Courage, Cowardice, and the Parkland, Florida Shooting

The Courage to Enter

The news is still clamoring about the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  In case you missed it, a murderous coward whose name is not worth mentioning shot and killed 17 people and wounded 14 others.

I hope your blood boils over this. I hope your teeth clench and your soul whispers ‘oh, if I could have only been there to help those kids!’

Rage. It is right to do so.

What many people are further enraged by is that the Broward Country Sheriff deputies did not immediately enter the school (as is the national standard operating procedure) but instead setup a perimeter. I want to believe there was a reasonable explanation for this decision, and I don’t want to throw stones at those deputies as we all play arm-chair quarterback.

But, in scenarios where every second could be another dead kid, there is no time for perimeters. I know many cops who wouldn’t have hesitated. They are heroes and they are friends who have walked through the fire.

Run to the gun fire and kill the gunman as fast as possible. If you die in the process…it’s a good way to go. No more dead kids.

17 dead and 14 wounded in parkland, Florida shooting

Right, or wrong (and it looks very wrong), those deputies will have to live with that decision for the rest of their lives, as will the victims families and friends, and 17 kids will never again see the light of day.

Now as impassioned as I am on this subject, I don’t want to simply wag my finger. No, I’d rather be more constructive and ask the question: ‘would you enter immediately, or would you stand by?

Before you rush to answer “I’d run in and SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE!” I’d caution that every sheriff, security guard, military guy, and responsibly armed civilian would invariable say the same thing. Yet, many, most, would not run into the building. When the 9/11 towers fell and everyone was running out, only a few firemen were running INTO THE COLLAPSING TOWERS.

Real courage is RARE. 

Courage is the exception; not the rule.

We all imagine that WE of course would be courageous. We imagine ourselves the heroes of our own fanciful action movies.

But what makes us courageous? It is not simply because we put on a military or police uniform. It is not simply optimistic hope. It is not even training with guns. Though building a skill like shooting can build confidence so that less courage is required, training skills is still not what makes courage.

I believe courage is an outworking of our character.

Hero assistant football coach Aaron Feis

Meet assistant football coach Aaron Feis. Coach Feis used his body as a shield during the Parkland Shooting. He died of his wounds and lives in our hearts as a hero. What drove Coach Feis? Oh, simple. He loved his kids. He loved them to death.

Courage is a byproduct of some internal mover like faith, love, immortality, or even righteous fury. Courage is not something that can be demanded or coerced. It is not found on the gun range, it is grown in the heart.

Our movement is called the ‘Warrior Poet Society’ because we believe it is far more than the skill of our hands and the nature of our occupation that makes us courageous protectors of our fellow man. The warrior is skilled. The poet though, is passion. The warrior knows how to clear a room. The poet moves him to do so when his mind screams ‘flee’! In short, courage rests on the foundation of what/who is on the inside.

It is my prayer that we grow as poets. We must love people more than our own lives. Love others with reckless abandon as ‘there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear’ -1 John 4:18

Join our Society! Links below.

8 thoughts on “Courage, Cowardice, and the Parkland, Florida Shooting”

  1. 343 Firefighters were killed when the towers collapsed. I would say that is more than a few. I get what you are saying, and, I have worked with cops with whom I would not trust to clear a room with, let alone expect to enter an active shooter situation. Those that are in the profession as a calling will do everything in their power to stop the killer; those that are in the profession because it’s a job and/or for promotions would form a Perimeter.

  2. I confess that I am guilty of condemning the officers who didn’t run in. I am guilty of assuming my own bravery when, in fact, I have never been tested with such shocking brutality. If I’m honest, such bravery is something that I cannot be certain that I have. Or will have when called upon.
    I can only pray that, should the time ever come, I can summon the will and the strength to overcome my fear and act. But in all honesty, my most sincere prayer is that such a time never comes.
    Thank you, John, for making me consider not only my spiritual fitness, but my practical and financial fitness. Because of your messages, I have put my affairs in such an order that, God forbid, if I ever act and fall, I can do so with the certainty that I have loved my wife and children the best I could and provided for my family’s future. Most importantly, I know that I will rest in Christ. And who knows, maybe that will make me brave.

  3. Well said John.

    I pray that if God put me in such a situation I would:
    Trust in Him
    Answer His call
    Sacrifice
    Make Him proud(one day hear”…job well done good and faithful servant”

  4. Good read and good point. Thanks for all the hard work and energy you put in to the videos. Warrior on.

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