After a deadly mass murder took place at a Florida high school on February 14, students across America have spoken out about the need for greater gun control. These young people have been convinced that if they apply pressure, lawmakers will ban more firearms, require more background checks, and prevent future school shootings.
These students have been sorely deceived.
You may think you have heard everything there is to hear about the Parkland shooting, but here is some important information that could change your view of that tragedy.
Listen to the full story here on Trumpet Hour …
There is an extremely valuable lesson we can take from this. It is a principle we need to apply as a society, and that each of us must apply as individuals, in order to be protected from such tragedies.
This is not just another opinion. This is what the Bible specifically and repeatedly says about the matter. This is God’s view on this subject.
The senseless murders Nikolas Cruz committed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were pure evil. Anybody can recognize that.
The fundamental yet controversial question is, how do we deal with evil? What is our attitude toward it, and what actions do we take against it?
The tragedy in Parkland happened because we got the answer to that question dangerously and fatally wrong.
We make this mistake at our peril. You may be making this mistake without even realizing it.
‘Education Not Incarceration’
This story begins several years ago in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
We start with a press release from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Feb. 15, 2012, with the headline, “Miami-Dade Schools Police Reduces Juvenile Delinquency by 60 Percent.” “Miami-Dade Schools Police (m-dspd) was recently commended by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice for dramatically decreasing school-related delinquency in Miami-Dade County public schools.
“m-dspd has the distinction of decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011, which was the largest decline in any school district in the state.”
The Miami-Dade Public School System has its own police force, including sheriff’s deputies called “school resource officers.” Its police chief is appointed by and reports to the school board and superintendent, not the municipal police.
Then chief of schools police, Charles Hurley, said in the press release: “Three years ago we set out to create and maintain a police department focused on redefining our role and reaffirming our values through prevention, intervention, enforcement and education. Our mantra is education not incarceration” (emphasis added throughout).
This press release says that administrators and school police took a “student-centered approach to law enforcement by engaging and helping students and their families.”
This sounds good and noble. But what are the effects? Six years ago, when Miami-Dade Public Schools faced the question, How do we deal with evil?, their answer was to excuse criminal behavior among students.
Case Study: Trayvon Martin
One Miami-Dade School District student was a teenager named Trayvon Martin. He was exactly the kind of kid this education-not-incarceration program was intended to keep out of jail.
A respected blog called Conservative Treehouse documents Martin’s school career. This can all be verified by copies of the original documents, press releases, police reports, court transcripts and affidavits.
In October 2011, Trayvon was searched at his high school by school resource officer Darryl Dunn, who found a cache of ladies’ jewelry, a man’s watch, and a flathead screwdriver he described in his report as “a burglary tool.”
An internal affairs investigation by the Miami-Dade Schools Police later revealed that these items had been stolen in a burglary a few blocks from Trayvon’s high school.
But Officer Dunn never filed a criminal report or opened a criminal investigation on the matter. Conservative Treehouse reported, “Instead, and as a result of pressure from m-dspd Chief Hurley to avoid criminal reports for black male students, Dunn wrote up the jewelry as ‘found items,’ and transferred them, along with the burglary tool, to the Miami-Dade Police property room where they sat on a shelf unassigned to anyone for investigation” (May 1, 2013).
The school system simply chose not to treat burglary as a crime.
School administrators and school police also covered up Trayvon’s possessions of marijuana and falsified the incident reports. The school district also implemented a policy “forbidding the sharing of Miami-Dade School Police reports to outside agencies without redaction. Officers had to send any and all requests through the public information officer” (ibid). This policy could have no purpose other than covering up their manipulation of the numbers.
They went to extraordinary lengths to improve their statistics.
Well—the statistics improved. All you have to do to achieve “an impressive 60 percent” decline in delinquency is to stop considering burglary and marijuana possession as criminal acts.
How did they deal with evil? Rather than stopping it, Miami-Dade administrators accommodated it.
How did this policy affect Trayvon’s behavior? In his junior and senior years, his text messages indicate he was smoking marijuana, getting into fistfights, and considering buying a pistol. And just 11 days after Miami-Dade schools issued that press release—and only three days after he was caught with marijuana again and was simply suspended from school instead of being referred to police—he was wandering the streets with enough thc in him to impair his body and mind, he got into an altercation with someone trying to protect his neighborhood, and he was shot and killed!
