“God is what we need!”

The following was copied from a Facebook posting. The speech is attributed to Darrell Scott, the father of two victims of the Columbine High School tragedy. According to snopes.com, Mr. Scott did make this statement before a House subcommittee, but additional claims in the email that circulated this speech in 1999 are false. Still, it echos what I’ve been thinking and how I’ve been feeling on the subject of God and public school lately, so I have re-posted the statement here:

Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact.

What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.

Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him.

To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

– Darrell Scott

Please share this with your friends!

What can we do to reduce gun violence without infringing on our second amendment rights?

All of this anti-gun talk is making me crazy. Everyone is focusing on the fact that guns are used to kill. But the fact of the matter is that if a person is going to kill – whether premeditated or not, mentally stable or not, criminal history or not – if a person is going to kill, they will find a weapon and a way to do so. People seem to think more restrictive gun laws are the solution to the mass shooting epidemic in America, but more restrictions on our first line of defense as citizens only weakens us; it does not solve the problem. What we need to focus on is why people are feeling the need to kill in the first place. Society’s ignorance of (or just plain ignoring) symptoms of mental illness or mental distress, poor parenting, an individual’s lack of a personal support system, various issues that are the underlying causes of political outrage…these are the problems that need to be addressed in order to reduce violence. Guns are not the problem. Still, we need to address gun control. So let’s do so from a true Independent’s perspective, approached with an open mind.

Words cannot describe the sadness we are feeling as a nation over the senseless loss of too many innocent lives this past week. The Sandy Hook School tragedy in Connecticut is incomprehensible. Massacres like this are rapidly becoming more prevalent in our country. Each is just as shocking as the last. It seems these days we can’t go anywhere and truly feel safe – that even our most sacred “safe” places are no longer so: churches, schools, community shopping centers and movie theaters have been targets of gun violence relatively recently. We are shaken to our very core over our general safety, as individuals and as a nation. From the center of this horrific awareness rises the age-old debate over gun control. Because these tragedies have been committed with guns, anti-gun lobbyists are demanding stricter gun laws. This scares me more than the thought of sending my own small children to public schools in today’s world.

They are too young for school now and I plan on homeschooling when the time comes; nonetheless, if it were my own children returning to public schools after the Newtown shooting, a law further restricting gun ownership would not make me feel better about them walking through the school doors. I am more sensible than to believe that criminals follow laws in the first place. What would make me feel better would be if I knew that at least half of the staff was trained, licensed and carrying a concealed firearm. Better yet, I would love knowing that there were a number of military veterans at the ready in every school to protect our little ones (sign this petition to make it happen)!

I admire and respect the women who gave their lives to protect the lives of their children at Sandy Hook. Trying to imagine putting myself in their position, I can’t help but wonder how I would react in a similar situation. Putting it in more real-time terms, I think about how I would hope a situation like that would be handled at my own child’s school. If one of the first adults that a terrorist encountered once they forcefully and violently entered a school building was armed, then a significant number of lives could be saved. If it was common knowledge that faculty may be armed, it would not be so appealing for people to target these buildings in the first place. It is proven that predators prey on the weak. Restricting gun ownership for average citizens makes the average citizen the weak, easy target. We are so scared of guns in America. We fail to remember that one of the reasons those before us gave their lives in the American Revolution was so that every human being who lived here would have the right to live his or her life as freely as possible without fear of losing our freedom to government. This means being able to live and pursue life in whichever manner we think is best for our own lives so long as we don’t infringe on one another’s rights.

The general principles behind the framework of the Constitution are truly timeless. One of those pertains to the right to bear arms because it is inevitable that evil exists in the world. In America we like to think that if we all do things the right way then we can somehow stamp out evil and live in an ideal world where evil does not exist. But the reality is that in all of history and with all today’s technology, no one has yet discovered a way to overpower all evil at once. Until that day comes, I want to be given an equal chance at defending myself and my family against the evils of the world. (And equal chance, by my definition, means having access to the same weapons that can be used against me and therefore includes assault weapons.) I want this right, not so I can fight the citizens with whom I share a love of my country and all it stands for – these are my neighbors, friends we have just not yet met, my brothers and sisters in the kingdom of heaven – but so that I can take a stand against those who endanger my family, my friends, and my freedom. We need to educate our children as well.

Just as much as kids need to learn about basic hygiene, health and social standards, the truth is that they should be equally knowledgeable about various safety and survival methods. I believe that includes firearm awareness and training. The aim is not to put guns in the hands of children so that they can fight back against their attackers (though I suppose kids being able to fight attackers isn’t all bad) but really to prevent situations like this from occurring again in the first place. Teach children to respect guns, not fear them. Teach them how to safely handle and disarm a firearm if need be. Teach them that guns can be effective tools (think hunting or security) or harmful weapons. Teach them about what happens when one man takes another man’s life. Take away the stigma; take away the ignorance/curiosity/taboo; take away the fear and turn it into knowledge (true power). Then take your children outside to play. Spend time with them. Hug them. Talk with them. Listen to them. Practice healthy living and develop acceptable ways of managing negative feelings. Ask for and readily accept help when you need it. This is how we are going to get to the root of the problem.

Gun violence is indeed a problem. A complex problem that President Obama acknowledges we need to address NOW.  Something has to be done. So what can we do to reduce gun violence without infringing on our second amendment rights?

How to take action –

1.)    Raise awareness: remove the stigma, remove the fear – guns are a tool and a resource that are capable of producing both beneficial as well as harmful results. Much like a car, firearms can be weapons of mass destruction or life saving tools. The result lies in the hand of the operator.

