This week’s blog is on what the government needs to do to stop mass violence. If you haven’t read the blog on Psalm 23 from two weeks ago, I recommend going back and reading that blog first. It lays the foundation for government action, not only in regards to mass violence, but in all aspects of governing.
This blog is being written the morning after another mass shooting, this one in Odessa, Texas. Clearly, these incidents have to stop. But that won’t happen over night. It will take at least one generation to make the most impact on this violence. But there is a lot that can be done right now to start reducing mass violence and along with it many other ills in our society. This week I address the government action needed to make the changes needed to put our society back on track.
Gun Control: Guns cannot be taken away from the citizens of the United States due to the Constitution’s Second Amendment. Nor should they be. Reasonable restrictions do need to be put in place. I’ve been a gun owner most of my life, and in the past I’ve had a concealed carry permit. So I’m solidly in favor of the citizens’ right to keep and bear arms. But guns are the main tool used by mass killers because of how easy shooting makes the killing. However, it is not the only way. The Columbine, Colorado, shooters also planted several bombs in the school that, thanks to God, didn’t detonate. And, in Boston pressure cooker bombs were used. This past month has seen two multiple stabbing incidents. So, take away one tool and the killers will just use another. Guns are just one tool among many possibilities.
The governments in many jurisdictions are already thinking on the right track about the gun issue by implementing restrictions on possession of firearms by those persons entertaining thoughts of mass violence. This policy has already prevented at least two incidents. One college student was arrested for having guns in his dorm room which is illegal in most states. The governments, local, state and federal, need to be careful that this policy isn’t misused to unnecessarily take guns from citizens due to false accusations by vindictive persons with a grudge against the accused, or because the government doesn’t like the subject’s politics or social stance. This has happened in other countries in the past. So, society must oversee how the government uses gun control.
Counselling hotlines can be used to help stop the violence as they are with suicide prevention hotlines. These can be expanded to include those entertaining thoughts of violence as many shooters are intent on dying in the planned incidents, usually by suicide or at the hand or responding law enforcement. A legal problem exists with such hotlines. The law requires that priests, psychologists and attorneys report persons planning to harm or kill others to law enforcement. This would include hotline and school counsellors, and other professionals who learn of such plans. So persons planning mass violence are not likely to call such places.
Counselling for the root causes of mass shooting is a viable option. One recent shooter said he was tired of being ignored. What he really meant was that he was tired of feeling worthless, of having no value as a person. People have a tendency to ignore others who they feel have nothing to contribute to them. If Joe doesn’t have anything to benefit Sam, to better Sam in some way even if it’s just Sam enjoying Joe’s company, Then he will ignore Joe. And Joe feels that if he is of no value to others then he is worthless. I’m starting to get into the topics for the next two weeks here. The point is that government-sponsored hotlines can work if they address the underlying psychological issues rather than planned killings. There are such hotlines in place now. And, such hotlines, such as Another Way (anotherway.com), need to be advertised more aggressively in secular media that will reach the intended audience.
The fundamental failure in government today is the drifting away from the religious principles on which our founding fathers based our Constitution. The First Amendment, U.S. Constitution, prohibits only a government-founded religion, and by extension it prohibits a religion-sponsored government, such as Utah’s. But that’s another issue. Theocracies have never worked well in practice do to human pride and greed. Pride promotes strife (James 4:1-6). Human rights do not fair well in theocracies (nor in do they grow in our present social climate). The authors of our Constitution knew this from past experience. The major reason the pilgrims came to the new world was to escape religious persecution in Europe. Consequently, they put provisions in place to prevent such persecution from occurring in this country. It almost did. Many of the religious sects in the colonies would banish-or worse- people who did not hold to the sect’s doctrine. And basically, religious persecution was the main factor underlying the Salem witch trials. So I am not advocating the U.S. becoming a theocracy. I do advocate our elected representatives basing their decisions on the fundamental social and psychological principles found in the Bible.
Local, state and the federal government today create laws and policies that operate on the antithesis of biblical principles. And. the U.S. Supreme Court has based its decisions on subjects such as abortion on highly elastic and deformed constitutional constructions which have no basis in fact. The LGBT community has been given a more than equal status by governments at the expense of other groups, primarily Christians. And, what results from this abandonment of founding principles is a sinful society which God cannot condone. He didn’t permit Sodom to continue as it was, nor many other countries following satanic social structures. In one sense the extreme Islamic terrorists have a valid point when they call the United States the Great Satan. I don’t agree with Islam, and I certainly don’t hold with terrorism, but they do have a point here.
God is warning this country today through all the natural disasters we are experiencing. The huge forest fires, floods, earth quakes and the recurrence of diseases such as measles that we thought were eradicated in this country are God’s way of telling us that we had better return to Him and His principles for ruling this country. God has told us, “If My people, upon whom My name is called, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14; emphasis added). The operative word is “then”: if we humble ourselves and return to Him, then God will heal our country, but not before we do so.
Our elected leaders can follow the principles set forth in the Bible without corrupting them to fit their own designs, as they do now. Today’s officials are following the same theocratical designs in reverse. It’s Satan’s influence they are following, not God’s. Anything not of God is of Satan. There is no other choice.
Our elected leaders are just that. They are our representatives to the government. They ultimately work for the People, and the People is you, me and all the other citizens of this country. We need to let them know that they are not following our wishes, and if they don’t advocate what we want them to do, we will fire them in the next election. Let’s be real here: the bottom line motivating most representatives is job security. It’s getting reelected, and they will do whatever they think will put them in the good graces of the majority of citizens. Next week’s blog will be on what society can do to reduce mass violence. But you can start now by contacting your representatives and telling them you aren’t happy with their performance on your behalf. Send an email or letter today, or call after the holiday. The sooner we start this country returning to God the sooner our social ills and natural disasters will diminish. Ultimately stopping mass violence and the other social ills is up to you. Start now.