Teach Your Children

Greg Gnall
3 min readFeb 20, 2024

The absurdity of the proliferation of guns in this country reached a new level when it was revealed that the would-be mass shooter at Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston, in a perverse version of “take your child to work day,” actually brought her seven year old son along to the intended fusillade. While it was unusual in itself that the shooter turned out to be a woman, who apparently had severe mental health issues, dragging her young son along, as though she was running an errand at the mall, shows just how much mass shootings have become mundane events in this country.

How terribly ironic that, after his mother, the son may become the second fatality in the attack, as he remains in critical condition, clinging to his life in a Houston hospital after being shot in the head during the gunplay that took the shooter’s life. It remains unclear who had fired the shot that may kill him.

It is not bad enough that mass shootings have become almost ordinary in daily news reports. Time after time, (mostly) male shooters gun down innocent people because of some personal gripe, racist or antisemitic motive or an extreme manifestation of mental illness. In the case of the Houston shooter, she had two out of three, as she had a history of psychotic behavior compounded by antisemitic rants against her ex-husband’s Jewish family.

Aside from the unusual circumstances of the presence of the shooter’s child at the Houston site, more children and teens than ever are involved in gun-related incidents, both as victims and perpetrators, such that the leading cause of death among children and teens in this country is now firearms-related, with more than 19,000 a year being killed or injured by gunfire. The events at the parade celebrating the hometown Kansas City Chiefs victory in the Super Bowl last week starkly demonstrated this trend as a couple of teens have been accused of killing a local DJ and injuring 22 others, half of them children, in what should have been a joyous day for the city.

Yet the gun lobby, fortified by a trigger-happy conservative Supreme Court, continues to expand on an extremist view of Second Amendment rights, continues to lobby for a virtually unfettered right to purchase and own a gun, systemically opposing even efforts to restrict access to weapons that could be better utilized by the Ukrainians in their battle to save their country from Russian aggression.

As it turns out, most teen school shooters actually get their guns from their homes. So maybe it is time to hold adults more responsible. In a first, a Michigan mother was recently convicted of manslaughter in connection with her son’s killing of four high school classmates by not only supplying the weapon as a Christmas present, but showing utter indifference to several warning signs the son had given that foretold the attack. The father’s trial is scheduled for March.

Until some kind of common sense prevails, we will continue to witness more cases of suicide, accidental killings and outright murder committed by children in many cases by use of weapons readily available in their home. Many of these could be prevented. If only adults would act their age, or at least find better child care when they are on their missions to kill.