December 14, 2012

Newtown shootingYesterday, a terrible thing happened. Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old suffering in unknown ways, decided the best way to deal with his problems was to inflict as much pain as possible on others. So, he shot and killed his mother, then drove to the local elementary school with a semi-automatic rifle, two handguns and plenty of ammunition and proceeded to kill 27 more people, most of them children. Because of this young man’s decision, there are a lot of families grieving this morning. There are also plenty of theories as to why this happened and what we can do to prevent this from happening again. And, they’re all bullshit.

There are people on the left calling for more gun control and people on the right who say this was inevitable because prayer is no longer allowed in schools. As for more gun control, it really isn’t going to help. People were killing others well before the invention of the firearm; guns just make it easier to do. While I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment, I do think there needs to a fundamental change in gun laws in this country. It is jut too damn too easy to buy a gun. In many states, buying a rifle or shotgun requires only that you be 18, live in the same state where you’re buying the weapon, sign a form and have the money. Handguns aren’t that much harder, which is shown by the fact that an underage person with obvious mental health issues was able to get his hands on, not one, but two pistols. It’s harder to buy fucking pseudoephedrine, for God’s sake. This has to change.

On the other end of the spectrum, Mike Huckabee said yesterday “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” And, Bryan Fischer said “You know, the question’s going to come up ‘Where was God? I thought God cared about the little children. Where was God when all this went down?’ And, here’s the bottom line: God is not going to go where He’s not wanted.” I find both of these statements incredibly crass, insensitive and, frankly, idiotic. They paint a picture of a God who is just as petty and mean-spirited as any human being and who the hell wants worship that? It’s ludicrous.

Earlier, I said these theories were bullshit. That’s because the real problem we’re facing isn’t the easy availability guns or that God isn’t allowed in our schools. It’s the culture of violence Americans seem hell bound to perpetuate. Until we deal with that, nothing will change. While leaving “the brains of the criminals on the sidewalk” (the answer a friend of mine gave to the problem) may be satisfying, it will do no more to address this than praying before a football game. We, as a nation, as people of faith (and without faith) and as individuals must reject violence in any form. Until we do, we are bound to repeat tragedies like yesterday’s again and again.