The rampage in Florida raises multiple issues. People are responding with “thoughts and prayers.” That is not enough.
The suspect, who has confessed to the killings, was adopted by his parents. Children of adoption deal with abandonment issues. Children of adoption have more emotional and psychological challenges than children who were raised by their birth parents. This boy’s parents both died. He was effectively abandoned again. This does not excuse any of what this boy did – it was horrendous. It does begin to give some explanation for the deep emotional and psychological pain he was in.
Our society has nothing in place for young people who have been left orphaned in some way at the age of 19. Children in foster care, who age out of the system, often end up homeless. This boy wasn’t in foster care, but he lost both his parents. A family was good enough to take them into their home. He was fortunate to have a roof over his head. He needed much more – mentoring, counseling, possibly medication.
Another issue is our gun laws. As my 19-year-old daughter has pointed out, it is too easy for anyone to buy an assault weapon. In Nebraska, a person has to be 18 years old or older and have an ID. She could buy a gun. But, do you know what she cannot do? She cannot rent a car from Enterprise Leasing because she is under 25 years old. She has a valid driver’s license, but she can’t rent a car. She has a valid driver’s license so she can purchase an assault weapon. Does this make any sense to anyone?
Many people are saying “my thoughts and prayers are with the people in Florida.” That is not enough. We all need to act. When we pray, we need to listen to what God is calling us to DO. But, it will not be easy. About two years ago, I began guiding, helping, supporting a young man who had been homeless after leaving Boys Town. I am not bragging by any sense of the imagination. It has been emotionally and financially taxing. It has caused me tremendous frustration. And, the young man is making slow progress. I keep praying for him, and for me, and I keep gently giving advice and counsel and support.
I will also be writing letters – yes, letters on paper – to Senators Fischer and Sasse, and to Representative Bacon demanding that they lead congress in changing our gun laws so that assault weapons are no longer available for sale to the general public.
So, I urge you to keep praying and then to DO what God calls you to do. We are God’s hands and feet. Go where he leads you.