Problem is secular society, not guns
January 9, 2013 4 Comments
In the spirit of never letting a crisis go to waste, the Left in America – at both the federal and the state levels – is moving rapidly to use the tragedy of the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut as an excuse to impose more and more expansive gun control on law-abiding citizens in this nation. Even apart from the blatant tragedy vulturism that is taking place, and the disgusting use of dead children in a naked attempt to illegally disarm the American people, it is obvious to anyone capable of thought that this push for gun control is idiotic in its basic premises. Indeed, it is readily apparent that support for more gun control is an intellectually deficit position to take, a position held by people too stupid or too lazy to acquaint themselves with actual facts on this issue.
A case in point can be seen from a recent email I received in response to my previous editorial about gun control as a response to the Newtown massacre,
“The N.R.A. STANDS FOR ” THE FREEDOM TO KILL”. Once again the blood is on the hands of those who refuse strict gun control.Im [sic] all for indivdiauls [sic] owning a weapon to protect themselves,or hunt,but not the type of weapons that can kill 30 people in 3 minutes.IT BOILS DOWN TO MONEY,AND EGO.The gun companies make millions by selling assult [sic] weapons,and individual oweners [sic] feel a sense of pride owening [sic] them.I wonder how Mrs. Lanza feels about her so called love for guns now.May be [sic] thats [sic] the only way things will change,when gun lovers have the gun tun [sic] on them.”
Now, it was immediately obvious to me that the author of this email is an idiot. Like most other people who support gun control, this email reeked of the sort of soft-headed, non-thinking emotionalism that takes the place of actual thought whenever “progressives” address the issue of guns. In almost every assertion they make about guns, they are factually wrong.
For instance, despite the media – and my emailer’s (implicit) – claim that Adam Lanza used an “assault weapon,” it turns out that reports of his using a Bushmaster .223 were unfounded. As a result, the entire push to regulate and ban “assault rifles” in response to Newtown is completely misguided. Indeed, more people are murdered each year in America by hammers than by “assault rifles.” More children die from swimming pools and motor vehicle accidents than from all guns put together.
Clearly, if the gun control ninnies were really interested in “saving people,” they’d be pushing for regulation and confiscation of hammers, swimming pools, and automobiles.
But that would tread on the toes of too many of the “good people” that the gun controllers like and consider to be socially acceptable, as well as being so obviously idiotic that even people as dull as those supporting gun control know that it would be ridiculous to even suggest it.
So instead, we see people running around in hysterics, and vulturous legislators at both the state and the federal levels proposing all kinds of new regulations and bans on weapons – none of which would have done the least little bit to actually prevent the Newtown shooting or others like it.
Nevermind that the obvious evidence for the utility and goodness of widespread civilian firearms ownership is all around us. States with strict gun regulations, and consequently lower per capita levels of gun ownership, have higher crime rates, even when you correct for factors such as levels of urbanization and population density. Conversely, states with higher rates of gun ownership have lower crime rates. Indeed, nations like the United Kingdom – where gun ownership is almost completely forbidden – have higher rates of violent crime than the supposedly “Wild West” United States. Since gun laws began to loosen after the end of the Clinton administration, the incidence of mass shootings in America has actually declined. Every day, all across America, there are local news stories (such as this one) about citizens successfully defending their lives, families, homes, and even complete strangers from violent criminals using firearms – though you never hear about it above the local level because the media don’t want to acknowledge the existence of a competing narrative that refutes the one they’ve spent years building. No, the Left and all its organs – political, media, academic, and so forth – refuse to acknowledge the truth about civilian firearms ownership in this country, and instead focus on building a false narrative that will be believed by millions of low-information Americans, including my correspondent above.
This is because those on the Left suffer from hoplophobia, the irrational fear of weapons that leads them to believe that the weapon itself, rather than the person wielding it, is morally responsible for the damage done when a crime is committed.
And that is the fault of America’s current hypersecularized society that refuses to accept that people are moral agents who are themselves responsible for their actions. In place of this, our society wants to place blame on the tool, and thereby steal the liberty of millions of American citizens who had absolutely nothing to do with Newtown.
Part of this fault on the part of our secular society lies in the way the Left has systematically worked since the 1970s to prevent those with mental health issues from receiving genuine systematic care – all in the name of “tolerance.” See, in America today, we can’t call crazy people “crazy” and institutionalize them – that would be politically incorrect to those of our fellow Americans who could be termed “sanity challenged.” Since Carter’s administration – when mental institutions all over the nation were emptied and their inmates thrown out on the streets, it has become increasingly unpopular among America’s mental health elites to actually diagnose and treat crazy people as crazy. In nearly every case, it’s only after someone has committed actual violence that the mechanism kicks into gear that leads to someone being institutionalized.
This was the case with Adam Lanza, who was known to have issues regarding mental health, but who was not institutionalized. Instead of his condition being caught and treated early on, he was left to grow progressively worse, until he reached the point where mass violence was not only conceivable for him, but probable. By then, it was too late. Unfortunately, there are many in America who, because of the lack of discipline that pervades our society from the schools to the criminal justice system, are increasingly prone to the sort of aberrant mental states that lead to violence against others. Children learn from an early age to give vent to every whim of their inborn sin natures, which leads to their being mentally warped adolescents and adults. When not dealt with preventatively, they can and are a menace to everyone else.
