All this past week most of the mainstream press has been pushing the idea that what is needed to stop today’s school shootings and other mass murders is to inaugurate effective, total gun control—which is to say, to confiscate all firearms from the American public. The idea is “no guns equals no murders.” President Trump, however, has called for arming teachers at schools, and to more tightly control the vetting process for buying guns. He would eliminate some types of firearms that facilitate a mass murder spree, and do a better job with handling the mentally ill. Will any of this work to really change the situation on the ground? Frankly, at this stage of the game, I have my doubts, because all those suggestions don’t get at the heart of the problem..
After all, as far as gun control goes, if would-be murderers can’t use guns they’ll use trucks — or knives, screwdrivers, hammers, poisons, and any other means that a bloody-minded individual can devise. When you think back on history, humanity has often resorted to some of the most basic, brutal tools in order to murder others. The root of the problem is not the fact that there is a stone, a baseball bat, or a gun in every American home. The root of the problem is the spirit of murder and lawlessness that is now stalking America. The problem of mass murder is a people problem, not a tool problem.
When I was a youth in the 1950s and 1960s, guns were readily available to practically anyone who wanted one. My Mom (a divorced woman) kept a holstered, loaded handgun hanging on her bedpost, which she took with her when out horseback riding by herself in the boonies—it was for shooting snakes or other varmits. Don’t you know that we boys never would have dreamed to touch much less play with Mom’s gun. It never would have entered our minds because we knew better—and we also knew how to use guns ourselves. Of course, my brother and I also never would have dreamed about telling any of our teachers to F— off or to ignore an instruction in class. We showed our teachers and school administrators respect and, our parents expected nothing less of us—or else!
Mom only had to use that pistol once when a would-be thief was trying to steal my motorcycle parked in the carport. The fella saw that Mom had spotted him and he took off to hide behind some bushes in our large backyard. Mom, who was a crack shot—Annie Oakley had taught her grandma to shoot and she in turn had taught Mom—put a few rounds into the ground at the base of those bushes where the guy was lurking. Immediately he leaped over the 6 ft. tall back fence in a single bound and took off like a bat out of hell down the alley. Mom didn’t want to hurt anyone, but she did want to communicate that she wasn’t fooling around. The thief never returned. I wonder why? Low-lifes figure out pretty quickly who to respect and who not to.
For $20.00 in the 1950s and 60s you could buy on demand without a background check a “Saturday night special” and a box of shells at the corner hardware. But I can’t remember any dreadful mass shootings at schools during that time period that even remotely approached today’s problem in Florida. It just didn’t happen. The problem is that the American people have changed—and not for the better. Why? What’s the root of the problem?
In a letter to the editor of my local paper last Saturday, a fellow wrote: “While its consequence might manifest on the roads [or in schools], discourtesy is a much deeper problem in our civilization that has worsened during my lifetime. Whereas people detest each other as much today as at any other point in history, today’s citizens no longer feel a duty to be courteous to each other for the sake of the community.
“I blame the decline of our civilization’s traditional moral-reinforcing institutions. People might or might not like churches, but it’s hard to deny the role churches played in our society as sources of civil order, and as touchstones of right conduct.
“It is also hard not to correlate declining church attendance with rising aggression and apathy across the whole spectrum of our civilization… We need a politically independent moral industry today, more than ever” (D.S. Victoria, Times Colonist, Feb. 24, 2018.)
So dear reader please take to heart this warning from the Apostle Paul that we ourselves should not be caught up in the same spirit of violence and disregard for human life that is sweeping our society:
“Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men will be lovers of self, loves of money, braggarts, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self control, savage, despisers of those who are good, betrayers, reckless, egotistical, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having an outward appearance of godliness, but denying the power of true godliness [that transforms from the inside out an authentic believer’s life]. But as for you, turn away from all these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, The Holy Bible in its Original Order trans.)
As a society, we must return to teaching Judeo-Christian morality and ethics in our homes, in our schools, and in our churches and synagogues—day in and day out. America was built on and positively refined by Biblical values for close to 190 years. By abandoning these founding values and breaking faith with the God of our ancestors we risk destroying everything that once made America a shining city set on a hill—a good example to a world wallowing all too often in darkness and despair.