The unimaginable scene screams for answers: twenty children and six adults lying murdered in an elementary school.
The National Rifle Association demands one solution: Place an armed guard at every American school. Cost: $6.7 billion.
A strong liberal movement demands another solution: Outlaw assault weapons. Cost: A dramatic expansion in government power.
We’ve seen it all too often: A massacre takes place; politicians project indignation; they enact new laws—and little really changes. Last year 32,000 Americans died in front of the barrel of a gun. A little more than half were suicides. Tens of thousands more were shot, but lived.
Many Americans shout for more guns. Many Americans shout for fewer. And a lot of us are looking at this and realizing that the problem is so, so much deeper.
There is a real, practical solution to gun violence—to all violence—but we continue to ignore it while we bicker over this weapons-ban debate.
If America really wants to keep our children—all of them—safe from harm, we need a totally different debate. If we are honest with ourselves, we should realize that the cause of violence goes far deeper than whether people should be able to own guns, or what types of guns those should be.
The real debate shouldn’t be how many bullets we put into a clip—but what we put into our minds. Has anybody noticed our violent entertainment culture? How is there even a market for horror movies? Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3d debuted at number one at the box office in January! It displaced Django Unchained and The Hobbit—two other incredibly violent movies. Why do millions of us want to experience the horror of a person being savaged by a chainsaw in 3d Technicolor and thx sound? Can we have that conversation? Can we talk about the popularity of blood-and-gore-filled video games that millions of children and teenagers play? A youth, or an adult, cannot immerse his mind in this nightmarish filth without being affected. Where is the public outcry and political rage over our violent entertainment industry? Where is that debate?
And why are we ignoring the mental health/psychosis drug debate? So many killers are on prescription drugs. Sandy Hook butcher Adam Lanza was receiving treatment and taking medication for mental health problems. The Aurora, Colorado, killer was seeing a psychiatrist and took Vicodin before he went on his killing spree. Columbine mass-murderer Eric Harris was taking anti-depressant Luvox. The Virginia Tech murderer’s personal possessions included prescription medication for the treatment of psychological problems.
More than one in 10 Americans take anti-depressants. Almost 4 percent of adolescents take these medications. Abilify and Seroquel, two powerful antipsychotics, are the fifth and sixth best-selling prescription drugs in the United States. These are horribly high and condemning numbers. Numerous mental health experts believe that mood-altering drugs are likely a significant factor in school shootings and other gun violence, yet America’s leaders hardly raise an outcry. Why aren’t we discussing whether this drug-injection style of treatment is a failed system? Why aren’t we asking why so many people need mental treatment in the first place?
The biggest scandal of all this, though, is America’s culture of broken families. According to a 1991 study, more than seven in ten prisoners come from broken families. Many others grew up in dysfunctional homes. Today, 40 percent of all American infants are born to single parents. America’s violent cities contain far higher single parenthood rates. In Detroit, 70 percent of all births are to single parents. More Americans were killed in Detroit last year than in Afghanistan.
Do we truly want to do everything we can to give all children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? Then instead of putting an armed guard in every school, let’s work toward ensuring there’s a strong father in every home. Instead of accepting occasional massacres as the price we pay for the luxury of easy divorces and other “freedoms,” let’s demand selfless fathers and mothers as the price for lasting families and safe schools. Instead of focusing on the aftermaths, let’s confront the causes.
The real issue we need to address isn’t gun control, it is character control. The truth is that we need to fix our depraved culture—and there is only one way to do that. America needs to turn to God in deep repentance, and that repentance requires actual change!
But don’t expect any politician to tell you that. Instead, America will keep doing what it is doing, and keep getting what it is getting: more political task forces on gun violence, another political gunfight, and sadly, more school shootings.
If we really want to keep our children safe from harm, America needs to take a long look in the mirror. It needs to end its collective fetish of constantly making new laws and regulations, and instead actually start keeping the higher laws that mankind was given from the beginning. If we are really honest with ourselves, if we really care about stopping the next Sandy Hook, we have to admit that this is the only way guaranteed to prevent more school shootings. And it is the only way to bring real, lasting, hope-filled change to America. ▪