2.)    Give every law-abiding citizen the opportunity to purchase AND carry legal firearms so that they can be used when needed. Say NO to Gun Free Zones, which weaken our defenses.

3.)    In order to legally purchase, own and carry weapons, require citizens to meet the following criteria:

  1. Provide proof of US citizenship
  2. Pass a weapons safety, instructional training and concealed carry course
  3. Have a clean bill of mental health as determined by passing a psychological evaluation (not just answering a questionnaire that can be falsified)
  4. Pass a background check that shows no violent criminal history.
  5. Provide proof of ownership for a secure, locked gun safe, large enough to house all guns owned.

4.)    Hire unemployed military veterans, police officers and other undercover armed security to work in places currently unprotected and therefore vulnerable to attack (i.e. libraries, schools and malls).

5.)    Refrain from overextending one way or the other-we need to find a happy medium to maintain balance as a nation. I am by no means suggesting that every single person living in America today should have totally free and fully unregulated access to guns. This is extremely unrealistic and will clearly lead to disaster. But extreme control and restrictions in the other direction are not good either because it leaves us too vulnerable.

Together, guided by our Constitution, we CAN take a stand and defend our nation from all threats, foreign and domestic. And we can do so with guns in the hands of responsible citizens.

My Story

Like most, my life is far from perfect. It didn’t have a perfect beginning but I have spent its entirety working toward a more perfect middle and ending. I experienced a childhood that shaped me into a strong, independent and passionate woman. Much of what I experienced in childhood also shaped me into a negative, isolated and doubtful little girl, confused, lost and angry at the world. I recall reading somewhere about how connecting with your inner child can help you achieve a more balanced life. I was having difficulty finding my inner child until I recognized that maybe I knew her all along, I was just ashamed to face her. My inner child is a sad and scared little girl, cowering from the world with her back against the wall of a dark cave. She’s naive, distrusting of most and juggles between being filled with anger and being completely hopeless.

Your inner child greatly influences your actions as an adult. Think about a child’s behavior: it is impulsive and impatient, prone to throwing a tantrum if he or she doesn’t get what he or she wants. As an adult, we have to learn to act more mature, postponing immediate gratification and acting civilly even though we’re throwing a tantrum on the inside. If your inner child hasn’t learned how to act properly, it’s going to be reflected on the outside – by your behaviors. Since my inner child is negative, my behaviors as an adult are negative.

I am learning how to help this hurt child inside me become the happy, healthy and thriving adult I want to be – the kind of person that I hope I’m raising my own child to be. So far, realizing all of this has been my biggest step. I always felt like I understood my past because of years of therapy, but I could never figure out how it was affecting my present. It turns out I was missing a vital key in my life, the puzzle piece that connects all the other pieces: I was missing God.

I’ve never been an especially religious person. I called myself spiritual because I’ve always believed in a Higher Power, but I had difficulty making an actual connection with God. Over the past few years, He has continually placed a woman named Joyce Meyer in my path in the form of both books and televised sermons. This woman has introduced to me to God. It’s as though I have always felt His presence, but my inner child was too afraid to turn around and introduce herself; even though she knew He was there to help her, she was too shy to ask for the help. Now that Ms. Meyer has done the hard part and we have been introduced, my inner child and I are learning together how to live in the Spirit of God, where I know I will find true freedom.

For me, this means maintaining a healthy, happy and balanced life. Some internal reflection has made me realize my truth – I am not living a very healthy life. So my focus is on becoming healthier physically, as well as mentally, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.

American Dream Maker is where I am going to record my trials and errors, hypotheses and experiments, successes and failures along the way. I am in the middle of the unfolding of my own personal love story (in the works of being told as a novel currently entitled Becoming Mrs. Casey). I have searched for and found my prince and the road to happily ever after began. Now, I’m learning how bring the happy to the ever after as we bring our American Dream to life. And you, my friend, are invited along for the ride.

Is Anybody Listening?

While drinking my morning coffee today, I decided to browse the morning headlines. Not surprisingly, one of the first articles to pop up on my phone was about Occupy Wall Street; New York police, dressed in riot gear, forced citizens to remove tents and other camping gear from a public park citing public “health and safety concerns” (more on the story from CNN).  This is not the first time authorities have ordered citizens to vacate the public premises where they have been protesting. In cities across the nation, literally from coast to coast, police and protesters are pitted in a fight against one another. My question is: Why?

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement hold that they are utilizing their First Amendment right – the right to free speech. Police and other authorities claim they are acting in the best interest of the public to maintain safety and order. In the end, it seems to me that no one is listening. Why are we fighting one another? Aren’t we supposed to all be in this together? Isn’t this all of our country? Lest we forget, we are only the United States of America because we declared our independence from England. Americans fought in a revolution in order to give us the freedoms established in the Constitution. The Founding Fathers created the First Amendment to ensure that citizens are forever able to revolt against its government should the institution become too out of control. The American people are standing up, making their voices heard and asking for change in a way not yet realized. They are using their First Amendment right not just to speak, but to be heard. While authorities are focused on camping gear, technicalities and attacking Americans I’m left wondering why no one is listening.

Dear Police Officers, Mayors, Congress and Mr. President: the American people are demanding to be heard. You can take their tents and sleeping bags, but they will not back down. You can arrest and attempt to disband protesters, but they will not stop protesting. Instead of continuing to try and control the masses, maybe it’s time to listen to them.