This week, a 15-year-old boy opened fire at his high school in Santee near San Diego, killing two people and wounding 13 in the nation’s deadliest school attack since Columbine. Apparently, this murderous rampage was triggered because schoolmates had picked on the young man.
Those of us growing up in a different era – where school was considered a safe place to be – can only ask: What is going on here?
What’s going on here is what has been going on in this country for the last thirty years – the specter of what Pope John Paul II calls “America’s culture of death.” The nihilism rampant among today’s youth shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it is a logical deduction from the secular education they’ve received, both inside and outside the classroom. As Dostoyevski said, if there is no God, then everything is permitted.
First God was removed from the classroom and then from our public life. In His place came the sacred tenets of the sexual revolution, a hedonistic overthrow of traditional taboos and mores that was supposed to usher in an idyllic era of peace and love, with liberty and justice for all.
What it’s really given us is anything but.
Somehow, sexual revolution proponents didn’t mention that a culture changing from “Be fruitful and multiply” to “Contracept, sterilize, and abort,” destroys the sense that human life has a divine origin or eternal destiny. They forgot to tell us that in a society permitting legalized abortion on demand, partial-birth infanticide, and physician-assisted suicide, life soon becomes cheap and its sacredness lost.
They also neglected to mention that where children are valued only in terms of their usefulness and not for their immortal soul, hopelessness will reign. “Quality of life considerations” means that some lives are more important than others. In essence, children are told that their worth, like that of livestock, arises from their future earning potential. Only a paycheck separates us from the rest of the zoo.
None of this is lost on our young, who come to a perfectly rational conclusion: If human life has no intrinsic value inside the womb, then it has none outside of it either. They are no longer considered children of God but relatives of apes. This is a vision of life so dismal, so hopeless it’s not surprising students are depressed and dispirited; the mystery is why they show up for school at all.
Like most utopian dreams, the secularization of society has brought us a nightmare. Rather than peace, we have war; instead of more love, we have increased hate. Our children inhabit a cultural environment toxic with hopelessness and despair. None of us should be surprised when we find that some of them wind up poisoned.