That “student-centered approach to law enforcement” did keep Trayvon out of jail—but it certainly did not help his character or put his life on a better path. It may well have contributed to his appalling, premature death.
The statistical decline in juvenile delinquency in Miami-Dade was hailed as a terrific success. The Broward County School District decided to follow suit. Broward, the seventh-largest school district in the country, had the highest number of school-related arrests in the state during the 2011–2012 school year. District officials wanted to improve their statistics like Miami-Dade had. (This would make them eligible for additional state and federal grant money.) So the school board and district superintendent made a deal with Broward County law enforcement officials and the naacp to stop arresting students for crimes.
Why was the naacp, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, involved in an agreement with law enforcement and a school district? Because the real intent of the policy was to reduce arrests of young black men. A Nov. 5, 2013, Associated Press report cited Department of Education data showing that nationwide, over 70 percent of students involved in school-related arrests or law enforcement referrals are black or Hispanic.
The following language was included as the basis for the deal to stop arresting students: “Whereas, across the country, students of color, students with disabilities, and lgbtq students are disproportionately impacted by school-based arrests for the same behavior as their peers ….”
That is a dramatic condemnation: School administrators deciding whether or not to have students arrested for crimes based on race, sexual orientation or physical handicap. Of course, there is no evidence of schools disproportionately cracking down on misbehavior from handicapped students. The use of such language exposes the nakedly political nature of this agreement, based on an explicit accusation of outright racism and bigotry.
There’s more. This agreement was “one of the first comprehensive plans bringing together district officials, police and the state attorney’s office to create an alternative to the zero-tolerance policies prevalent in many schools. The move is designed to cut down on what has become known as the ‘school-to-prison pipeline,’ where students accused of offenses like disrupting class or loitering are suspended, arrested and charged with crimes” (ibid).
Farcically, this article also refers to an Obama-era “Justice Department lawsuit that claims there is a ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ in part of the state that locks up students for minor infractions like flatulence or vulgar language.” As if students who passed gas in class were going to prison for it. As if the real problem isn’t the offenses committed by the young people, but rather bigoted and racist school officials overeager to criminalize students.
The plan, therefore, was to handle more student misbehavior within the school. AP reported that for “non-violent misdemeanors”—including possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia—“administrators are instructed to try and resolve the situation without an arrest.” It describes the use of “graduated levels of school-based interventions. After a fifth incident, students are referred to law enforcement” (ibid). AP went on to state that in less than one academic year, Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie reported a decline in school-related arrests of 41 percent.
Another success story, brought to you by a simple change in policy: Just stop arresting criminals.
Is this going to make a school safer? Is it going to help the other students? Is it even going to help these young criminals?
Conservative Treehouse reported, “Initially the police were excusing misdemeanor behaviors. However, it didn’t take long until felonies, even violent felonies (armed robberies, assaults and worse) were being excused. The need to continue lowering the arrests year-over-year meant that increasingly more severe unlawful behavior had to be ignored. Over time even the most severe of unlawful conduct was being filtered by responding police. We found out about it when six cops blew the whistle on severe criminal conduct they were being instructed to hide. [It was these whistle-blowers who exposed the truth about Trayvon Martin.] The sheriff and police chiefs were telling street cops and school cops to ignore ever worsening criminal conduct. … The police would take the stolen merchandise and intentionally falsify police records to record stolen merchandise as if they just found it on the side of the road. They put drugs and stolen merchandise in bags, and sent it to storage rooms in the police department. Never assigning the recovery to criminal conduct. Stolen merchandise was just sitting in storage rooms gathering dust. They couldn’t get the stuff back to the victim because that would mean the police would have to explain how they took custody of it. So they just hid it” (February 22).
That is a tremendous amount of deceit. Here is a general rule: If you think you are going to help people through lying and deceit, you are deceiving yourself.
Everything about this policy has a foul stench. Think of these school district officials, the sheriff, the police chiefs, the school resource officers—they were not thinking about the victims of these thefts, robberies and assaults, or even about the welfare of the students committing the crimes.
They were thinking about the statistics—and about the political and financial benefits it would bring them to create the appearance of success in their progressive approach to juvenile crime. They wanted to rig the system to “prove” that high incarceration rates among young black men are caused by racist policing, or that catching and releasing a budding criminal was a more enlightened “student-centered approach.”
