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Florida High School Tragedy: Is Humanity Truly Progressing?

grieving teen

I believe that, as human and spiritual beings, we are going through one of the most significant paradigm shifts in contemporary history. Tremendous change is taking place all over the planet and there have been growing pains on multiple levels—spiritually, socially and politically.

One can make the case that humanity’s evolution has been progressing upward. It seems as new generations come on the scene, new ideas and ways of being emerge that nudge us closer to our true potential for healing, wholeness and oneness.

Yet the gunning down of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday that resulted in 17 deaths and scores of injuries calls into question whether humanity is evolving or whether we are going backwards.

My brother’s son attends a high school in the same county where the shootings took place. His son was deeply upset and rattled by what happened and asked, “Is it safe to go to school? What is going on?”

Needless to say, many have been asking the same question—as well as whether or not we are progressing as a species. Arriving at a solution to gun violence, particularly in America, is complex. There are crosscurrents of several issues: Second Amendment rights, mental illness and sensible gun-control laws to name a few.

In my conversations with others and in my own contemplation about the Florida high school tragedy, I kept thinking about a statement by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in which he reminded us to not let our “moral progress” fall behind our progress in science and technology. He went on to say, ”Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the ‘without’ of man's nature subjugates the ‘within,’ dark storm clouds begin to form in the world.”

One of the reasons there has been pushback on what most would agree to be sensible gun control is that materialism in the form of mere profits has overcome attention to humanitarian concerns. We cannot overstate how powerful the materialistic side of the equation has been when compared to the concern for human wellbeing. Look no further than the 26 people (20 six-year-old students and six adults) who were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. If there ever was a time to believe something would be done to further gun regulation, it would have been after witnessing the tremendous anguish those children’s parents and the world felt.

But after an initial uproar … crickets. Little to no action came from Congress. That’s how much sway the gun industry’s lobby has had in putting materialism over concerns for the soul and our humanity.

But there is hope. There is a sense that something different will happen this time. There is an emerging generation of young people, 15- to 18-year-olds, who are infusing their consciousness into the process of change. As one of the kids said, “They messed with the wrong ones.” These young activists are leveraging the power of social media and taking action to make a difference.

It has been said that the internet has the global brain, but what it is seeking is more of the global heart. The hearts of these young people have been broken, along with the hearts of anyone with a sense of compassion for their fellow human beings. Those broken hearts have lit a fire of passion that will not be easily extinguished. The odds may appear to be great. But broken hearts represent the energy of love—the most powerful force in the universe.

Although, at any given moment, it may appear humanity is not progressing, it is. Progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes events like what took place at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School serve as evolutionary triggers to move the right group of people to keep the spiral of human consciousness evolving upward.

This is who we really are. This is why we are here. Let us hold that vision together.

Peace and Blessings,


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