Do you remember the first time you heard about a mass shooting? A deranged murderer went to a crowded place, began pulling the trigger, and rapidly killed and wounded a number of people. It was a breathtaking shock to even hear of such a demonic event. Now we are used to it.
The names of these places become burned into our memories: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Stoneman Douglas High, Sandy Hook, Uvalde. The list keeps growing. According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, the horrifying Uvalde shooting was the 252nd time this year that someone in the United States wounded or killed four or more people in one outburst. At the current trajectory, we are headed for a total of 670 such shootings this year, nearly double what the mass shooting rate was a decade ago.
What has gone wrong? Leftists claim it’s the ease with which Americans can purchase firearms. But Americans have purchased firearms with ease for centuries. The percentage of households owning guns is actually at a near-40-year low, and numerous gun restrictions have been enacted in recent decades. Gun ownership does not explain why mass shootings are increasing. The leftist agenda is to ban private gun ownership, regardless of what the statistics are. Many conservatives recognize this.
But conservatives do not have the answer to mass shootings either.
A Killer’s Mind
One of the worst things a parent can discover is that a school shooter has murdered their child. Perhaps the worst thing a parent can discover is that he or she produced a monster who murdered children.
The only way to understand mass shootings is to understand the mass shooter. The only way to understand the mass shooter is to understand what has influenced his mind, from the beginning. That means you have to understand his family, or lack thereof.
Mass shooters are almost exclusively male, from unsound families, often fatherless, rebellious against authority of all kinds, and susceptible to influences of violence. Institute for Family Studies research shows that a boy raised by a single mother is twice as likely to end up delinquent compared to boys who have good relationships with their fathers.
The Uvalde shooter, Salvador Ramos Jr., did not have a good relationship with his father, was rebellious against authorities, cared strongly about his access to the Internet, and loved violent video games. Both his parents had criminal histories, they separated when he was young, and Ramos lived with his mother. He had screaming matches with her so intense that police were called to intervene. He reportedly left or was kicked out when his mother discontinued their Internet service. He moved into his grandparents’ home. His grandfather, who also had a criminal history, said his grandson was quiet and stayed in his room a lot. Ramos complained about his grandmother and thought about moving in with his paternal grandparents instead, but decided not to because they lacked Wi-Fi.
When Ramos was born in 2004, nothing destined him to become a mass murderer of schoolchildren 18 years and eight days later. His future, like every child’s future, would depend on the love, instruction and discipline given to him by his parents. But no one cared enough to teach him, to help him, to correct him, or to keep him from absorbing whatever dark Internet influences interested him. His family did not stop him from disrespecting authorities, committing vandalism, torturing animals, intimidating others, getting into fistfights, and purchasing military-style rifles. One day he argued with his grandmother over a telephone bill, shot her in the face, stole her vehicle, crashed it, ran into the local elementary school, shot his way into a classroom, began playing eerie music, and fired 164 rounds at and into innocent third- and fourth-graders and their teachers.
“My mom tells me he probably would have shot me too,” the killer’s father said, “because he would always say I didn’t love him.”
“[A]s the nation seeks to make sense of these senseless shootings, we must also face the uncomfortable truth that turmoil at home all too often accounts for the turmoil we end up seeing spill onto our streets and schools,” W. Bradford Wilcox wrote in his article “Sons of Divorce, School Shooters.” “The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer.”
How true this is in the case of Ramos. Yet this was written in December 2013 regarding the case of Adam Lanza. Wilcox was writing in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, when Lanza, 20, murdered his mother, then drove to an elementary school and murdered six staff members and 20 children, ages 6 and 7.
Killers Are Made
After Uvalde, Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Judge Jeanine Pirro if anybody had done a systematic study of what mass shooters have in common. Pirro told him that most prosecutors do not want to answer such questions. Still, many such studies have been done, and mass shooters are almost always fatherless boys addicted to violent entertainment.
“Start with a boy,” commentator Matt Walsh wrote. “Take away his father. Sit him in front of a screen all day. Feed him porn. Feed him an endless stream of content. Give him no moral formation. No guidance. No companionship. Give him drugs. Isolate him. That’s how you make a school shooter.”
