The Devastating Truth About School Shootings in America

Without God's intervention, we are utterly lost.

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

By Michael Brown Published on February 15, 2018

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.

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 — as if the fate of America depended on our prayers.

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.”)

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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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  • Paul

    “To be clear, my focus is here not on guns or gun control…”

    Thank you

    • Elaine

      Have we reached a point of no return in America? Not being a pessimist.
      Isn’t there a time biblically when God just backs away and lifts His hand? This country has mocked God. Now Christianity is mocked as a mental illness.
      Yes certainly pray but God will have His way. Maybe we just want to deny that God is not mocked. That this country is reaping what was down. He didn’t do it…we did. We winked at sin and thought we would get away with it here in America.
      God loves us….we rebelled. We did it OUR way. Just processing.

      • Paul

        God cares about those who follow him regardless of the culture in which they live. I’ll keep trying to influence my community for the better and cherish my Christian faith in the process.

        • Chip Crawford

          YES! God is in covenant connection with his Church, his people. We are not condemned with the world! He’ll always keep covenant with us as we continue to keep covenant with him. Yes, we work while it is still day.

      • Ken Abbott

        In past years, things have looked dark and hopeless, and then God seemingly out of nowhere sends his Spirit of regeneration and renewal. Pray urgently and persistently for another Great Awakening. That’s what all people need, not just in this country.

      • Kevin Quillen

        very astute. thank you. I too believe that we are reaping 45 years of murdering babies, mocking God, and materialistic living. We kicked Him out, so we are on our own.

  • Craig Roberts

    “There have been at least 17 other school shootings in the US in 2018”

    This is totally misleading. Calling a random accident that just happened to be on school property, or a suicide, a “school shooting” is completely disingenuous. Research what these so called “school shootings” actually entail and it quickly becomes obvious that the media is trying to freak people out by lumping real tragedies in with random events in which nobody was even injured. And judging by this article, it’s working.

    • Paul

      Yes, there is an abundance of purposefully misleading information surrounding the topic of gun violence in general.

    • Believe it or not, The Washington Post thoroughly debunked the “18 school shootings in 2018.” I have to tip my hat to them.

      • Craig Roberts

        Thank you! The Stream should be embarrassed that it got caught parroting Chicken Little while the Washington Post is the one trying to set the record straight.

  • Tim Pan

    Please remember what the Lord said:

    John 15:18-27 King James Version (KJV)

    18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

    19 If
    ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are
    not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the
    world hateth you.

    20 Remember
    the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his
    lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they
    have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

    21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

    22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.”

  • Gregory

    Strange, other Western countries don’t seem to suffer this problem. They must be very, very religious indeed.

    • aliswell

      Are you missing the other forms of chastisement being unleashed on those Western countries?

  • obamaisacorn

    Facts matter and can be used to destroy liberalism.
    Even the liberal media reported most gun deaths are caused by suicide and blacks. Drill down into those stats and you’ll find of the 33,000 death by gun 2/3rds were suicide; of the remaining deaths 66% were black; with 92% of that 66% shot by another black. Making clear who should not be allowed to carry a gun.

  • Michael T

    Maybe God is a mean SOB and doesn’t give a damn about people, because people are so damn stupid.

  • Arnold Kropp

    The degradation of the family unit; that of a strong loving father providing and protecting, along with a loving nurturing mother is the main reason that kids are growing into monsters. Society has removed God from the schools. Society has increasingly become secular humanistic feel goodie. Hollywood does not help. The media does not help. Politicians do not help, and sadly too many churches are not helping by mainly being interested in the numbers attending.

  • Andy6M

    I’m surprised that in the conversations I have seen on this topic there is a distinct lack of talk about the need to return to seeing character and virtue instilled within our culture.

  • DemocratsBDamned

    dump people mock the Bible but the Bible contains every single answer that these brainless democrats ask on a daily basis.

  • John Dave Webb

    God wants us to fall on our knees and pray but I think He also wants us to talk about gun control. The issue of a mentally challenged and emotionaly disturbed youth easily accessing a semi automatic weapon speaks volumes on the culpability of the authorities.

  • tz1

    But Pray what, and pray for what?

    While I can pray for a smoker with lung cancer, the problem is nature is known and unforgiving.

    This? The FBI had a big flashing neon sign, but was too busy with whatever the next murder after LeVoy Finicum, Vicki Weaver, or the Branch Davidians were, or looking away from Hillary, or trying to find something in the Trump Dossier.

    Pray for wisdom? You’ve already enumerated some of the answers. That they be unacceptable and/or illegal is irrelevant from a heavenly perspective.

    Stand athwart history yelling “Stop!”? Then be run over by the train instead of telling it top stop because you have arranged for it to be derailed?

    You and almost every Christian refuse to actually act to stop the Abortion Holocaust. 60 million in this country give or take. You will give a long post over a few dozen school deaths, which pales in comparison – how many innocent dead babies so far this year? You would rather have a peaceful prosperity with the devil, not selling your soul, but renting it for a while, than have war and hardship to do the right thing.

  • Trilemma

    Humans are complicated so there’s not going to be a single cause. Also, in the last 60 years, the population has doubled, chemicals used in food have increased, vaccinations have increased, and prescription drug use has increased.

  • Mo

    We tell kids from the time they enter school that they are nothing but evolved animals, that they are accidents of the universe that came into being just by random chance and a long period of time, that “everyone has their own truth”, that they can become the opposite sex just by “identifying”, wishing and feeling that they are, that there’s no God, no heaven, no hell, no judgment, that death is the end, and that life has no meaning other than what we subjectively choose to give it –

    and then we pretend to be oh-so-shocked when they live out the full ramifications of that worldview?

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