Flags are flying; red/white/blue scarves and ties are in abundance at church today. The patriotic music brings a tear. We remember. It’s Memorial Day Weekend.

Yet, even while we celebrate, families are mourning for lost children, not killed on the battlefield of Afghanistan, but on the streets of Santa Barbara. Once more, a deranged young man has wreaked havoc on a community and young girls are shot, killed, and wounded. Why? What is going on with the American youth? Why do we have Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson, and now Santa Barbara? There are many more but these particular tragedies were committed by young men with mental illness, acting out a vendetta.

It is particularly poignant for me because these were college students at UCSB. I love that area and attended Westmont College, also located near Santa Barbara. I have five granddaughters that will one day be in college. Is there no safe place in America? What has changed so dramatically from when I was a girl or the freedom and activities my children enjoyed?

The culture has radically changed and I remember a bumpersticker, Question authority, that was the rage in the sixties. Wikipedia states, “Question authority” is a popular slogan often used on bumperstickers, t-shirts and as graffiti. Originally quoted by ancient Greece philosopher Socrates, the slogan was popularized by controversial psychologist Timothy Leary. One of the most influential icons in the counterculture movement which formed in the late 1960s out of opposition to the Vietnam War’s escalation, Leary gained influence among much of the Western youth by advocating the use of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – which was criminalized in the United States in 1966 – as a way to escape from the burdens of society. Following the Watergate Scandal, which resulted in the resignation of US President Richard Nixon and the conviction of several officials in the Nixon administration, the slogan became arguably the most accepted form of ideology among baby boomers. It is intended to encourage people to avoid fallacious appeals to authority. The term has always symbolized the necessity of paying attention to the rules and regulations promulgated by a government unto its citizenry. However, psychologists have also criticized Leary’s method of questioning authority and have argued that it resulted in widespread dysfunctionality.”

I agree that our nation is one big, giant dysfunctional family. Our parents and grandparents would never even consider the options of this kind of disobedience or disrespect. We would have gotten a quick thump to the head (a la Gibbs to DiNozzo). We knew better than to even try.

Computers, video games, movies, music, welfare, fatherless homes, educational standards, divorce, social media, disgusting lyrics and explicit dancing, extended families miles apart, prayer forbidden in schools—let alone Bible reading. Yes, there is much to appreciate about the technological advances we enjoy today, but are they doing more harm than good? There is something to say about the ease, safety, and family times of the “good ol’ days.”

Life is not fair and never has been. But without competition, whether in the classroom, on the sports field, or in the board room, what is the incentive to achieve, to win, to be the best? Instead, we have the notion that we should all make the same amount of money, have a nice house, and no one wins or loses. That is a recipe for disaster and we are reaping the consequences.

As we remember those who have fallen so that we may enjoy “the good life” in the United States of America, the future for our loved ones is uncertain. Terrell Brown of CBS Evening News reported, “A recent study by the Urban Institute shows the net worth of today’s 30-somethings — adjusted for inflation — is down 21 percent from what 30-somethings enjoyed in 1983.” Money isn’t everything but it is an indicator.

As are all of these shootings.

Which brings me back to my original questioning? What is going on? What can we do?

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.

Micah 6:8 (The Message)

I believe in God’s sovereignty, knowing that He will win in the end. My responsibility today is to do what is right, to love mercy, and walk humbly with my God – three rules for right living.

As we honor and show respect for the fallen this weekend, let’s remember the admonition from 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV):

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

God Bless America!