As we try and absorb the horror of what happened in Connecticut last week, there is the predictable chorus of voices calling for stricter gun laws or the outright banning of guns.
These voices live in the illogical bubble of belief that:
- Criminals follow the law (unless the law is wrong - see below)
- Evil doesn't exist
The first issue is the most troubling because they believe that the law is an absolute deterrent against bad behavior in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary. Was Sandy Hook Elementary in a gun-free zone? Yes. And yet, the killer broke the law by taking guns onto the property. Was the school locked down for the school day? It appears that it was and that the killer broke another law by destroying school property to enter the building. Is murder illegal? Yes. And yet, the killer left 26 dead on the floor of the school.
It is interesting that those who advocate for gun control or gun banning are also typically the same people who claim that outlawing abortion, outlawing drugs and passing laws against illegal immigration won't work because people will find a way to do those things anyway. If outlawing abortion will bring back the mythical age when thousands of women performed coat hanger abortions or had abortions in filthy facilities performed by unscrupulous abortionists (instead of the legal filthy facilities and unscrupulous abortionists that we legally have now), then why would those advocating for more gun control believe that real criminals (instead of women who may be in a difficult situation) suddenly would decide that they will use knives to commit crime because guns are illegal? A reasonable comparison is the mythical man in Africa who frequents prostitutes but won't use condoms because the Catholic Church says it's wrong.
The second problem that these advocates have with their world view is that they really don't believe in evil. Sure, they talk about the horror of the killings and the evil of the individual but their solutions point towards a world where the individual is viewed as a piece of machinery that simply needs to be programmed through a new law or regulation in order to behave "acceptably." People aren't machines. Laws were viewed by America's founders as the last resort when personal responsibility failed. In its early days, the Founders regularly affirmed that America was great and would remain great because of its social mores, based on its Christian roots. Alexis de Touqueville took it one step further and said that Catholicism in particular was the glue that would keep America on the right path because of its moral outlook and unified community. Not all of the Founders were Christians but they understood that religion was actually an important part of keeping a society stable because of the Christian view that there is good and that there is also evil and that the society could do a far better job of instilling that in its citizens than government.
Unfortunately, America is no longer is rooted in its Christian principles. Sure, atheists and nominal Christians still talk about "right" and "wrong" but they don't really believe it, at least not in an absolute sense. "Right" and "wrong" are now decided by consensus. Killing 26 people in a school is wrong but killing thousands in the womb is a right. Corporate corruption may be frowned upon but is anyone articulating what is wrong with our corporate world except in terms of rich = bad? Politicians are only as bad as they are part of the opposing party. Prostitution is only wrong to the extent that it "isn't safe".
Putting aside the knee-jerk reaction to restrict / ban guns as a solution, there are several issues that would be discussed if we as Americans still believed in right and wrong and that society, not government, has the greatest responsibility for producing good citizens.
First is the issue of divorce and out-of-wedlock births. It isn't really popular to say this anymore, but marriage, even one that isn't idyllic, is still the best environment for raising children. Children thrive on order and predictability. When they are subjected to a parade of mommy's boyfriends - who statistically are the most likely to abuse the kids - or are bounced back and forth for visitation, they may be able to cope; but is coping the best we want to offer our children?
What about the message sent to children who are told that a vow means something, and then watch mommy and daddy get a divorce because they just don't love each other anymore? Promises are a foundational principle for children so what does finding out that promises are only good until someone doesn't want to keep them do to their development? It certainly doesn't lead them to be more trusting and have more personal restraint.
Second is the issue of mental illness and psychological drugs. In case after case, from Columbine to Sandy Hook, we hear that the murderer had mental problems and was on prescription drugs. Are we as a country really dealing with mental illness properly? Is doping up kids, especially boys, who are "causing disturbances" really the best solution? Are we even bothering to look for causes? Or instead, are we avoiding trying to find the causes because we're afraid that we may find that our "personal 'happiness' trumps all" mentality, the lack of stable family life and absent fathers may actually be part of the problem? Stability and predictability are key factors in helping many people with mental issues to cope with daily life. The chaos that is the modern family produces the exact opposite.
Third is the issue of sex. I'm not talking about birds and bees, I'm talking about male and female. As has been documented frequently over the past few decades, the feminist push has led to strange goals in social engineering. Feminists don't like boys being boys and doing "guy stuff" like rough-housing, throwing things, or making guns out of Lego, bread, or any other available substance. They don't believe in male-only clubs (see Augusta) because they believe that men and women are creations of society and are fundamentally the same. This also feeds into the push for approval of ambiguous sexual identity and the destruction of marriage.
On the flip side, feminism has led to a coarsening of women. Words like "nurturer", "homemaker" and even "mother" make feminists bristle and so they push for women in combat, the end of segregated sports and the increased sexualization of women so they can be just like the guys. You see, feminists don't want to celebrate being women, they want to destroy the feminine and replace it with "stereotypical guy light" because femininity is supposedly an artificial construct of an oppressive patriarchal society.
How are boys, especially ones that may have mental problems, supposed to react to a society like this? More than half of them grow up in homes without one of their parents, typically their father. They aren't learning discipline at home because dad is either absent or still acts like a teenager so they don't have a masculine role model to show them how to be "real men."
They are told that they shouldn't act like boys and are doped up because "being boys" has become a bad thing while at the same time they are fed a diet of emasculated, sex-crazed men on television and super violent men at the movies and in video games.
Outside of the entertainment world, they see that men treat women as nothing more than "things" and that women take it because, really, there isn't any difference between men and women, right? Is this really "empowering" women? In fact, in a society where people are seen as just intelligent animals, there really isn't a better life-plan than to use others for your own personal gain.
How exactly is a boy who is subjected to a constant diet of these messages and role models supposed to grow up to be what society defines as the very low bar of a "good person", let alone to be a truly virtuous man?
We can talk about gun control all we want but until the true issues are addressed we won't really fix the problems.