “demonic” are quickly overlooked as synonyms for “crazy.” And while the use of prescribed psychotropic drugs is a clear common denominator among almost all mass shooters – including this one – our secular society assumes that such prescriptions are the source of the problem and not a mere symptom of it.

    For other secularists, the problem isn’t only mental illness but it is a crime-investigation system that is dysfunctional. The FBI was warned that he publicly stated on YouTube that he was going to be a school shooter, and they didn’t forward the concern on to the local field office that could investigate further. His Instagram account was a vocal cry for help. He conducted training exercises with a supposed White Nationalist group. He bragged about hurting animals. He had taken ammunition and other contraband to school. He wasn’t even allowed to school with a backpack because of the obviousness of his threats. He was abusive to his girlfriend. He was expelled for fighting. He was a “Peeping Tom,” a stalker, and stopped his mental health treatment. He has a sibling who has suffered from mental illness. If someone could compile a list of warning signs, the gunman’s page would set a record for “should have seen this coming.” In fact, his classmates are on record as vocally supposing it was him even during the shooting. For anyone paying attention to the failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they might include “law enforcement incompetency” as another reason why this tragedy occurred.

    For even more secularists, the problem is the easy access to firearms. Like so many other mass shooters, this gunman chose as his weapon the most widely-owned rifle in America, the AR-15. It is a black, scary, and ominous looking rifle. For many, it doesn’t matter that this rifle has the same functionality as any semi-automatic rifle that is commonplace in more than forty million homes. It doesn’t matter, to many, that this carbine has no better functionality to kill than most hunting rifles. To those secularists, the problem isn’t that the gunman was evil; it’s that the gun itself was evil. Oddly enough, even a secular society can see evil within inanimate objects, even though they aren’t capable of seeing evil within the hearts of men. This is because for secularists, there really is no “heart” at all in an evolutionary view of humanity; there is only the brain, and that brain isn’t evil (because evil requires a good, and good is subjective), but it must be mentally ill. So then, Parkland Florida students and certain members of the community are shouting “shame on you” to legislators for not doing more to curb Second Amendment freedoms because to them, it’s the guns that are the problem.

    However, for Christians, we recognize that sometimes the problems in someone’s head are nothing but an extension of the problems in someone’s heart. We recognize that some people are wicked, and they don’t shoot up innocent people because they’re driven to by madness, but by sheer hatred. More often than not, these mass murderers commit their crimes with cold calculation and forethought in a way that a truly mentally ill person is incapable. Their minds are functioning at high capacity; it is their soul that is ill.

    Likewise, Christians recognize that if one evil man is a danger, then a hundred wicked men are even worse. We recognize that a society without a means to protect itself from a government that is more wicked than this mass murderer, it will lead to only more carnage but on a much more massive scale. We recognize that the words of Madison are still true, that it’s because of the evil of human nature that the Citizenry must always be prepared to curtail the power of a government that is comprised of men, who from time to time are capable of extreme wickedness. We, as Christians, are not blind to world history, in which an unarmed Citizenry has been murdered far more efficiently and methodically than this gunman could ever have imagined. This man’s offense pales in comparison to that of Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Pasha, Kim Il Sung, Ho Chi Minh, Yahya Kahn and those mass murders conducted by countless warlords and despots even today, in smaller numbers and more easily overlooked because of their unfortunate impertinence to American life, but far more orderly and successful than any school shooting in the United States. We believe that evil on a small scale should not overshadow the possibility of evil on a large scale, perhaps even conducted by a legally constituted government.

    It is the negative Christian anthropology that allows us to blame certain actions upon the not-overly-simplistic reality of evil that makes us unwilling to give up our only earthly defense against it, which is the use of force. Because we recognize that there will always be wolves, we refuse to turn ourselves into unarmed sheep. For the secularist who believes ultimately that the government is the closest thing to God in the world, they hold out optimistic hope that with enough laws and government control, tragedies will not occur. In doing so, they tragically overlook the reality that more times than not, the government itself can be a far greater evil. We Christians believe that evil will be in this world until Jesus comes in his fullness, and until then, we have to be realists and prepare ourselves to confront it.

