I was just as shocked as anyone to see the news story on the shooting at the Panama City, Florida school board meeting yesterday, December 14th.
If you didn’t catch the story, a disgruntled ex-convict named Clay Duke attended the meeting where the board was discussing typical school-board business.
He listened for awhile, then walked up to the wall, spray-painted a circle “V” (apparently for “vendetta”), complained about the board having fired his wife, then proceeded to start firing. Fortunately, he didn’t hit anyone, but he did end the scene by killing himself.
The first thing I think when hearing about a story like this is, “Thank heavens everyone else was okay.” The second thing is, “How does a person come to decide on such a violent act?” Was he truly following the advice of his own inner voice?
Which Voice is the Real You?
I did some research on this man. According to AOL News, he was an ex-convict, he was mentally handicapped, he had been living separated from his wife (that the board fired), and he had already published a rant against the rich on his Facebook page, stating that they “use, abuse, and economically enslave 95 percent of the population.”
All right, so whatever voices this man was hearing were probably not the best ones to be listening to. Mental illness can most certainly interfere with finding one’s own conscience. But that brings up another question.
How do you know when the voice you’re hearing is the right one? The true one? The real you?
I think there are a lot of ways to go about discerning just who is speaking in our heads, but perhaps the simplest way is this—if you do what the voice is telling you to do, will you truly be proud of yourself, way down deep in your soul?
In other words, would you love to shout about it to the world? If so, you’re probably hearing your true voice.
My Name Is….
Let’s try this on for size. Say you have a decision to make. Assume you’ve already made it, and the deed is done. When you’re by yourself, shout it out and see how it sounds.
“My name is (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE), and I just started my own cookie-making business!”
Sounds pretty good, right? Let’s try another:
“My name is (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE), and I just got a divorce!”
How that feels probably depends on your situation. If you’re a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, you’d probably be really proud of yourself for finding the courage to leave your violent husband.
If you’re married to a good man (or woman), however, and feel somewhere down deep that maybe you didn’t try hard enough, you may feel a twinge of regret and realize that what your true voice wants you to do is get some marriage counseling.
“My name is Clay Duke, and I just walked into a school board meeting and fired a pistol several times, scaring the wits out of a bunch of innocent people, after which I shot myself, and now I’m dead!”
I wonder if Clay had shouted this at the top of his lungs in the privacy of his own home before he set out on the one deed that would define his life, if he might have changed his mind in time?