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Guest columnist: perlcat

Some thoughts about the recent tragedy

December 16, 2012

We will be deluged with a host of gun control arguments, saying the inevitable: “If there were no guns, this would not have happened.” They’ll be answered by a host of people daring to apply “logic” to the situation: “You can’t eliminate guns to eliminate violence – the only people who have guns will be, by definition, the very criminals you hope to disarm.” This will be countered by the Left’s nasty attack that presumes that if you are defending firearms, you are advocating violence.

The useless rhetoric will continue and nothing will get done that will effectively solve this issue. Why should it? Nobody’s addressing the underlying issue: sick people, in a sick, violent culture, aping what they see every day in countless ads.

How did we get here? In the 1800s, people in the American West went around armed to the teeth. It was common in civilized areas for people to have firearms that they could buy at the hardware store as teens. A 16-year-old could go down to the hardware store and buy a case of dynamite with nothing more than the money to pay for it. No waiting period. No background checks. 100+ years of advancing gun control legislation has accomplished the EXACT opposite of its intent – people still kill each other in shopping malls and schools.

The answer is they had something we didn’t and we have something they didn’t. There’s not a lot we can do right now about what we have – a media obsessed with glorifying and profiting from violence – because there is a ready market for it.

As the picture shows, I have an opinion of what the difference is. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of atheist friends who are people of very high moral character. However, as Dennis Prager has written, they arguably have what is called “cut flower” ethics – the ethics they have come from being immersed in a Judeo-Christian ethos, and so in a few generations, their descendants will have an entirely different ethos. We can readily see this in Chinese culture, where their “cut flower” ethicists have descended from Buddhism to feeding melanite to human babies for profit.

We as a society have an enormous debt to the religious people in our past. While there have been evils perpetrated, for the most part Judeo-Christian thought and philosophy have instilled in successive generations that which we call a conscience. People with a conscience feel revulsion at this violence. People with a conscience do things in society to bring the statistical outliers into a more beneficial relationship. This isn’t to say that it is 100% effective – but the magnitude of variation from “accepted” behavior is much less. That is why media from that time seems laughably tame by comparison to our media. A newspaper article I read from the 1890s talked about a rapist as the “devil in human form,” never went into the details of the crime, and so you had to be well-versed in the euphemisms of the day to be able to figure out the crime. In fact, it may not have been rape, but simple drunkenness or exposure. Today’s news would have given you color photos of it, graphic descriptions, and enough information for the next crime committed for the shock value to top.

Religions in general are a tool that can be used to help people not only in what they do, but more importantly in what they think. The current push to eliminate all aspects of religion from public life offers nothing to replace it. There are no atheist Sunday schools to teach children about doing good – and when there’s a vacuum, something will fill that vacuum. Sadly, even the reasoning atheists use to push the display of religion from society is tragically uninformed and ethically challenged. Example: if I was cursed by a witch doctor, I’d laugh it off, as I simply do not believe in that sort of thing. However, atheist groups feel “harmed” by a display of the 10 Commandments, or by a display of a menorah or a Nativity scene. How can a person be “harmed” by the presence of a different idea? This is simply a display of naked intolerance for what other people *think*, not what they do. The only logical argument for keeping these things out of government is a simple case of wasting public funds – and so far as a wastage of public funds go, chump change.

These people leave no way to replace the dark role our society plays in profiteering from filling children’s minds with violence. The problem is that the vast majority of ethical philosophers were inextricably tied to religion. The separation of their thoughts from their religion often throws out the baby with the bathwater – the contempt felt for Thomas of Aquinas’s religion drives the skeptical away from the best parts of his thinking.

Strangely enough, I’d say about 30% of people playing a role in religion are probably atheists at heart. They attend churches that replace violence with a healthy way about thinking about how to think and behave in society – and do the same for their children. I’d have to say that they are indeed wise, as there are a lot of good things that a person can learn from the Gospel, and so far as “undoing” the unhealthy parts (from an atheist’s perspective, not mine) goes, there’s a lot less that has to be done.

