School Shootings and Me

What can I do about the school shootings?

I feel so powerless. Since 2000, there have been in excess of 200 shootings. Since January 1, 12 schools have been afflicted with this plague. Each time one happens I shake my head and wonder what am I supposed to do?

We know the arguments and issues. Gun control. Arm the teachers. Metal detectors. More awareness. Violence in entertainment and gaming. Mental health issues.

We know the perpetrators. Young male. Usually white. Socially isolated. Access to guns. Possible drug abuse.

But, there is one alarming thread that most school shooters have in common that is not being discussed.

Almost 100% did not have a father actively involved in their life. No dad. Broken home; broken boy.

The Parkland Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, grew up without a biological father and his adoptive father died when he was still young.

Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, came from a broken home and his dad had not talked to him in two years.

Elliot Rodgers, University of California at Santa Barbara, said the most devastating event of his life was the divorce of his parents.

This reality extends even to the mass shooters. Steven Paddock, Las Vegas, and Dylaan Roof, Charleston, were fatherless.

We see the direct connection between juvenile delinquency and fatherlessness but for some reason we have not made the connection yet to these young men.

What can I do?

The gun control debate is too big for me and I do not know how to address the pervasiveness of violence in our culture, but I can do one thing. As a dad, I can be involved my children’s lives. My children need more than my money. They need my direction, emotional support, encouragement, example, correction and ongoing affirmation. They don’t need me to be a buddy or friend but they need me to be dad.

Now, I can do that and so can most dads.

Scott McKay is the pastor of Willow Drive Baptist Church in Lake Jackson and a chaplain with the Texas Air National Guard. He and his wife, Stephanie, have five children and two grandchildren.