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Let's not honor violence by allowing it to drive us apart

Robert Niles
Published: December 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM (MST)
So my son's school is getting locked down for an hour tomorrow morning. The school announced the drill in response to last week's shooting in Connecticut. One of my former Disney co-workers posted to Facebook this morning that her child is home today because all of their local schools are closed due to "security threats." The often-excellent Free Range Kids blog today posted a note from a day care that's now prohibiting parents from holding the door open for each other, again, due to security concerns.

Isn't the death of 20 young students and six heroic teachers and administrators enough? Must we let this terrorist - and that's what mass shooters such as this person I will not name intend to be - make millions of other American schoolchildren and their families his victims as well?

This is when we need to come together, not to split part. When someone attacks us, we ought to work harder to strengthen the bonds of community, service and civility that bring us together. That is how we reduce violence in our communities, not by throwing more locks on the doors. As my church's minister said from the pulpit this week, "Violence is less likely when people come together to hear each other’s stories, when they do not judge each other, when they do not come together thinking they are more right or better than others."

Random violence happens more easily when our neighbors become "the other" instead of our friends. Lockdowns, school closings and mandated incivility won't bring us together. They leave us living apart in fear -- which is exactly what mass shooters, terrorists and those who profit from the fear of others want.

How ironic that a nation where the majority of people call themselves Christians would again ignore the words of their Savior. From the "red text" -- Matthew 5, starting at verse 38: "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."

Turning the other cheek isn't act of cowardice. It's an act of defiance. It demonstrates more bravery, more honor than striking back ever would. Do you want to honor the heroes of Sandy Hook? Then speak up against lockdowns, closures, and putting more guns in more hands in more communities. Instead of emergency lockdowns, I'd love to see schools across the country schedule emergency open houses. If we want to make a safer America for our children, we need to come together, not split apart.

Turn the other cheek.

Robert Niles is the author of How to Make Money Publishing Community News Online, a guidebook for website publishers, available for Kindle and in paperback.

Robert Niles also can be found at

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