The problem that bedevils our society is not one of gun violence; it is a lack of spiritual and ethical standards, an absence of proper leadership, and an absence of a climate of good, solid mental health, nourished by thriving families. Love and empathy alone won’t keep children safe, but armed teachers and security guards will.
When I was a boy attending a country grade school in western Pennsylvania, every classroom had a copy of the Ten Commandments framed and hung on its walls. One of those commandments was: “Thou Shall Not Kill.” About once a week the students, led by the teacher, read the commandments out loud. There was no doubt that killing was wrong and that those who killed would be severely punished by society.
“Not Killing” was the acceptable societal behavior standard for the nation and the children were reminded of that fact every day. We were taught that killing was not only wrong, it was a sin. So, all of the children in my school grew up believing that killing was evil, and that American society would not tolerate those who did it.
Today American society has lost its integrity. We have eroded the principles, standards, and restraints of what was once considered decent and acceptable behavior. Today school children are seldom taught the difference between right and wrong though there is great focus on what is and is not politically correct.
For example, President Obama’s children attend a private school in Washington DC. They are protected by armed guards. However, the President refuses to support the idea that children attending public schools should also be protected by armed guards. And he does not champion teaching school children basic foundational and fundamental standards of conduct such as those derived from the Ten Commandments. Now is the time to re-establish and rebuild those cultural and historic foundations.
Can we prevent the killing and slaughtering of America’s school children? Certainly we can. Let us train and authorize all teachers, who are willing to voluntarily qualify for concealed carry gun permits. Then no armed intruders are likely to break into a school and systematically execute little children and their teachers one by one as happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In Michigan a few days before the Sandy Hook shooting incident, labor union thugs resorted to all sorts of foul language and violence, punched a TV news reporter in the head and stomach, and threatened to kill him. Then they threatened that if a right-to-work law were passed by the state legislature, there would be more blood in the streets.
If we had real leadership in the White House and US Congress, all of our elected officials of both political parties would have gone before the TV cameras and said that such demonstrations of hatred and violence would not be tolerated and that if there was blood in the streets, the police would arrest the union members involved, put them in jail and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
Instead, the President and Congress were intimidated into silence by the political power wielded by the unions. That silence sent the union thugs a clear message. “Do whatever you want to do. Beat people up, threaten them with death. You won’t be arrested or prosecuted and you can count on the federal government protecting your back.” Why should they show restraint when both the President and the Congress refuse to show any?
Guns used to protect the President and his family or the police, are considered good. Evidently guns used to protect little school children are considered bad. But guns are neither good nor bad; they are simply mechanical devices. Based on how they are used, they can kill people or they can keep people from being killed.
A foundational principle of our society used to be that there was no “culture of violence” and that the killing of children and school teachers was unacceptable, would not be tolerated, and anyone who did it would be arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned.
Perhaps the nation should return to the practice of hanging a copy of the Ten Commandments on school classroom walls and teachers should teach them to their students. We should not hesitate to allow teachers who volunteer, to carry concealed weapons. But such actions are meaningless absent strong Presidential leadership of the Teddy Roosevelt kind.
Leadership does not simply consist of tired, repetitive lectures and slogans given to a bored citizenry. Real leaders lead by example. Like General George Washington they lead from up front, from where the bullets are whizzing and the mortar rounds are exploding. They shout, “Follow Me;” and a grateful citizenry responds with, “We Are On The Way.”
These suggestions will not solve our “culture of violence” problem, but they can help us begin the long, slow, painful process of returning law, order and safety to society and to our schools.
MAJ. GEN. JERRY RALPH CURRY, US ARMY RETIRED
Author: From Private to General and The Dream Continues