Editorial: Where did Eric and Dylan go wrong?

The writer is the 15-year-old son of Joe and Jody Kirkpatrick. He attends the Christian Church of God, Clovis, N.M.

By Jason Kirkpatrick

PORTALES, N.M.--April 20, 1999. Bullets fly through the air as gunmen open fire on innocent people. Blood gushes. The terrified cries of the dying echo through the chaos. Is this a scene from the battle lines in Kosovo?

No, this is the scene in a public high school in Littleton, Colo. The gunmen are not trained adults but teenagers, and the victims are mostly kids.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters, killed 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives. Two months after the tragedy, questions still trouble us. The biggest question is why.

Why would two teens with their whole lives ahead of them do such a thing? What should we do? They used guns, right? Should we ban guns? Who's to blame? The kids? The parents? Society?

The answers to these questions aren't easy.

Bullied adolescents

Acquaintances of the murderers say the boys were constantly harassed by other students. They weren't cool, so they were teased. Is this a good reason to turn a school into a living hell?

No, the reason for the outrage goes far beyond that. Most bullied adolescents do not turn into mass murderers. These boys were a product of our degrading and deteriorating society, diminishing morals and lack of proper raising. Let's start with society.

As a people Americans have strayed farther and farther from God. We have leaders who commit adultery, lie and steal. Homosexuality runs rampant and is accepted. Evolution is taught in schools, next door to classes on safe sex and the use of condoms. When we stray from God, we suffer the consequences. The killing in Colorado is a result of society's turn from God.

What about parents? Teens tend to dislike their parents for many reasons, but one reason stands out: punishment. We hate to be punished. But do you realize that your parents punish you because--don't faint--they love you?

When you're being disciplined you don't usually think of love.

But, if your parents never punished you or set standards for you to follow, when you grew up you would think you could do anything and get away with it.

If you never learned right from wrong, maybe you wouldn't see why, for example, you couldn't murder the idiot who fired you.

The parents of the Littleton gunmen should be ashamed, embarrassed and punished. They should be punished for not disciplining their children and showing them the difference between right and wrong.

But, as much as we might like to, we cannot always blame Mom and Dad. Everyone, even kids with great parents, messes up now and then. You have a choice.

Eric Harris had a choice. For some reason he and his friend chose poorly. To kill my classmates or not to kill my classmates: That is the question.

The two boys chose what's wrong because they lacked God.

Targeting firearms

If we force God from our lives, as the two gunmen apparently did, we lack the help from God to makeright choices.

With these things to think about, one more thing pops into the picture: guns. Antigun activists try to blame guns for the tragedy. People kill people; guns don't kill people. A firearm is a machine, and it works only when a human being picks it up and fires it.

Many people think outlawing guns will solve our problems. Congress and legislatures are trying to pass many new laws that would ban the sale of guns of any type. These laws probably won't pass in the near future, but we're closer to the day when no law-abiding citizen will own a gun.

Will a ban on guns work? Let's say, before the Littleton shootings, a law passed that all firearms were illegal and anyone caught in possession of one would be thrown in jail. Eric Harris and his pal Dylan decide to get back at all the stupid jocks. They illegally obtain firearms and go on a shooting spree.

But wait! We've got gun laws. So the Littleton massacre couldn't have happened, right?

Wrong. Just because something is illegal doesn't mean people don't have access to it. Are drugs illegal? Of course. Do people still obtain and use drugs?

Yes, and not in small numbers. Why would guns be any different?

Keep in mind that the guns used in the Littleton massacre were illegal. The laws that were supposed to prevent this kind of thing were already in place but did not prevent it. Why would a ban on guns change anything?

Why is anything wrong?

One last item seems simple, yet it's the most important. Why was this act wrong? Was this act wrong because society said so? Was it because our laws say so? Was it because we say so?

The answer is simple. The massacre was wrong because God said so. God gave us a set of rules to follow, 10 of them. The sixth one says specifically, "Thou shalt not murder." It doesn't say, "Thou shalt not murder unless thou art being picked on or unless thou hateth dumb jocks or unless someone driveth a nice car and thou coveteth it."

God loves each of us, so He doesn't want any harm to come to us. That's why murder is wrong. That's why the Colorado shootings are wrong, plain and simple: because God says so.

April 20, 1999: a day that will live forever in the hearts of Americans. Two crazed kids lacked God and did the unthinkable. As a nation, we need to turn to God. As a society, we need to clean up our morals. As individuals, we need to help the nation and society do this.

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