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Aaron Johnson: What happened?

Today flags are flying at half-staff. Another wound has been opened on the American conscience.

In what seems to be a random act of intentional evil, six souls lost their lives in a senseless shooting in Nashville. My heart is torn for each family member who is mourning such a needless loss.

What happened? I mean what happened to the fiber of our nation? I was raised around firearms and never considered them a weapon. They were tools used for hunting and sport shooting. I was taught to treat all guns as loaded and never, under any circumstance point  any firearm at anything you didn’t intend to shoot. They were not toys. I was taught to treat them with respect and how to use and care for them.

Later on, in high school JROTC, my aim was good enough to be on the high school rifle team. We traveled to other local schools for competition. We were provided match grade .22 caliber rifles. They also provided ammunition. Any time we had free time we could go to the armory, located in the school, and draw a rifle, ammunition, and go to the rifle range and shoot.

The rifle range was not an elaborate set up. It too was on the campus of the high school.  When not in use, it was cleverly disguised as the concession stand at the football field. All ROTC cadets brought egg cartons from home and we stapled them on the ceiling to make a red neck sound deadening system.

Take a moment and get the picture. It is fourth period study hall and I have nothing to do. I walk to SMG Hendrix’s office and telling him I want to draw a rifle and shoot. He gives me the key to the locker where the rifles and ammo are stored, as well as the key to the camouflaged rifle range. I then walk through the halls of good ole Boaz High with 500 rounds of ammo and a rifle over my shoulder. After driving to the indoor range, aka concession stand, I proceed to burn through all 500 rounds. After cleaning my rifle, I return it to the locker and return the key to MSG Hendrix.

I had to get to my next class because it was AG. Today I think they call it Industrial Arts or something more modern. It was the class that taught you how to do everything you need to know. We learned how to saw a board, wire a switch, tune a car, weld a bead, and how to use tools properly.

I had to get back to the next class because we were shooting skeet that day. I brought my Stevens double-barrel and a bunch of the guys did the same. An hour a day for a week, Mr. Jackson taught us what I already knew, firearms safety. All who passed the test got to shoot skeet. Everybody passed the test. We shot our shotguns over the sugar cane we had planted the year before. All this took place on campus.

Our teachers could do this because we had parents that backed them up. Had I been disrespectful to a teacher my father would have killed me. He actually did a couple of times; but never for disrespect. It just seems to me that parents have decided the schools should rase the kids and if they have a problem at school then it is the teacher’s problem, not the parents.

Dr. James Dobson said it best, “The problem in schools today is that the teachers are afraid of the administration, the administration is afraid of the school board, the school board is afraid of the parents, the parents are afraid of the children, and the children aren’t afraid of anything.”

Amen James! Oh, and he said that over 40 years ago. That was before video games of  indiscernible violence were the hottest item on every kids Christmas list, and songs that glorified murder were awarded and celebrated. I know they say that video games and songs don’t lead to violence. Yet advertisers paid $7 million for 30 seconds of time in this year’s Super Bowl.

Parents, be parents and maybe just maybe your child won’t cause another flag to fly at half-staff.

In memory of: Mike, Katherine, Cynthia, Hallie, Evelyn, William.

Aaron Johnson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. He is pastor of Christ Redeemer Church in Guntersville.

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