Once again, media feeds have been flooded with the news that another gunman has committed mass murder, this time at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, Oregon. And, immediately, the outrage over the tragedy turned to the gun control debate. President Obama gave an impassioned speech calling for more gun control. Conservatives shot back with impassioned pleas to protect the Second Amendment. Social media filled with anti-gun and pro-gun memes, and political commentators began spouting their rhetoric. All within hours of the massacre.
President Obama stated, “…this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.” With all due respect, Mr. President, can’t we at least wait until the bodies of the victims are cold before we start politicizing? And, rather than politicizing, can’t we have an honest discussion without the partisan political posturing and rhetoric? Can’t we seek to find solutions, rather than using tragedy to further political agendas?
I would agree with the President, who stated, “…our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week, or a couple of months from now.” However, I would respectfully disagree with him that the answer to the problem of mass murders is to further restrict guns. I would also respectfully disagree with gun rights advocates that the answer is expanded conceal-carry rights and unrestricted access to weapons. Guns are neither the cause of horrific incidents of mass murder, nor are they the solution.
Heinous maniacs do not need guns to commit atrocities. Timothy McVeigh, the 9-11 terrorists, and the Tsarnaev brothers prove this point. Gun-free zones do nothing to deter gun violence, but simply advertise a soft target to a would-be mass murderer. Tightened restrictions on background checks and gun registration would make it more difficult for psychopaths to legally purchase a weapon, but would do nothing to keep them from being stolen or illegally purchased. Deranged individuals who are determined to inflict mass casualties will obtain weapons capable of accomplishing their plans, whether gun ownership is restricted, or not. And, these same maniacs will continue to commit atrocities, even if a large percent of the population legally carries concealed handguns.
Focusing on guns as either the cause or the solution to mass murders is a lot like focusing on cars as the cause or solution to drunk driving. The issue with drunk driving isn’t the cars, it’s the drivers; and the issue with mass murders isn’t guns, it’s maniacs with a distorted sense of morality.
The President stated, “Each time this happens I am going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we’re going to have to change our laws.” With all due respect, Mr. President, the problem isn’t with the laws. The problem is spiritual.
In order to solve any problem, it is essential to understand the root causes. And the root cause of gun violence in the United States isn’t guns; it’s the loss of our moral foundation.
The United States was founded on Biblical moral principles. Many of the first settlers came to America seeking religious freedom. Our legal system was based on principles found in Scripture. Almost everyone, whether Christian, or not, held to a worldview based on the belief that morality is absolute. Although people disagreed on the specifics, and some practices – such as slavery – were obviously immoral, the predominant belief was that right was right, and wrong was wrong. God was honored, morality was absolute, and culture was founded in Biblical principles.
This is no longer the case.
We now live in an increasingly secular culture where God and Biblical principles have been largely rejected. Right and wrong have generally been replaced by situational ethics and relative morality. Most liberals seem to be obsessed with hedonism and radical socialism, and most conservatives seem to be obsessed with selfishness and greed. We have devalued human life. Children are taught that they are accidents of nature, nothing more than highly evolved pond scum. We have dehumanized the unborn. Most people support the right of a woman to intentionally murder her own unborn child, and then they wonder why we’re “numb” to mass killings. God is ignored, mocked, and suppressed. Atheists claim He doesn’t exist. Most people believe He exists, but live as though He doesn’t. Even most so-called Christians live as though the Word of God is merely a list of suggestions, rather than absolute truth. When people are told over and over that they are nothing more than animals, that they have no intrinsic value, that truth and morality are whatever they want to believe, and that there is no deity that will hold them accountable for their actions, why are we surprised when some of them snap and actually act in a manner consistent with such beliefs?
Yes, Mr. President, we need to have serious discussion about the epidemic of mass murders in the United States. We need to have thoughtful discussions about racism, greed, hedonism, hatred, division, oppression, and lawlessness. These things are called sin, and yes, we need serious and open dialog about them. And yes, Mr. President, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need actual change. However, the change we need is not political change. It’s not a change in laws – it’s a change of heart. We need repentance. We need to turn again to the Truth. We need to turn to Jesus Christ.
We have, as a nation, rejected the reality of the Biblical God. We have instead embraced the lie of autonomy apart from God. And, because we have built the American worldview on something other than the reality of God, that worldview is necessarily irrational and devoid of truth. It’s no wonder people act irrationally and some people kill others – they’re just being consistent with what they’ve been indoctrinated to believe.
Some will claim this argument is invalid, because most people don’t kill others. I would respond by saying that most people are inconsistent with what they claim they believe, and far more consistent with Biblical truth. If people truly believed that we’re nothing more than cosmic accidents with no intrinsic value and that morality is just an illusion, then we’d have mass murderers all over the place. We don’t, because people deep down inside know that God exists. We all know right from wrong because God makes it evident, even though we all suppress that truth. Unfortunately, some people completely lose touch with reality, and that’s why we have psychopaths who kill others.
Restricting gun ownership won’t prevent mass murders. Neither will expanded gun rights. We are having the wrong discussion. The only cure for America’s problems is Jesus Christ. That’s what we need to discuss. Unfortunately, that’s also the discussion nobody wants to have. It’s much easier to blame guns and politics than to blame ourselves, repent, and turn to Jesus Christ.
May God bless the memories of those who were killed today. May He bring comfort to their families, and courage to the injured as they fight their way back. And may He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change. ~ President Obama, October 01, 2015
Yes, Mr. President, may God bless and comfort the families of the slain, and strengthen the wounded. And yes, I pray God gives our nation the courage to change – change our hearts, and turn to Jesus Christ.