Crime at Broward schools did not vanish—it flourished. “From 2012 through 2018 it only got worse. In Broward and Miami-Dade it is almost impossible for a student to get arrested. The staff within the upper levels of [law enforcement officers] keep track of arrests, and when a certain number is reached, all else is excused. Well it didn’t take long for criminal gangs in Broward and Miami-Dade to realize the benefit of using students for their criminal activities. After all, the kids would be let go … so organized crime became easier to get away with if they enlisted high school kids. As criminals became more adept at the timing within the offices of the officials, they timed their biggest crimes to happen after the monthly maximum arrest quota was made. The most serious of armed robberies etc were timed for later in the month or quarter. The really serious crimes were timed in the latter phases of the data collection periods. This way the student criminals were almost guaranteed to get away with it.”
This is the shocking, shameful environment under which Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School operated.
The job of these administrators was to protect these kids. Instead, they sacrificed them to protect their twisted ideology.
What happens when you don’t deal forcibly with evil? What happens when you create a system more interested in statistics than in students?
The Miami Herald reported this on February 20 about one Broward County Public School District student: “At times, Nikolas Cruz’s behavior could be a school administrator’s nightmare: Teachers and other students said he kicked doors, cursed at teachers, fought with and threatened classmates, and brought a backpack with bullets to school. He collected a string of discipline for profanity, disobedience, insubordination and disruption.”
He told one therapist that he had a dream in which he murdered people and was drenched in human blood. A relative called the Broward Sheriff’s Office (bso) urging officers to seize Cruz’s weapons. A tipster called the bso saying he “could be a school shooter in the making.”
Administrators transferred him to a special school, then to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, then back out of Marjory, then between three other institutions. This serial school hopping was the only option the school district left itself after having resolved not to actually discipline students.
Many people knew how crazy this student was, but they were helpless to do anything.
Besides being handicapped by policies that prevented them from decisively confronting the threat of a student like Cruz, these schools were being patrolled by school resource officers who were routinely covering up student criminality in order to shield them from the police.
In 2014, guess who won the award for School Resource Officer of the Year given by the Broward County Crime Commission. Scot Peterson. They credited him with handling issues “with tact and judgment,” and said he was “active in mentoring and counseling students.” He was a faithful adherent to the motto of “education not incarceration”—accommodation, not confrontation.
Miami Herald reported, “Two years ago, according to a newly released time line of interactions with Cruz’s family, a deputy investigated a report that Cruz ‘planned to shoot up the school’—intelligence that was forwarded to the school’s resource officer, with no apparent result” (February 22).
Who was this resource officer? Scot Peterson. And why did Officer Peterson do nothing? Because he was demonstrating his award-winning “tact and judgment.” He was doing his part to keep this Hispanic student out of the “school-to-prison pipeline” and to minimize arrests—especially of minority students.
He was doing his job exactly the way the program directed him to do it.
And this was the sheriff’s deputy on duty the day that Nikolas Cruz took a semiautomatic rifle into Building 1200 and shot 34 people, leaving 17 lying dead. When shots sounded, the 2014 Parkland School Resource Officer of the Year came onto the scene in his bulletproof vest, sidearm in hand, ran to the side of the building, set up in a defensive position, then waited four minutes.
Until the gunfire stopped.
We Are in a War
How do we deal with evil? The real lesson of the Parkland tragedy is this: If you do not confront evil, it will end up destroying you.
The people behind this mass accommodation of evil have masterfully diverted blame away from themselves and pinned it on guns. But the 17 people who died in Parkland didn’t die because of too few gun laws. They died because of a dangerous, wrong-headed approach to dealing with evil.
Evil spreads. Bad habits lead to addictions. Destructive cultural forces like vulgarity, violence and family breakdown multiply and worsen. Political tyrants keep conquering territory and people until some stronger force intervenes to stop them.
Our society profoundly denies this plain fact. You see it in parents who do not bridle their children. You see it in judges who protect criminals rather than their victims. You see it in politicians who insist that our enemies will change if we just negotiate with them. If we won’t identify evil as something to be fought, we are helpless to resist it.