Coupled with this is the fact that the primary way used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to deal with “mental health issues” is to put people on powerful psychotropic drugs. Ostensibly designed to correct mental imbalances (on the assumption that said imbalances are due to chemical aberrations in the brain rather than, say, addiction to sinful thoughts and actions), these drugs can seriously deform the perceptions and thought processes of those who take them. Adam Lanza was on this type of drug. In fact, every mass shooter in recent history has been on psychotropic drugs. This type of pharmaceutical is the single most constant commonality in all of these mass shootings, even more than the type of weapon used.
Aiding and abetting this is a culture of violence that comes from our very secularism – because we no longer have a moral compass guiding our society and its entertainments, its values, its preferences, and desires. Our children play first person shooter video games that display gory death in lifelike detail. They watch movies where people are killed by the bushel, often in sadistic and exceedingly brutal ways. They listen to music that glorifies violence and murder. And we wonder why so many Americans turn out to be vicious, mentally-unstable killers.
The problem is obviously not guns. In simpler times when Americans were not liberated to indulge in every violent whim and fantasy, we nevertheless had guns all across the nation. Back in the day, many schools even had gun and shooting clubs, to which children would bring guns from home. You never heard about mass killings and school shootings taking place back then. It wasn’t until the radical secularization of our society in the late 1960s and 1970s that we began to have these troubles.
Now, even some conservatives try to naysay that there could be any link between the violence in our society and the violent video games, TV shows, and other entertainments with which many of our children saturate their minds. This is an utterly ridiculous, stupidly ridiculous, argument. We are the same society that readily accepts the premise that a thirty second advertisement on the television will probably make you more likely to buy the product being sold. Indeed, we spend billions of dollars each year on this premise because we know that it is, in fact, true. So if a thirty second TV ad has that effect, why would four hours a night of murdering people on Grand Theft Auto not have a similar effect? And before anyone asks, no, I am not saying that everyone who play these games or watches these types of shows are going to turn into homicidal maniacs. However, just as a TV advertisement doesn’t entice most people who see it to buy the product being hawked, but will entice a few who are already more susceptible at that moment to the temptation of the product, so also will constant bombardment with violent media push the already shaky few over the edge.
Some conservatives react this way because they play these games themselves, and thus have an aversion to being put into anything like the same category as the psycho shooters. Others fear that pointing out the social dangers of violent video games and movies will lead to calls for banning these forms of media, thus opening another door for the government to gets its foot into on the road to greater government control of our lives. This last fear I can sympathize with, which is why I don’t favor banning these media. Instead, I favor parents taking responsibility for their kids, taking more oversight over the way they’re raising them, and making parents take responsibility for the misdeeds of their minor children. Nevertheless, we cannot simply ignore the impact that violent media can and does have on the minds of many of our most impressionable people.
Yet another way in which secular society itself is to blame for the violence is the way in which our society has sought to destroy respect for the sanctity of innocent human life, while simultaneously seeking to absolve the guilty of their guilt and shield them from just punishment for their crimes.
Our society enshrines abortion as a “right,” the murder of the most innocent among us. It’s simply silly to think that our society can see this evil taking place around us every day, and it not callous the consciences of many as to the value and worth of their fellow human beings. It’s no surprise that the liberalization of abortion laws starting in the 1960s generally trends with the increase in violent crime starting around the same time. Abortion sends the subconscious signal that if even those most innocent, the unborn who have never even had the opportunity to make a moral choice, can be murdered like so many veal calves if they are inconvenient to the selfish baby mama and baby daddy whose lack of personal responsibility produced them, then what does anyone else’s life matter? Why not kill someone for his shoes and the six dollars in his wallet?
At the same time, because of the idiotic philosophical determinism that infects so much of our academic and policymaking spheres and which rejects free will and the free moral agency that makes people responsible for their own actions, we as a society are increasingly hamstringing our ability to deal effectively with violent criminals, especially recidivists who keep moving on the “big and better things.” We refuse to call sin for what it is, and we refuse to punish those who commit heinous acts. The ax murderer is always a “good boy” who “couldn’t help himself” because he “was abused as a child.” Criminals get slaps on their wrists because they’re not “really” responsible for their actions, since no one “really” has free will. Paramount is the refusal in many states to use the death penalty – a tried and true method for preventing recidivism and for extracting the ultimate justice from those who have committed the ultimate crimes.
I’m sure there are some out there who think I’m contradicting myself by opposing abortion while supporting the death penalty. Sorry, but no, these are two completely different issues. Opposing abortion involves protecting the innocent. Supporting the death penalty involves punishing the very guilty. Trying to confound the two is ludicrous, and if you don’t see why, then maybe you need to sit down and think about it a little harder.
Ultimately, we as a society need to understand and accept that, regardless of any person’s individual attitude toward guns, what is at fault for these mass shootings and other violent acts of crime is not the tool – the gun (which is not even used in many acts of violence) – but the people who commit them. And ultimately, if we want to look at a cause for why people might be influenced toward making the moral choices that lead them to commit terrible acts, this influence is not the ownership of objects by other people, but the aspects of our secular, God-forgetting culture that simultaneously lionizes and yet excuses the violent.
Tim Dunkin is a Guardian columnist.