It’s been about two weeks now since Dylann Roof, during an evening service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, shot ten parishioners, killing nine of them, including state senator and senior pastor Clementa C. Pinckney.
So much has been said about this incident. Allegations of (and plenty of evidence for) racist motivations have been discussed at length. The public discourse even went so far as to bring the good ol’ southern heritage of being proud of a time when the black man was subjugated beneath the white man, with the so-called Confederate flag being all over the news, its contemporary appropriateness being examined from every possible perspective.
I’ve said enough about the sociopolitical/racial aspect of the incident over on Facebook, so I won’t dwell on that aspect of the situation. I also wanted to allow a bit of time to pass so that the more urgent discussions could be had before adding my voice on a slightly more obtuse aspect of the incident to the zeitgeist.
There have been 108 school shooting incidents of some kind or another just since January 2010 and just in the United States. Let that sink in for a moment. In five and a half years, there have been over 100 life-threatening incidents within schools — a place we expect to be safe for our children! That’s over twenty per year, at least one a month on average!
Granted, we don’t usually hear about these. For these instances to break into the mainstream news reporting, it needs to be deadly enough to not be considered — and I hate to even call it this — “business as usual.” Sandy Hook, Columbine… Those and others like them are what we hear about, what we heartbreak over, and what we promise ourselves “never again” over (until the next time, right?).
Without fail, you’ll hear some people of the Christian persuasion make the accusation that the shootings wouldn’t have happened if we would just let God back into our schools.