    From a Christian worldview, the ownership of weapons is a necessary protection against evil. While it is true that Jesus told Peter to put away His sword because he must be crucified for the sins of the world (Matthew 26:52), he told them that very night to buy a sword in advance of their coming persecution (Luke 22:36). While Jesus’ exhortation that we turn the cheek from insult (Matthew 5:39) has been taken by pacifists (defined by JD’s dictionary as “those who let others die for their lives and liberties”) to be the locus classicus text for passive non-resistance, a robust theology of persecution reveals that the thrice-holy God has indeed called his people to self-defense, protection of the innocent through violent means, and promotion of the general welfare through war. There is no logical reason to believe that God’s call to arms throughout Scripture has been abrogated in this current dispensation, for God does not change (Malachi 3:6) and his Word is immutable (Hebrews 6:17). Furthermore, the call to martyrdom that we see repeated throughout the New Testament does not imply that our death for the sake of the cross be a peaceful surrendering of ourselves over to injustice or voluntary death.

    ~ pulpit and pen

    • Elca

      All of this will make sense if you demand that the President and congress give up their secret service protection and allow even the lunatic with guns to go among them .
      Until then, be prepared for the next massacre but NEVER in the White House or inn the House of congress.
      The message is, They are more important than us. So we must pay for their protection.
      That is wrong any given day and twice on Sunday.

      • Amos Moses – He>i

        The One Gun Law that Might Work Is One that Democrats Will Not Allow

  • Robin Egg

    I pray that many or all of the parents are able and willing to home school their children. Yes, it will take some sacrifice and commitment, but what is more precious than removing your child from the indoctrination centers where they can be slaughtered by evil people because nobody will protect them. You are responsible for protecting your children. God I pray that You provide a way for each family that makes this decision.

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Let’s get two things straight.

    1. Banning guns does not reduce crime. Crime goes UP when the law abiding citizen is disarmed.

    2. The Second amendment is not about hunting and it’s not about target shooting. It’s about giving the government good reason to leave the citizen alone.

    • Elca

      Should we also be allowed to own Nukes?

      • Amos Moses – He>i

        false conflation …… but we can have that discussion if you want ……..

      • Amos Moses – He>i

        The United States plans to replace its entire arsenal with a suite of five new weapon types over the next 25 to 30 years, violating the spirit if not the letter of President Obama’s 2010 pledge not to develop new nuclear warheads. Dubbed “3+2,” the plan would result in three weapon types for long-range missiles, and two for delivery by aircraft. One would be deployed on an air-launched cruise missile and one would be a bomb. Ultimately, the plan calls for some 3,000 of these new weapons at an estimated cost of $60 billion, or $20 million each. However, it likely will be cheaper to renovate the B61 than build one of these new weapons, so $60 billion probably underestimates the cost.

        so i dont know about you ….. i might have one or two extra million dollars laying around …… but $20 million is a little out of my price range …… and that is just the missile itself …. nothing about storage and fuel to move it anywhere …. unless you just want to use it as a really big roman candle ….. in any event …. cost makes your assertion silly on its face ….. and i doubt you can find a low cost DIY kit at Walmart … and FYI …. it is proprietary technology …. and you would have to pay the licensing fees before you could even start ….. that is if you want to do it “LEGALLY” ………..

  • Elca

    Home schooling is a good idea, but what if the home has the same kinds of guns and the mother or the kids goes berserk with the same gun what good is home schooling then?
    We cannot solve for mental sickness but we can solve for guns.
    Until we are able to fore tell who among us is next to go mentally sick it makes sense to ban WMD’s …
    Should we then say the only thing that can stop a bad mom with a gun is a good mom with a gun? hum…this is nuts. But this is America.