Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

First Sunday in Lent—18 February A.D. 2018
Ave Maria!

On the Ash Wednesday Shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Lenten Observance

    I have a sermon for you on today’s Gospel, but decided I would be remiss if I said nothing about the terrible shooting on Ash Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.  So we will save the Gospel sermon for next year.

    I grew up in the 1950s, when there were no school shootings.  There was occasional violence, but mostly it was a case of someone taking something he wanted from someone else by force—it was evil, but somewhat rational—not like killing unknown people at random, for no personal gain.  Nothing like this had happened in America until the shooting of 47 people from that Texas tower in 1966.[1]

    We did some target shooting, we ate what we hunted, we learned great respect for firearms, using them only with proper precautions and supervision, and we had no games that counted up “mega-deaths.”

    How can such things happen in America?  Are there no procedures?  No safeguards?  There are, but the deterioration of our culture has made them very ineffective, and even counterproductive.

    Laws making “gun free zones” make them shooting galleries with defenseless law-abiding targets for the law-breaking shooter.  He is virtually assured that there will be no danger of returned fire.  The lone sheriff’s deputy assigned to protect a campus the size of a college appears to have been off duty that day.[2]  Anyone disputing the fact that it “takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun” should be required to explain why the SWAT team arrived far more heavily armed and armored than even the average cop on the beat.[3]

    The school officials had determined that the former student was violent and expelled him.  If they told someone in authority, it triggered no effective safeguards.  Sheriff’s deputies visited the shooter’s home 39 times in the last seven years, but they triggered no effective safeguards.[4]

    Last September someone with the shooter’s name posted to You-tube that "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."  The video’s owner contacted the FBI and provided a screen-shot of the post to an agent during an interview the following day, September 25th—that was the last he heard from the Bureau until after the shooting took place.

    Classmates, relatives, and neighbors have described Cruz as a troubled "loner" who often talked about guns and flaunted his obsession with weapons on his social media accounts. And Jim Gard, a math teacher at the school, told the Miami Herald that the teen had previously been identified as a potential threat to other students.

    Again, this information did not trigger any effective safeguards.[5]

    Of course we should not be in too much of a hurry to put people under psychiatric surveillance, for that can begin with mere rumor and innuendo, and there has been a great misuse of psychiatry by despotic regimes.[6]  Law abiding Americans have every right to be free from intrusive questions from the government—“the Bibles, guns, gold, and grub in my home are my business alone.”

    There is very little in the media about the medications the shooter might have been taking.  This despite the fact that “problem” students are frequently given psychotropic meds.[7]  Some of these are known to have “side effects” like suicide or homicide.  A number of mass shootings are connected to such medications.[8]  We are too quick to prescribe pills for disruptive behavior.

    Modern society has become quite polarized.  A few decades back, the Left demanded “academic freedom” and the “right” to popularize counter-cultural ideas.  Today it demands that contradictory ideas be suppressed—often by violent means.  And the ideas that are violently suppressed are those we would consider “traditional morality.”

    So what is the difference between 1958 and 2018?

    People went to church or synagogue regularly—even those of denominations that had no Sunday or Saturday obligation—and their worship was reverent.  In the Catholic Church, all of the measurable statistics—baptisms, marriages, religious vocations, schools and church buildings—were steadily rising.  Religious education was meaningful—not just pictures of rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns.

    In public school we always said a table grace before meals.  My fourth or fifth grade reader was filled with Bible stories.  Often there would be a “show and tell” associated with the major religious holidays—Christians learned about Chanukah and Passover; Jews learned about Christmas and Easter—but no one was forced to take part in another’s religious practice.  When we had a student assembly, it always contained a brief Bible reading.  It was legal to pray in school and to have the Ten Commandments in a court room!  Americans had freedom of religion—but no one in their wildest imagination would have considered secular humanism—let alone Satan worship—as a religion.  Nor could they imagine that the Little Sisters of the Poor would be required to pay for abortions!

    Public immorality would ruin anyone’s career (except the movie stars).  People didn’t curse or fornicate in public (for the most part, not even in the movies).  If it was on radio, television or produced by Disney, it was almost certainly moral (and relatively peaceful).  Most families had two parents—the government was only beginning to favor fatherless families, and using welfare to gain political power.  Mom and Dad taught young people to respect parents, teachers, clergymen, and adults in general.  And Mom and Dad taught us to be gentle with other kids and with our animals.

    Human life was protected by American law—abortion and euthanasia were universally illegal, and even contraception and divorce in some states.  By the way, all of these laws were passed long before Catholics exercised any sort of political power.  “Life” was the first and foremost of our “unalienable rights” as Americans.

    What I am suggesting is that we must go back—as a people, a Church, and a culture—to what we were in the 1950s and before.  That is the only effective safeguard to random shootings in public places.

    We must start with ourselves or none of this will be possible.  If we expect others to keep the Commandments and to exercise peaceful mutual respect, we must do so ourselves.

    But is also imperative that we not allow liberal politicians, clergy, and media outlets to carry on the destruction of our nation, Church, and culture:

    Politicians must be made completely aware that evil laws will not obeyed, nor tolerated, nor supported with tax revenues.  Nor can those who make such laws expect our votes.  They must be assured that we will not tolerate their efforts to undermine our Faith.

    Likewise the clergy who positively violate the Commandments, counsel the faithful to do the same, and otherwise refuse to teach the Faith.  If Modernist “discernment” allows me to violate the first and sixth Commandments, why would I keep the other eight?  False clergy and religious must be assured that we will not tolerate their efforts to undermine our nation.  “No doctrine, no dollars.” “No morals, no money.”

    In recent days, much has been said about the “fake news” churned up by the media (often in support of liberal ideas).  Radio, TV, newspapers, and cinema must all be brought to understand that betrayal of our culture will drive them to oblivion.  We will not spend money on them, and will freely exercise the channel selector and the off button.

    The events of Ash Wednesday have put “the ball back in our court.”  We must not allow liberal politicians, clergy, and media outlets to carry on the destruction of our nation, Church, and culture.

    And let us offer our prayers during this Mass for those who were injured and who died; for their families and friends who had their lives tragically disrupted; and for our nation’s ability to fight its own decomposition.  And may God have mercy on the soul of Nikolas Cruz.




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