What is truly scary is that this country is full of boys whose fathers are absent, who sit in front of screens all day, who watch pornography, whose attitudes and ideas are absorbed from and formed by media producers, who have neither authoritative guidance nor companionship, who take illegal and prescription drugs, who are isolated. This country is full of parents who have not motivated their children and have left the door wide open for someone else to do so.
One major influence, if not motivation, is video games through which players live out fantasies of assault, rape and murder. The Columbine killers played Doom and Quake. The Sandy Hook killer played Call of Duty, Dead or Alive and Grand Theft Auto. The Uvalde killer played Call of Duty and Fortnite.
Many parents know that a huge percentage of teenage boys play huge amounts of video games. They know that many of the most popular games are based on gamers participating in realistic violence. These parents dismiss them as harmless entertainment. But it is a fact that militaries use violent video games to condition soldiers to seeing and participating in violence. It’s a fact that viewing even cartoon violence has the same effect on a child’s developing brain as viewing actual violence, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Much can be written solely about violent video games. But it’s enough to say that you live in a society where millions of males, teenage and older, are spending hours a day playing games like Amnesia, Bulletstorm, Dead Space, The Evil Within, Friday the 13th, Hatred, Hellblade, Kindergarten Killer, The Last of Us, Left for Dead, Manhunt, Mortal Kombat, Police Shootout, Postal, Rape Day, Resident Evil, Sanitarium, Silent Hill, Soma, Splatterhouse and so many more.
Twisted violence in massively popular video games is part of twisted violence across our entertainment. What do you think hyper-realistic, enticing, addicting and gratuitous bodily violence does to those teenagers and children (and adults) who play it over and again in between watching it on television, online and in the movies?
What do you think twisted sex is doing to the minds of boys and men? Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between watching pornography and committing sexual violence. Psychology Today has reported that men who act aggressively toward women are typically heavy pornography users.
Our society is pumping out more and more violent video games, twisted Internet forums, dehumanizing pornography, dark movies and violent thrills of endless kinds. It is also pumping out more young male sex perverts and mass murderers.
There have always been a certain number of fatherless children in America. But today’s fatherless are far more numerous and indulging in far worse mind-destroying temptations than ever.
When massacres occur, political commentators on both sides launch into their explanations. Radical liberals like former United States President Barack Obama say the problem is the gun. After the Uvalde shooting, he blamed the “gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies.” Yet many Americans remember growing up with boys having hunting rifles in racks in their trucks in the school parking lot. Gun restrictions have drastically increased since then. It’s not the guns that have changed society; it’s the people.
“The fact is that there’s no big advances in firearm lethality compared to what citizens could own decades before we ever had regular mass shootings,” Mark Hemingway, a senior writer at RealClearInvestigations, noted on Twitter. “I’m open to hearing about gun legislation, but it’s our culture that changed to enable this—not guns” (May 24).
What has changed is that we don’t know how to raise our children. That is why some of them, in extreme cases that are growing more and more frequent, end up murdering. Tom Klebold, Wayne Harris, Salvador Ramos Sr., Peter Lanza and the fathers of other mass shooters may not have raised their children to become monsters. But someone did. There is a spirit of hatred, murder and evil in the world, on the video game console, streaming on Wi-Fi, that is after your children. If we don’t fight for the right spirit, our children are going to be raised by that spirit.
And that spirit is even worse now than it ever has been. Families are breaking apart, movies are getting more violent, pornography is more accessible than ever before, mental illness is increasing, and more Americans are taking psychotropic medication than at any point in history. All these factors are contributing to a fundamental transformation of society that is churning out mass shooters and other psychotic criminals!
Something is attacking our boys’ minds by attacking our families!
According to the Violence Project, indiscriminate mass shootings are about six times more common now than they were in the 1970s. This data shows that something dramatic happened to America in the 1980s. My father, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry, explains this in his book America Under Attack.
