By General Jerry R. Curry
Clash Daily Guest Columnist
When I was a boy attending a country school in western Pennsylvania, every classroom had a copy of the Ten Commandments framed and hung on it’s wall. One of those commandments was: “Thou Shall Not Kill.” It unequivocally told us children that killing was wrong and that those who killed would be severely punished.
It reminded us that “Not Killing” was a societal behavior standard and we school children saw it in big print every day, all day. It was a constant reminder to us that killing was not only wrong, but a sin. That standard sunk in and all of the children in my school grew up knowing that killing was evil, and that American society would not tolerate it.
Because children in school today have few societal standards to help them know the difference between right and wrong, our civilization has lost its integrity. We have departed from and destroyed the roots of American civilization; and we have eroded the principles and standards of decent behavior.
We have also become hypocrites. President Obama’s children attend a school in Washington, DC that is protected by armed guards, but he refuses to support the idea that children attending public schools should be protected by armed guards. And he does not champion teaching school children basic foundational and fundamental standards of conduct such as the Ten Commandments.
The mentally and emotionally disturbed killers who have been slaughtering our school children of late are fundamentally troubled, unprincipled and rootless. Society has cut them off from our nation’s historic roots and moral teachings and rejects them when, as adults, they act like they have been cut off from those roots and teachings. Now is the time to re-establish and rebuild the walls of the nation’s historic, moral and cultural foundations, those laid by our Founding Fathers.
Can we prevent the killing and slaughtering of America’s school children? Certainly we can. Let us train and authorize all teachers who are willing to volunteer to qualify for concealed carry gun permits. Enough of them will voluntarily carry weapons that no armed intruder will be able to successfully break into a school and systematically execute little children and their teachers one by one as happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The problem that bedevils our society is not gun violence; it is a lack of spiritual and ethical standards, an absence of proper leadership, and an absence of a climate of good, solid mental health nourished by thriving cultural roots. Love and empathy won’t keep children safe; armed teachers and security guards will.
In Michigan a few days before the Sandy Hook shooting incident, labor union thugs resorted to all sorts of foul language and violence, punched in the head and stomach a TV news reporter and threatened to kill him; then they threatened that if a right-to-work law were passed by the state legislature, there would be blood in the streets.
If we had real leadership in the White House and the US Congress, all of our elected officials of both political parties would have gone before the TV cameras and said that such demonstrations of hatred and violence would not be tolerated and that if there was blood in the streets, the police would arrest the union members involved, put them in jail and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
Instead, the President and Congress were intimidated into silence by the political power wielded by the unions. That silence sent the union thugs a clear message. “Do whatever you want to do. Beat people up, threaten them with death. You won’t be arrested or prosecuted and you can count on the federal government protecting your back.” Why should a mass murderer in Connecticut show restraint when both the President and the Congress refused to show any?
Guns used to protect the President or the police are considered good. Evidently guns used to protect little school children are considered bad. But guns are neither good nor bad; they are simply mechanical devices. Based on how they are used, they can kill people or they can keep people from being killed.
A foundational principle of our society used to be that there was no “culture of violence” and that the killing of children and school teachers was unacceptable, would not be tolerated and anyone who did it would be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned. To remind us of this standard of acceptable conduct, on the walls of school classrooms was fixed a copy of the Ten Commandments.
First, the nation should return to the practice of hanging a copy of the Ten Commandments on school classroom walls and teachers should daily teach them to their students. Second, we should not hesitate to allow teachers who volunteer to be trained, to carry concealed weapons.
And three, such actions are meaningless absent strong Presidential leadership of the kind of Teddy Roosevelt and, without such leadership, there is no chance of success, no chance of returning our country to the virtuous national character it had when it was passed on to us by our Founding Fathers.
Leadership does not simply consist of tired, repetitive presidential lectures and slogans given to a bored citizenry. Real leaders lead by example. Like General George Washington they lead from up front, from where the bullets are whizzing and the mortar rounds are exploding. They shout, “Follow Me;” and a grateful citizenry responds with, “We Are On The Way.”
These three steps will not entirely solve our “culture of violence” problems; but they could help us begin the long, slow, painful process of returning law, order and safety to our schools and to rebuilding the nation’s morality.
Image: 1768 parchment, Jekuthiel Sofer emulated decalogue; author Jekuthiel Sofer; public domain/copyright expired
General Jerry Ralph Curry (D.Min.) is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper and Ranger. He enlisted in the Army as a Private and retired a Major General. For nearly forty years he and his wife Charlene have served this country both in the military and while he was a Presidential political appointee.