Posted Feb 14, 2018 by Michael L. Brown

Those of us who have not lost a loved one to an act of wanton violence cannot fully relate to the agony being experienced by the families and friends of the victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. Who can imagine the shock, trauma, pain, disorientation, and overwhelming sense of loss?

At least 17 dead and a number of others injured. Young lives, full of dreams, cut down in a moment of time. Gone from this life.

This, alone, is devastating news, more than we can readily process. But then consider something even more devastating. Such shootings have gone up exponentially over the last century or so. It turns out that the widely-reported story of “at least 17 other school shootings in the US in 2018” was false.* The true number is seven. But it’s only February!

What in the world is going on? Or, perhaps, more precisely, what has happened to our world?

Increasing Violence
To be clear, my focus is here not on guns or gun control. Nor is my focus on theological questions about divine activity and human free will. My focus is only on the facts before us: School violence is increasing at epidemic proportions.

I did not have the time to fact check every detail in the Wikipedia article on “School shootings in the United States.” But where I did spot check, the facts were accurate (aside from discrepancies in totaling numbers). And there are ample links provided for those wanting to check in further detail. Based on the figures supplied there, school violence is almost off the charts.

According to the article, there were 28 school shootings in America in the 19th century, 226 shootings in the 20th century, and 223 already in the 21st century. (We are not even one-fifth through the 2000’s!) Of those 223 school shootings so far this century, 60 occurred from 2000-2009 and 153 from 2010-2018. (I adjusted the totals listed in the Wikipedia article based on other information.)

As for the victims of this violence, the 19th century saw 24 killed and 30 injured in these school shootings. The 20th century saw 254 killed and 406 injured. And so far, in the 21st century (excluding the bloodbath of 2018), we have seen 227 killed and 278 injured, the vast majority of them school children.

What an unspeakable horror.

And note how the violence is spiking: During the 1950s, there were 17 school shootings. In the 1960s, 18. In the 1970s, 30. In the 1980’s, 39. In the 1990’s, 62. In the first decade of this century (2000-2009), 60 school shootings. From 2010-2018, 153.

We Need Real Prayer
Is it any wonder that the mother of one student at Parkland High School said, “Her biggest fear is a school shooting. She is always begging me to be home-schooled because she was scared of this.” (Thankfully, her daughter was not shot.)

I’m quite aware that some will point the finger at easy access to guns. Others will point to the need for greater school security. But again, that is not my focus here. Let those who are more qualified to debate these issues lead the way in constructive discussion and strategy.

Others will look at our larger culture of death, from 45 years of legalized abortion to our fixation with violent entertainment. Still others will ask, “Where was God during this tragedy?” (To this question, still others will respond, “We kicked God out of our schools long ago.”)

But now, as I write, my focus is on the shock and grief of those directly affected by today’s massacre and on the exponential increase in school shootings we are witnessing in our country. That drives me to my knees and to my face before God, asking Him to have mercy on our blood-filled land, asking Him to grant us repentance as a people, asking Him to intervene on our behalf. Without that intervention, we are utterly lost.

Of course, I’m not saying that we simply pray and do nothing else, as if we have no responsibility in the matter. But I am saying that we must really pray — with passion and persistence, with brokenness and fasting, with desperation and faith, as if the fate of America depended on our prayers.

It does.

*This story has been updated to correct the number of school shootings in 2018.


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OmaW posted a comment · Feb 16, 2018
Our hearts weigh heavy. Grief. We feel "frozen" - but still move to complete the day. I read another culture commentary where the term "compassion fatigue" was used to describe how we react - it's happened so many times. The first time was one time too many. This afternoon my husband & I were talking and praying and thinking. He read a few headline reports, and stopped --- He stood up, and started to close his laptop - and then said one of those "I just heard ...." (in his heart), instead we ended up looking up Luke 13 on it --- I'm not sure if I can post the link but I'll try - rather than write it out:;TPT Basically, it's Luke 13:1 - 5 Jesus was responding to what seems to be similar questions - asked by even those who are righteous, and the thought of those doing righteous acts dying ruthlessly... Jesus' answer really warned: ..."I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” Nobody is exempt from eternity --- we need to be on our knees repenting for our negligence in caring for our nation's condition.
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NewEra274 posted a comment · Feb 16, 2018
In my comment below I meant to say "sermonize" not demonize. I can't find how to edit comments.
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NewEra274 posted a comment · Feb 16, 2018
I wish Christian's were more vigilant in seeking out the truth. We have supposed mass shootings like Sandy Hook, Vegas, etc., which were stunts enacted in order to push gun control. Charlottesville was faked to stoke racial tension. If you listen to the mainstream media you will not hear the Truth, you will not see the evidence countering the lies we are told, etc. With this recent event in Florida, we are again being told that guns control must increase. But did you hear that the school was running a drill that day? Did you hear the eyewitness in the school reported multiple shooters? Did you see the former CIA officer on CNN fake crying as if it devastated him? Probably not. Christians go back to their churches and demonize about how Americans are so awful when we being fed propaganda. I'm not saying no one was hurt in Florida but past mass shootings have proved that they were staged, and when I bring this up to Christians in a logical, coherent way they merely resist the idea. We have powers and principalities working through the media to put fear into us, to intimidate us and to convince us that gun rights are unnecessary in our age. But we are not shown that gun violence has actually been going down for two decades! Christian's please wake up! Yes pray and repent but also be wise as serpents!
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His Way Alone posted a comment · Feb 15, 2018
God makes it very clear: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV) It's prayer and turning from our wicked ways. Thank you, Dr. Brown. ~Lauren