By Joe Schallmoser
Former Colorado Police Sergeant
In the aftermath of this unspeakable homicidal rampage, I’m taken back to my involvement at Columbine. Every time we hear of one of these types of criminal episodes we correctly ask, “What is wrong with us”? “How does this continue to happen”? And “How can we prevent this from ever happening again”?
But I truly believe that everyone reading this will agree that there will be more of these incidents.
In 1958, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote, in his book, “The Life of Christ” that “modern life is tragic when there is spiritual darkness and unredeemable guilt”. How prophetic were his words written over 50 years ago. Since he wrote those words we have chiseled away at removing our Judeo-Christian values and mores from our lives as free Americans. As a result, we have become myopically focused on our rights and have failed to admit the nexus between those rights and the responsibilities that exist to exercising those rights.
We have slowly taken God out of our schools and work places and have legalized abortions. That has led to 4,000 of our most innocent being slaughtered EVERY DAY! Yet we ask “how can this happen”? It can happen and will continue to happen because we have lost our way. In our pathetic effort to become politically correct we have abandoned our commitment to truth and justice (don’t forget, there’s a difference between justice and mercy).
God gave us free will and we have chosen materialism, hedonism, narcissism and probably a bunch of other “isms”. With that freedom, we have surrendered to the material and secular pleasures of modern life and too many have abandoned the reality that we are created in God’s image to know, love and serve Him.
After responding to Columbine during the gunfire and spending the day there I will never forget the “surrealistic” state of mind I experienced throughout that day. Before returning to the school early the next morning I distinctly recall stopping by the security office, which I supervised, and telling one of our dispatchers that what I saw and what happened the day before was the work of the devil incarnate.
Sadly, yet predictably, within hours of the Newtown massacre we began hearing the emotional appeals for more gun control. In the words of Dennis Prager, we don’t need more gun control, we need more self-control! Connecticut already has some of the most stringent gun control laws in America. The guns used in this massacre were obtained by the killer stealing them from his mother who had purchased them legally. There are laws in Connecticut against theft (stealing of the guns), homicide (killing his mother when taking the guns), burglary (breaking into the school) and the killing of all of those most innocent among us, our children and those who dedicated their lives to educate and safeguard them. None of those laws were adhered to by this madman. The laws simply don’t mean anything to the criminal and mentally unstable people among us and passing more laws to regulate guns are only obeyed by those of us that respect the law and wouldn’t violate any of those laws – the ones regulating theft, burglary, homicide and all the others.
Mike Huckabee reminded us recently that years ago, you would find many vehicles parked in school parking lots with guns hanging visibly in gun racks. Kids would hunt before and after school and not use those guns against other people. It’s the culture that has changed and the mindset of people who have a void in their lives when it comes to a spiritual connection with God. Moral relativism has replaced right and wrong.
It’s not about more laws. In the years since Bishop Sheen wrote about how tragic modern life is, we have passed thousands and thousands of laws trying to provide a framework within which peace loving people can live free and thrive. I would only ask, “So how’s that working for us”? The answer lies in removing the spiritual darkness and reconnecting with the responsibilities of living in today’s world, not just our rights.
I would ask everyone to only honestly answer one question, then do what needs to be done. The question is “Do you feel more distant from God than in the past”. If your response is “yes” then remember the most important reality in this – GOD HASN’T MOVED away, you have.
Joe Schallmoser is a former Police Sergeant and former Security Supervisor for the Jefferson County Public Schools (144 schools) in Colorado.
Mr. Schallmoser authored prevention procedures the year PRIOR to Columbine for that District which, had they be followed may very well have prevented the Columbine incident from ever happening.