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“A Society That Does Not Protect Its Children Is Destined for Ruin.”

By: Pastor Bob Vale, Middlebury First United Methodist Church

As an American society, we are all to care for and protect our children. (No question, that should be one of our highest priorities!)  That includes parents, grandparents, immediate and extended family, schoolteachers and staff, police officers, firefighters, first responders, clergy, daycare workers, coaches, neighbors, truck drivers, farmers, factory workers, retail workers, restaurant workers, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and all Americans! We should work to ensure that our most innocent and young get a loving start in life with joy, happiness, safety, and love. 

More and more we seem to be unable to safeguard our kids as they are under the protection of school staff who are teaching them the A,B,Cs of life.  Not a month seems to go by where we don’t come home to hear the evening news and see another mass shooting, where the innocence of our children is caught in the crosshairs of a psychotic individual wielding a gun and randomly shooting children and the teachers who love and care for them. My wife is an elementary school teacher, and I pray often for her safety and the well-being of her students.  

We search for answers, and ask our leaders and politicians to come up with meaningful solutions, but the stalemate of divided opinions, 2nd amendment gun rights, mental health concerns, and about 20 other related issues all join in on the highly academic debate which continues to become the never-ending merry-go-round of nothing getting done for real change in America! The result: our children lose!

Our history: The Columbine High School shooting massacre of 18 deaths occurred in 1999; the Virginia Tech college carnage and shooting and deaths of 33, took place in 2007; the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting mayhem and deaths of 23 children took place in 2012; the Uvalde, Texas shooting slaughter and deaths of 22 innocent children took place in May of 2022. There are too many mass shootings to mention in this short article. When will it ever end? Oh, God help us!

The past two months we have seen two more school shootings in America. One shooting at Michigan State University with four college students dead, and this week in Nashville, at the Covenant Presbyterian Church and elementary school, where three children and three school staff were gunned down and executed.

Our collective hearts break every time we hear about these acts of violence and the deaths of innocent children at the hands of mentally deranged individuals with guns. The two common themes seem to be mental illness and individuals with guns, although there are 100 or more different personal and cultural reasons.

In this ongoing debate, I think we act like either sheep or roosters. We act like sheep when we think nothing can be done for change, and we mildly go about our own business and hope the next school shooting does not happen in our community. Other times we act like two fighting roosters who take opposite sides and vigorously fight to the end—giving our extreme right and left points of view in debating the issues…all the while waiting for the next school shooting to occur. We’ve become the wild west again. Where does it end? Oh, God help us!

There is no easy answer! As a pastor I say, let’s pray. And we are.  But prayer needs to be partnered with proper planning and action. We have lived long enough in our democracy and republic to know that most policies and laws are achieved through “compromise.” Meeting in the middle is where action and change can win. Our local, state, and national leaders need to humble themselves and pray. They need to seek creative solutions where both sides are willing to bend, give in, give up a few things, find alternatives, see the other side of the issue, and compromise key elements of their own position in an effort to stop the killing of our children at schools across America. If we don’t, we are doomed as a society to slowly die— our culture and republic rotting from the inside from moral decay and apathy (similar to ancient Rome). We might as well put a sign in all our front yards stating, I don’t care! 

The people of America are good and decent people. We do care! We do love our children and want the best for everyone in our American society. Then we need to act with courage and unity…not division! We need to stop being sheep or roosters and be the mature men and women who are the best the world has to offer. We are smart and brave and can come up with comprising solutions that will work and stop the merry-go-round of “same old…same old.” But we will never do it with right vs. left, conservative versus liberal, or NRA versus mental health. We need to find compromising solutions and ask our good, elected leaders, working on our behalf to form a more perfect union (for the wonderful melting pot of America)! 

As individuals, let us each be a people of peace, and let it begin with me! Let us love all our neighbors as ourselves. Our neighbors who look different than us, our neighbors who speak differently than us, our neighbors who love differently than us, our neighbors who live on the other side of the tracks than us! Let us love each other for effective change! Let’s do it for the kids and families and the future of America. The land of the free and the home of the brave!

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Christine Mank, M.S.W.
1 month ago

Dear Pastor Vale,I read your article and agree with you about how we must protect our children and vulnerable from those who are mentally ill or evil. The truth is these are hate crimes, and we know it is the individual, not the weapon used that causes the deaths of our children and loved ones. Americans do care and are generous, decent people who love their country. We have a constitution and laws if we follow them. But we have a divisive, corrupted leadership and solutions are complicated. Some among us push their own political agendas whereas most want to live in peace and work, raise their children in a safe world. Most want to live and let live. Our churches and faithful need to follow God’s laws and his Word. This isn’t just living in peace but following His love, and I believe there are those who want to crush freedom loving Americans in order to further their own power, wealth, and worldwide control. The greatness of the United States is our ability to know the difference and protect our great, beautiful country. Thank you for seeking answers to save and protect our children from those who wish to harm them. I believe this is due to a lack of mental health care and closed psychiatric hospitals that serve the sickest psychotic among us. This is the place to begin and find hope.

1 month ago

It’s the hearts and minds of those individuals causing these atrocities, not the guns. those individuals are inherently evil, wether it’s a mental issue or a heart issue their evil. and they can accomplish the results with knives or vehicles or other means, it’s not the guns. There are so many laws on the books now for background checks, and we have millions of gun owners who don’t commit crimes against others, some even protect other individuals by having a gun. Example a babtist church in Texas and numerous other churches and public situations. as a minister you should be well aware of evil. I’ll be like the lieutenant and keep mine because I know what evil people are capable of.

Lieutenant Beale
2 months ago

With all due respect, Pastor, you sound a lot like the pacifist Rabbis in WWII.
As one who has a holocaust survivor in my family, I will never surrender my weapon.
Treating mental illness and tightening control on psychotropic drugs will be far more effective.
The men who wrote the second amendment didn’t just return from a hunting trip. They liberated a nation.

David Millikan
2 months ago

I agree with you Lieutenant.

1 month ago


I concur.

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