Friday, May 24, 2024

Mass Shootings Are a Heart Problem, not a Gun Problem.

Firearms have been available virtually everywhere in American society for decades.  Yet, there were rarely ever any of the kind of mass shootings we see so often today. 

What has changed?

As the Wall Street Journal has observed “today’s young killers aren’t motivated by material deprivation.  They are typically from middle-class families with access to smartphones and X-boxes.  Their deficit is social and spiritual.  The rise of family dysfunction and the decline of mediating institutions such as churches and social clubs have consequences.” (WSJ, 5-25-22).

What motivates a young man to grab a weapon, look his classmates in the eyes and shoot and kill them.  What deep void is so profoundly unfilled that a massacre of friends, classmates and teachers appears to be the answer.  People often point to unaddressed chronic mental health problems and mental issues, but they are symptoms of other things. 

The simple answer is that a society that produces an 18-year-old who can look into the faces of terrified 5th graders and pull the trigger so many times that DNA is required to identify the victims has problems that go far beyond gun control and even mental health issues.

Let’s look at our culture today. 

We clearly don’t value all aspects of human life as 700,000 abortions are performed in this country every year and over 60 million since 1973.  How profoundly illogical must we be as a culture to believe we can ever protect children outside of the womb when for 50 years our courts and laws have denied due process and equal protection to children inside of the womb?

Much of our cultural meltdown is the direct result of the intended breakdown of the traditional American family which from time immemorial imparted the basic values and life lessons children need to thrive and grow—and to become good, productive, and happy citizens.  

However, virtues contained in religion, morality, and the teaching of right and wrong and good and evil are mocked.  Notions of faith or religion are demeaned.  Self-restraint and self-discipline are often derided in this culture of instant gratification.

Yet, after these killings we’re always urged to “pray for the schools” but we don’t allow prayer in the schools.  Our denial of absolute truth—both inside and outside of our public schools—has imposed a dictatorship of relativism which has created a culture of death in America.

Media shaming of law enforcement (“Defund the Police”) and the American military—which has always been a great avenue for young boys to learn self-confidence and self-discipline—discourages many who might otherwise consider and aspire to them. 

The rampant use of marijuana among young people—which is of a much stronger grade than in years past—is numbing and desensitizing young men.  Allysia Finley has noted that “youth nowadays are consuming marijuana more frequently and in higher doses than their elders did when they were young.  This is leading to increased addiction and antisocial behavior.”  She continues “one in 6 people who start using pot while under 18 will develop an addiction, which doctors call ‘cannabis use disorder.’ As they use the drug more frequently to satisfy cravings, they develop psychological and social problems.” (WSJ, 6-6-2022)

Young boys, often loners, stay locked up for hours playing violent video games.  The saturation of porn in our culture contributes to the devaluing of the individual—most often females.  The feminization of our culture and the heated condemnation of “toxic masculinity” also causes young men to wonder what place they can go to feel safe, needed and valued.  Young boys yearn to know, and be affirmed about, what they should do; how they should act.  What is appropriate. What is honorable.  Our culture has emasculated millions of them. 

The cry for “gun control” is an easy solution for politicians with the desire to “do something” but it is deeply misplaced.  Law-abiding gun owners already adhere to our gun laws but criminals—by their nature—are never going to abide by them.  The result is the disarming of the good guys, allowing the bad ones to, unopposed, inflict their violence and death on the innocent.  It’s like taking away the keys of the sober drivers to punish the drunk drivers.  That’s insane.

We must erase the fatal conceit that so-called ‘gun free’ zones, such as schools, churches, shopping malls and other public areas, make us safer.  According to a study from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), 89% of mass shootings between 1988 and 2019 occurred in gun-free zones.  It’s not hard to understand why: cowardly mass killers look for easy targets, knowing these vulnerable victims will have no defense. 

The truth is we simply must return to the virtues of American life.  A belief in God and the idea of a calling greater than oneself; a loving, nurturing family unit prominently including a positive male role model, a work ethic, self-discipline, respect, manners, and courtesy.  These are the indispensable supports that young people—particularly young men—desperately need and seek.  That is where we must begin.