If our society seriously wanted to eliminate these incidents, they will get nowhere taking the guns from murderers’ hands – they will eliminate it by changing what murderers think. This can be done, but the price to pay is two things:
1) Return to some form of moral philosophy using religion as a vehicle (and yes, there are churches that can accommodate the atheist without making them do things they feel contemptible). There is no better tool – I feel confident if there were, that the atheists attending church would switch to it immediately. In our free society, they aren’t there because they’re forced to – but because they get good out of it.

2) Everyone needs to take a hard look at their contribution to violence. Do we accept it in our lives? Do we watch (and pay for) violence in the movies? Moral bankruptcy in television? We must reject it. We need to get back to a society that feels violence is so abhorrent that a theater that shows a killing is covered in vomit.
I’m an old computer guy – I can tell you that “Garbage in, Garbage out” is not just a saying, it’s a law. Why would anyone think that our minds would be any different?

I shut my television off 8 years ago. I haven’t missed it.


December 16, 2012 - I didn't learn about the recent tragedy in Conn. until dinner time. We had gone to a sports bar for dinner and it was being shown on every TV in the place. My heart goes out to all these families. It is senseless, it is evil. To think that these parents and spouses sent their family member off to school for what should have been a normal every day occurrence, and by 10:00 a.m. their lives would be forever altered. I looked at my husband across the dinner table and said "Oh boy! This is gonna bring out all the anti-gun people." It always does. For that matter any sort of tragedy brings out the extremists. Cuz don't you know they have all the answers. Their answer is to legislate it, regulate it or confiscate it. Which is sort of trying to put a band aid on a massive wound. Within 12 hours fb was lit up with arguments from both sides regarding gun control. I know because I took part in several of the discussions. I, nor anyone in our house has a gun. Not because we are anti-gun but just chose not to have one. My husband is in fact an expert marksmen in both pistol and a rifle. I don't like guns, never had the desire to own one, use one, but I certainly support any American that legally wants to own one, or two or more. I was privy to more statistics and told about other countries statutes on gun control more than I ever care to know. One of the more ridiculous ones is a recent incident in China where an individual attacked a school class room with a knife, but no one died. Because China has strict gun control. Yup, you're right about that. But China is also run by a dictator, they don't allow their citizens access to firearms because they don't want the citizens to be armed and rise up against the government. So it's really not about gun control. Another fine example was the U.K. who has strict gun control, recent statistics reflect even with the strict gun control they are number 2 in the world for violent crimes, right behind the U.S. Lets totally disregard that the population of the U.S. is somewhere around 313 milion people and those are most likely here legally, not including the ones that aren't. Whereas the U.K. has a population of 6 million. I heard all the quotes, "when you take away the guns, only criminals will have guns." Which if you read any article about U.K. seems to be a proven statement. In some of my responses I pointed out that DC, Chicago, Detriot, and NYC have strict gun laws and it hasn't reduced the violence. And that murder was against the law in every state in the union yet it hasn't reduced it. Some serial killers have killed just as many people over a longer period of time and their method is usually a knife or stragulation. After 9/11 no one was clamoring to do with away with planes because now they had become a weapon. OKC tragedy was the result of someone making a bomb which they found the instructions on the internet. Yet there was no legislation passed to restrict such sites because thst interferes with someones freedom of speech. What each individual anti gun, anti-person can't quite grasp was that you can legislate them, confiscate them, regulate them, and these terrible tragedies will still occur. It isn't the gun(s), it's the one crazy lunatic behind the deed. Unless the goverment can figure out how to regulate crazy, unfortunately, our country will continue to see these terrible events. I for one also don't want the government being legally in charge of crazy either. I have already looked around and they are not doing so well with their duties for which they are already legally responsible. – Pam T., Virginia

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