“The tide turned in a big way in 1987,” he writes. “Law started to get a lot weaker. And lawlessness started to grow much, much stronger. Such a massive lurch toward lawlessness has a cause. This prophecy in Revelation 12 reveals that cause.”
The Spirit World
People don’t want to acknowledge the clear and present reality of a spirit world—even after a dead-eyed 18-year-old spends 80 minutes playing demonic music and murdering children. They make passing references to “family problems,” “absentee fathers,” “violent video games,” “disturbing behavior,” “unnerving online posts,” “anti-social outbursts” and “problems with authority,” then spend the rest of their time parsing whether some psychiatrist got a prescription for psychotropic drugs right, the age at which a person should buy a gun, and how school door locks work.
But they still wonder, “Why are these things happening?”
They are happening because our children’s minds are under attack! They are happening because the spirit world is real. There are evil beings just as real as you and me, with personalities and goals that are demonstrated by the violence they are influencing mass shooters to do!
A person doesn’t just “snap.” Those “side issues” of family problems, fatherhood failures and wicked entertainment are the main issues! Spirit influence is real, but each person makes his own choice on how to act on those influences. Wrong choices in these main areas of mental, emotional, character development open the door wide to the evil, to the point that the horror genre becomes reality at a local elementary school.
Ignoring this truth is radically irrational. Yet that is what most of us do rather than admit that evil exists, that it comes from somewhere—and that our society-wide atheistic evolutionary premise is wrong.
In America Under Attack, my father explains that the Bible prophesies a war in heaven, in which great angelic beings fought against Satan and his demons until God cast Satan down to Earth (Revelation 12:9-12). This happened in 1986, when the late Herbert W. Armstrong died. The dramatic increase in lawlessness that has occurred after his death has been due to Satan being cast down, knowing that he now has “but a short time.”
This is why mass shootings have been increasing for the past 35 years. Demons prey on the fatherless, the neglected and abandoned, the drugged and empty minds, and those who love violent entertainment.
This is the reason that, while the percentage of Americans who own guns has declined since the mid-1980s, the percentage of fatherless children addicted to violent entertainment has increased. This is why, at this point, the idea of kids carrying gun cases on the bus for riflery class at high school seems like fantasy.
“There is cause and effect,” my father wrote in “The Real Solution to Mass Shootings and Violence.” “There is a cause for every problem. The cause of our violent and bloody crimes is that we as a society have rejected God’s law! … That law would bring peace and abundance to our society in every way. The more we transgress it, the worse our bloody crimes become” (Philadelphia Trumpet, October 2019). The Texas elementary school shooting is proof of this statement. American society has abandoned God’s law, so Satan and his demons are exploiting the void to create a world where corrupted youth commit crime after horrific crime. The Prophet Ezekiel said these bloody crimes would become like links in a chain, where one link leads right to the next and the next and the next (Ezekiel 7:23).
“Demons prey on empty minds! A mind not filled with God’s truth is fertile ground for these perverted spirit beings,” my father wrote in October 2017 in “Charlottesville Violence—The Real Danger Is Invisible.” We must understand this now and stop believing the mass lie that the spirit world is a fantasy and that the only reality is physical matter and energy. There is a spirit dimension—a right spirit and a wrong spirit—motivating people for good or evil.
“Demons are the hidden cause of our society’s many incurable problems,” my father continued. “They have far more power than humans do. The only way we can fight back is with God’s power.”
But if we forsake God, God forsakes us. That is the point Jesus Christ was making when He described a demon returning to a man’s mind and bringing seven other demons with him (Matthew 12:43-45).
Our society is unraveling because we are forsaking family and the laws of the family. We are indulging in evils, both subtle and blatant. The problem is inside our families and inside us. Don’t let another school massacre go by without facing that jolting but crucial fact.
The problem is that mass shootings trace back to how we raise our children—and we don’t know how to raise our children. That is the object lesson to learn, and to learn now.
The right spirit, obedience to the law of God, is the only way to raise children right. Fight for it, and fight for your sons—because someone else is fighting for them.