Saturday, December 15, 2012

CT shooting: Valuing human life - not more gun laws - is the real issue

My heart is in shreds over the shootings in Connecticut yesterday. I cannot begin to wrap my mind around this and cannot even fathom the misery every single parent and every loved one of the victims is experiencing. I am praying non-stop for all of them. I don't know what else to do. I don't know what else I can do.

We'll probably never have a concrete answer as to why this happened, but yet we cannot help but ask why. Even so, we can only offer our own thoughts and theories as to why. Maybe Adam Lanza, the shooter, was simply insane. After all, do sane people go on such murderous rampages, especially ones that target children?

So what do we do about it? It's understandable in the wake of yesterday's horror that some people are calling for tougher gun laws. But murder is already on the books as being against the law. That law didn't dissuade Adam Lanza from his horrifying actions. I suspect having other gun laws on the books wouldn't have dissuaded him either, regardless of how he obtained his weapons. In fact we've had an increasing number of new anti-gun laws put on the books over the past few decades, with no effect. What's more is that not every crime is even carried out with guns. Over 3,000 lives were lost in 2001 in a crime spree that originated with box cutters, and just yesterday, a man in China stabbed 22 children. We could outlaw every single gun in existence, and yet they would continue to be made and still have a huge demand on the black market. Those with criminal intentions would not care that guns are against the law. Criminals, by definition, don't obey the law.

Instead, law abiding citizens would be left defenseless against those whose intentions are dangerous. We might as well all put a sign in our front yards alerting criminals we have no way to defend ourselves and plead for their mercy. I doubt we'd receive it, just like the helpless victims in yesterday's shootings didn't receive the killer's mercy. But as long as criminals know there's a chance that a law-abiding citizen has the right to own a gun, he is more likely to think twice about invading their home and that benefits all of us, whether we own a gun or not (read John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" for some very revealing statistics).

But one place criminals know guns are not likely to be found is in schools. Perhaps if the staff at the school had license-to-carry clearance, they could have stopped the shooter in his tracks with their own gun. I know that may sound to some as though I'm advocating more violence. On the contrary. I wonder, would someone who wants to see all gun rights abolished, but who had a loved one in Sandy Hook Elementary school yesterday, have objected to a teacher opening her desk drawer and pulling out the only defense weapon that could have taken this demon down?

My concern is that this tragedy is going to be used to further strip the rights of law-abiding citizens, while failing to look at the real and serious issues that are behind this. I believe this violence - and all the violence we're seeing lately, like Oregon earlier this week, and Aurora, CO, in July - has to do with moral decay and a systematic devaluation of human life itself in our society.

Maybe it's time we take a psychological look at things like abortion. How can a society that says it's okay to terminate human life in the womb then turn around and teach that human life is sacred? I don't see that lesson being taught. How could it be? Add to this things like euthanasia and assisted suicide, the glorification of death in movies and video games, and what message is anyone getting that life really, truly matters? Instead, the messages I see being put forth are ones of self-importance and self-gratification. "If it's right for you, then it's right." There is no longer an objective measure of right and wrong independent of how we feel about something, and that is a dangerous track we're on. 

In many ways, society is advancing the notion that the pursuit of happiness has more to do with instant gratification than ethical behavior, hard work and sacrifice. It seems in too many cases that the only sacrifice some people are willing to make is to sacrifice their dignity in return for their fleeting 15 minutes of fame. Take a look at any random television reality show for some examples.

In line with this, a 2010 UK survey found that the top three career aspirations for five- to 11-year-olds were sports star, pop star and actor, compared with teacher, banker and doctor 25 years ago. I see similar fame-oriented aspirations right here in America. And in tragedies like yesterday's nightmare in Connecticut, maybe it's a different 15 minutes of fame altogether that some people are seeking. But where and when did these criminals lose sight of the value of human life? Were they ever taught it in the first place?

It's interesting to note that, besides legal guns, another thing schools lack is God. For all intents and purposes, He has been removed from our schools and, by extension, from large parts of our society. He gives us free will, and in that freedom, we can choose good, or we can choose evil. It seems that because God's Ten Commandments have become little more than the ten suggestions, that more and more people are choosing evil.

Of course I don't have the answers as to what drove the gunman to do what he did yesterday. I feel helpless in taking away the suffering of the parents of the children who died, or of the children of the adults who died. But I can't help but think if we are going to turn this violent, morally devoid trend around, we need to start by teaching from the beginning that right and wrong do exist independent of our own whims, that personal dignity should be cherished above vain attention, and that all human life is sacred.

May God bless the souls of all those who lost their earthly lives yesterday, may He comfort those in unimaginable grief, and may He help our country turn back to Him for the guidance we so desperately need.

What do you think?  Click on the comments link in the bar below to share your thoughts. No registration necessary.


  1. Bravo! I truly believe that we need to explore the source of the anger that is leading to such violence! You nailed it on the head! Thank you for your honesty!!! Again....BRAVO!

  2. We need more writers like you!

  3. Great job with this. I agree completely. We have definitely lost our way and we need to get back on the right road! God bless all those grieving families.

  4. Ditto to the comments and your article. The first and foremost thing we should do in America is not ban guns but ban the trash and violence that so-called Hollywood is allowed to put out in name of the First Amendment. We would not have to worry about the Second Amendment. You have stupid people trying to bar the erection of Christmas creches and the use of the word "Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." But it's o.k. to put garbage out there and just call it x-rated. You can't mention the word "God" if you are a public school teacher. You will be fired if you do. People with brains are afraid to use them because of the backlash of those who stand to gain wealth from whatever makes you happy and wealthy.

    The election of Obama stands to prove this. He personifies everything that today's culture exhibits to the detriment of all decent law-abiding citizens of a country who readily accepted "the tired and poor." What we have today is chaos. Elected officials don't know how to deal with it. There is no moral guidance. A so-called figure in Jewish history named Moses was supposedly given the 10 Commandments from God. Well....what should we do? How should we rectify these fables from folklore?

    The Catholic Church is the one bastion of truth. But lately, its voice has been quashed.

  5. The Right Track is right on. It's not the guns but the deterioration of the morals and the Christian principles upon which this nation was created that results in these heinous crimes. Take God out of the schools, promote violence and filth on television and create laws that hasten the demise of two parent families and you can expect nothing less than the violence and disrespect of life which we are experiencing.