The failure to deal with Nikolas Cruz is just one illustration of a whole culture dangerously tolerant of evil.
Evil is real in our world. And whether we realize it or not, we are in a war against it. Many people want to accommodate it, negotiate with it, understand it, explain it. Those people will succumb to it.
Because we are not fighting evil with enough force, it is forcefully overcoming us! Other forms of what happened in Florida will happen in our families, our marriages and our minds if we do not confront evil.
How Does God Deal With Evil?
The God of the Bible is a God of love. He is “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin …” (Exodus 34:6-7). But He also “will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
He says in Exodus 23:7, “I will not justify the wicked.”
“The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest …” (Psalm 11:5-6). “[T]he Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm …. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him” (Nahum 1:2-3, 6).
The New Testament says that God “will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil …” (Romans 2:6-9). And Hebrews 12:29 says that “our God is a consuming fire.”
In His laws for ancient Israel, God commanded punishments for crimes that protected not the perpetrators of evil but the past and potential future victims of it. His forceful, speedy punishments deterred future criminals!
His instruction to parents in raising their children applies the same principle: Whenever and wherever you see evil in a child, confront it and drive it out! That is what Trayvon Martin and Nikolas Cruz desperately needed.
Proverbs 13:24 says if you spare the rod, you hate your son, but if you love him, you will chasten him promptly. The parent who loves his child springs into action when he sees evil. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). The Parkland tragedy is bitter proof.
In Romans 13, the Apostle Paul says that God puts the authorities of this world into positions of power in order to terrorize criminals! It says that the law enforcer “is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (verse 4).
Look what happens when law enforcement doesn’t do that job—when it tries to accommodate crime rather than executing wrath upon it!
Do You Hate Evil Enough?
What happened in Parkland was a result of trying to handle evil our own “more enlightened,” “more tolerant” way—rather than God’s way. People think they know the way to fairness, equality and righteousness. But if you are not looking to God’s definition of righteousness, it is self-righteousness! That is very dangerous. Look at the results!
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Are you willing to accept God’s view on this subject? “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7). “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10). “Hate the evil, and love the good …” (Amos 5:15). “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).
As a society, we simply do not hate evil enough!
A lot of people hate a lot of things, but we do not hate evil as God defines evil! We do not confront sin as God defines sin!
God confronts evil. He saw how it all started: when the archangel Lucifer, whom God created, started harboring vain thoughts that ultimately drove him to try to usurp God’s throne (read Ezekiel 28:14-18). God responded with violent force, kicking His adversary, and all his demons, out of heaven and casting them down to Earth. Read Revelation 12:7-12.
These schools want to avoid “exclusionary practices” like expulsion. God practices expulsion! He kicks evil out! (Romans 16:17; 2 John 10; 1 Corinthians 5:11).
The passage in Revelation 12 concludes with a chilling warning: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth … for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (verse 12). Yes, the devil is right here among us—even, in some respects, within us. Do you recognize him?
Why would God curse us with Satan’s presence? Because He wants us to learn to confront evil. And He wants us to witness firsthand the devastating consequences of failing to do so. Anywhere we fail to confront evil—among nations, within communities and schools, in our families, within ourselves—it will spread.
When God establishes His rule, He is going to put down evil! Rule with a rod of iron! That is the only way to deal with entrenched rebellion. You cannot reason—negotiate!—accommodate! It must be forcibly put down!
And because He is going to do that, He will turn Earth into a peaceful paradise!
The Bible is full of prophecies of the peace and prosperity this world will enjoy—very soon! But that is only possible because God will eliminate evil!
And that is what He expects us to be doing in our lives today.
Learn this lesson. Understand this principle. Witness the problems in our society for failing to apply it—and be sure you are applying it in your own life! If you do, then you can enjoy the peace that comes as a result—just as surely as it will be experienced all over the Earth very soon!
Confronting evil and overcoming sin requires a warrior mindset.It demands wholehearted dedication to the three-pronged battle against Satan the devil, our evil society and our own sinful human nature. Gerald Flurry’s booklet How to Be an Overcomer—Win Your War Against Sin serves as a type of soldier’s field manual for the Christian fight. It shows you, from your own Bible, how to search out the sin in your life and destroy it. Request a free copy today of How to Be an Overcomer, and reap these blessings that come from confronting and conquering sin—and winning this war!