They rejected God’s decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” 2nd Kings 17:15
Last week I and millions of other Americans watched in horror as the news of the day unfolded. The story has become depressingly common. Another bloodbath at another school in another sleepy little town where no one ever dreamed anything that awful could happen.
There were no actual surprises in the details. The killer was another socially stunted loner from a broken home with few friends or ties to his community. Gun hoarding, collecting war memorabilia and hating appear to have been his only hobbies.
The only aspect of this story more foreseeable than the details of the killer’s life was the reaction from politicians and pundits. The accusations and calls for change commenced before the bodies were counted. The anti-gun guys predictably blamed easy access to guns. The pro-gun guys blamed a lack of armed guards on campus. Politicians insisted that more laws will solve everything and physiologists blamed the breakdown of our mental healthcare system.
Everybody is talking but no one is asking the one question that really needs to be answered: Why is our society devolving at such a rapid pace?
A mass shooting is technically defined as a shooting where four or more people are shot or wounded in a single attack. There was not a single reported mass shooting in America in the year 1915; in fact, mass shootings were practically unheard of prior to 1963. As of today, there have been 298 mass shootings this year. For those keeping count, that is more than one shooting a day so far in 2015.
America is and has always been a country of gun owners. Statistics are unobtainable, but it seems safe to assume that more Americans owned guns in 1915 than in 2015. It’s also patently absurd to argue that it was somehow more difficult to acquire a gun a century ago than it is today.
It is demonstrably true that our mental healthcare system is in serious trouble. Good counselors are tough to find and even tougher for many folks to afford. An obviously deranged lunatic can only be committed after he or she actually hurts someone. Doctors hand out prescriptions for medications no one truly understands with little follow-up on those taking powerful, mind-altering drugs. All that being said, it’s still fanciful to argue that the mental healthcare available a hundred years ago was somehow superior to the mental healthcare available today.
Stricter laws sound like a reasonable no-hassle solution to our problems. But truth- be-told, there are already plenty of laws governing gun ownership. However, lawbreakers have a vexing habit of simply disregarding the existing laws and because past behavior is always the best predictor of future behavior; it’s fairly safe to assume criminals would simply ignore any new legislation.
Blaming guns, laws or the mental healthcare system for shootings and other social problems is naïve and misguided. If we continue to blame things rather than people, we will commit societal suicide because we cannot solve problems we refuse to see.
It is fashionable to blame guns, laws and shoddy healthcare for the problem of gun violence. It’s also intellectually lazy and irrational. If guns, laws or healthcare were the problem, the same problems would have existed a hundred years ago. The real problem lies squarely at the feet of the individuals in our society. Individual people build societies, and our society is generating an increasing number of individuals who have no conscience and who place zero value on human life.
The problems began when we decided as a society that we could have morality without God or fixed standards of right and wrong. Gun violence is just one symptom of the societal breakdown that was triggered by our makeshift morality and the irrational social engineering that has followed.
If as individuals we want real and lasting change, it is critical that we stop looking to politicians and pundits to solve our problems. Their well-intended “solutions” limit freedom and do nothing to solve the real problems.
It’s time we start looking to God.