Going Beyond the Gun Control Debates
This article was originally featured in Focus on the Family President Jim Daly’s blog, DalyFocus™
The extraordinary public debates about guns over the last few weeks, including at the White House and at CNN’s Florida Town Hall, have been highly emotional and contentious events. Nearly a month after the catastrophic carnage in Parkland, Florida, debate concerning what to do about it is raging red-hot, and understandably so. People committing violent acts with guns is a growing epidemic, particularly in schools. Since early January, in addition to Florida, there have been school shootings in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
In response, students around the country have been marching in protest and sharing their thoughts, demanding that legislative action be taken to end the escalating violence. At the White House, Andrew Pollack, an understandably distraught father whose daughter Meadow was murdered in Parkland, Florida, pleaded with President Trump.
“How many schools, how many children have to get shot?” he asked. “It stops here, with this administration and me, because I’m not going to sleep until it’s fixed.”
It’s wise to examine existing gun laws and ask if there changes or additions that need to be made, and also ask whether the myriad of relevant laws already on the books are being adequately enforced. This is the role of our legislature. But if the debate starts and stops there, the heartbreaking and horrific events of February 14th will happen again.
That’s because at its core, the current debate has to be about more than guns. What’s being protested is a symptom of a much larger problem. You cannot legislate away evil. No laws on the books can change the human heart.
What these students should be protesting and discussing is the lost culture they’ve inherited from us. It’s a lost culture that mocks or ignores God and His timeless teachings, living for only carnal pleasures and temporary thrills.
These students now protesting are demanding we talk about and enact more gun control legislation – because we live in this lost culture where increasingly people can no longer control themselves.
History suggests that freedoms are taken away from people who cannot manage them. This is how freedoms die, when a culture is no longer morally able to exercise those freedoms in a proper and responsible manner.
We’re living through a moral freefall, but few in positions of influence are willing to talk about it. Instead, we hear much talk about its symptoms (like gun violence), and many of these same people want to ban the very things that will lead to healing and revival.
Those with a fervent and sincere faith are mocked and marginalized rather than respected and uplifted for their deeply help religious convictions.
“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus,” Behar told her audience. “It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you … That’s called mental illness … Hearing voices.”
It’s ironic that the popular television host is lampooning the idea of God communicating wise counsel. I would point out to Ms. Behar that Jesus preached against murder – yet many think it’s illegal for high school students to hear that teaching.
I also can’t help but note that many of those who are demanding more gun laws in an effort to protect innocent life find it entirely acceptable that 4,000 innocent lives are lost each day at the hands of abortionists. More than 55 million babies have been legally killed in the U.S. in the last few decades, and yet our societal elites seem genuinely befuddled why life is viewed so cheaply by those who resort to those shocking incidents of violence.
I realize this is a complex discussion, but let’s get it all out on the table. Where is the Left’s grief for these children? Senator Schumer (D-NY) was high-fiving his colleagues after blocking a vote on the pain-capable bill limiting abortion to the first twenty weeks of development. Most developed nations don’t allow abortion past 12-13 weeks.
What’s more, those who champion the ideal of families with both a mother and a father are regularly dismissed as being hopelessly out of touch with modern mores. Yet, six of the deadliest mass shootings committed in the United States since 2005 were committed by young men without fathers in the home. In addition, studies show that young men without dads are roughly three times more likely to carry a gun and deal drugs than those living with a father.
The opioid crisis is devastating the country on numerous levels. In fact, experts identify it as the primary factor in causing life expectancy in the US to drop for the first time in many years. At the same time, those of us who oppose the legalization of marijuana are somehow socially square and standing in the way of progress.
We have a tourniquet-level problem – a sick culture, crumbling families, and an abandonment of basic values and decency – and we’re attempting to treat it with band aid solutions that do nothing to address the cause.
It was John Adams who famously remarked that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Was our nation’s second president foreshadowing our current crisis? Was he pointing to the fact that someday – maybe today – we would no longer be trusted with these freedoms because we can no longer control our wrong impulses to harm others?
President Adams was identifying the key issue which undergirds all our freedoms. I pray that we heed his warning. History is clear: godlessness and immorality leads to an outbreak of evil.
I welcome your thoughts.