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President Obama
President Obama at a forum on gun violence. I think he’s partly right.

This is the kind of blog post that usually gets me in trouble.  Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  It is bothering me.

We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while–Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451.

I’ve been contemplating the tragedy of school shootings.  I am very bothered by the almost faddish development of such acts.  What I don’t know is if enough people are.  It will not be until we’re bothered enough that something actually will change for the better.  Until the pain of the existing situation exceeds the pain of change, nothing will be done.

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety–Benjamin Franklin

The first reaction is to take away all guns.  But would that really solve the problem?  Guns and firearms are an important part of not only our nations legacy but of individuals rights (2nd Amendment, anyone?) to protection.  Liberty should not come at the expense security.  My personal feeling is that people want too much security.  I also think that guns are really only part of the problem.

I grew up in the South with guns everywhere, and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren’t taught the value of life–Samuel L. Jackson

Me too Sam.  In fact, I remember very well people driving pickup trucks to school with gun racks holding loaded rifles and shotguns.  It never once crossed our mind to kill anyone.  Guns were not a problem.  They were a tool.  Something else is going on here, and the value of life might well be part of it.  Violence is the logical result of a society taught to believe that a human being is just another animal and there is no such thing as eternal judgment.

The Carrying of Firearms Strictly Prohibited–Dodge City, Kansas public ordinance sign, 1878

It is foolish to believe that there have never been gun laws.  It seems to me that, though not a fix all, better and more restrictive gun laws would help.  The problem is legislators go at it the wrong way.  They pass laws outlawing certain guns, clips, or ammunition.  I think we’ve seen that is ineffective.  A better solution would be to regulate who can legally own a firearm.

The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else–President Obama after a school shooting in Oregon

The President is right.  Crazy is a universal constant.  Where he is wrong, though, is the context.  The United States has a large population that is prosperous and free.  That sets us apart, from say, crazy people in China (not free), crazy people in Uganda (poor), or crazy people in Norway (small).  When these factors are combined, the potential for crazed violence grows exponentially.  Now, add to that caffeine driven diets, irregular sleep patterns, and drugs–both legal and illegal.  The result is that the United States does have a unique situation that defies comparison.

I suppose, in summary, I come to these thoughts.

1.  Our current gun laws are insufficient.

2.  Something is lacking in what we teach at school.  It is young boys doing this, not middle-aged depressed moms or dads who want to protect themselves.

3.  Admit that a purely materialist worldview fails.

4.  Stop acting like some people aren’t crazy.  Mainstreaming mentally incompetent people is a detriment to the well-being of society.

 I do not pretend to have all the answers to such a huge issue.  I would love to hear what anyone else has to say about it, so long as the discourse is civil.



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