Over the last coupld of years, we have had the tragedies of Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, and several smaller incidents where a person entered a public venue, with the intent of killing others. With all of that, one would think this is a nation where the national sport is shooting one another.
At least, that’s how it sounds when you hear the media report it. They mention the gunman, sure, but, they don’t mention him as the cause of what happened. I cried the day it happened. Never in my life have I seen a tragedy such as the one that unfolded. It was truly horrifying. Nothing more can be said about it, that hasn’t already been said.
Tell me, though, would you ever hear, or read something like the following, from today’s newspapers, and news channels?
Six people were killed today, by a Chevy Silverado, after the pickup crossed the centerline on the highway, and plowed into the a minivan carrying a family of six………..
Of course not, the story lead, or headline would mention the drunk driver, would it not? Yes, it would. It would say “Intoxicated driver kills 6 on the expressway” The pickup truck would be mentioned as the vehicle, not the cause. The cause would be the intoxicated driver.
Why is not so when there is a mass shooting? The emphasis is put on the weapon used, not the state of mind, or the motivations of the person pulling the trigger. In order to shoot someone, you have to pull the trigger, do you not? Yes, you do….
So, that brings to the fore, the question no one, at least, not anyone in the media wants to have to try and answer: The moral questions surrounding why someone would do what they did, be it Newtown, or Aurora Colorado, Klackamas Mall,…. the list goes on. Those who wish to ban guns only want to talk to you about how evil guns are, not about how evil the people might be that are doing the shooting. That puts the onus on the deed on the person, not the weapon. They want the weapon to be the focus, not the person, because it then becomes a moral argument, not a political one. They don’t want moral arguments.
Enough of that though. Both sides in the gun debate have staked out their positions quite well. We know where they stand, and each side considers the other one evil incarnate. But, the debate doesn’t stop there, in fact it doesn’t even start there.
It starts with our society. It starts with each of us as individuals. It starts with the current social and economic climate, and it also includes the entertainment outlets in side our society. As a people we have lost, or have almost lost, the moral recognition of right and wrong. It has gone to “shades of grey”. We can’t judge, we can’t point out mistakes, we have to worried about “self esteem”, we can’t be negative, and we cannot ever point out the moral failings that lead to poor life decisions, and then the results of those decisions, which generally involve guns. In addition a bigger, and even more uncomfortable question comes up:
“What do we do with the mentally ill.”
In the shootings of the past year or so, the shooters involved have had mental issues, serious mental issues. Why were they not treated? Locked up? How did they get access to weapons? Why didn’t someone do something about them?
If one has never dealt with mental illness, then one is probably ill prepared to deal with, or even spot someone who may have a problem. Think about it: If you do realize someone you know, or know of, may have a mental problem, who do you talk to about it? Many families don’t even recognize a family member with a problem until something happens, and even if they do, it is a long struggle to get them help, medication, or, in extreme cases, put in an institution. Some families just hope the problem is a “phase” or something that their loved one is going through. Mental illness in children is tough to recognize, diagnose, and treat. Most insurance doesn’t cover the medications or treatment. Obamacare? Not going there. Nope. Leaving that alone for now. Many families cannot afford the cost of long-term institutionalization of someone. Most, if not all of the states have cut out, or drastically reduced the budget for any mental health facilities they run. So, what do we do?
This nation has a problem: We have lost whatever moral code we used to live by. We live in a “me first, the hell with everyone else” kind of society. Right and wrong are relative, not absolute. Our children are taught in college, and even younger that morals are what one feels they are.
We have also lost God.
Yes, I said it. We have systematically cut God out of our culture. Why? Why are we afraid of God? Because God is the absolute moral authority, and the Holy Bible is the book that spells out that authority. I can hear you readers now, either turning away from the screen, saying something rude, or clicking the mouse to go to another page. We are afraid of God, because we are afraid of accoutability, we are afraid of judgement, and to be quite honest, we don’t want to be told that what we are doing is wrong. So, we rationalize it, we minimize it. We compare ourselves to others, such as “Well, I might be bad, but I am not Jeffery Dhamer”, so then we can go on with our lives, because we are “Not as bad as……” .
The society we live in is a compilation and combination of everyone’s “bad”. The crappy things we do to ourselves, our family members or others adds to the sum total of the evil in our society. We may not “feel” it is wrong, but it doesn’t make us any less wrong, and it desensitizes us to the wrongs of others. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” we say in our most righteous voice possible, and this bible verse, translated in context means “Hey, do what you want, and I’ll do what I want we won’t say anything.”
So, we go along merrily, ignoring the evil that builds around us, and that we contribute to. Pretty soon, we have a society of fatherless kids, teenagers dropping out of high school, divorce rates through the ceiling, alcoholism, drug use, and perversions everywhere. We look at what our society is and then say “Well, that’s normal.”
It’s the normal that is killing us, It’s the “normal” that is contributing to the morass that we are in.
Banning the gun because of Newtown, or Virginia Tech, or Columbine makes as much sense as banning cars because of drunk drivers. No correlaltion? Really? If one is the cause of mass shootings, then the other must be the cause of drunk driving. After all, if we are going to excuse the shooter’s lack of morality, then we must excuse the drunk driver’s as well. “But the gun is the cause, without the gun, then those people couldn’t have killed so many people.” Well, yes, and no. If there were no guns, do you think the shooters in any of those situations would have said. “Oh, crud, no guns, I guess I can’t kill all of those people.” If we were a gun free society, heck, if the gun didn’t exist, would it not stand to reason that someone who wanted to kill other people would have used a different weapon? Just because there is no guns, does not mean there is no evil. Do you think, if there were no cars, we would have no drunks? No, drunks would exist, they would be using whatever form of transportation was being used, and yes, people would still die at their hands.
But that is not how, or where we live, so the above is moot.
I can go on at length about responsible gun ownership, about responsible gun owners. I won’t. It’s all been said. And, I must note, that just because someone is a gun owner does not mean they are not capable of evil. And, by the same token, because they own guns, does not mean they are evil. I own a car, but I am not a drunk driver. But, many drunk drivers own cars. Just like many people who own guns are not criminals, but many criminals have guns in their possession.
The action taken, the pulling the trigger, or turning the key, is dependent on the level of moral responsibility that resides in that person. The decision to take that action can be influenced by impairments, be they induced by mental illness, or too much to drink, or by being too angry, and not caring about what happens after the action is taken.