To begin, I offer my condolences, thoughts, and prayers to all the victims of the terrible tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas. It is truly sad to imagine that there are people in our world who would commit such heinous acts of violence. I certainly hope that those responsible are brought to swift justice.
When we look at guns in America, what is wrong? What is the problem? Can the problem be fixed with legislation? Or is the root cause deeper in American culture?
Presently in America, there are laws against murder, rape, theft, kidnapping, and a host of deviant behaviors. Unfortunately, all of these crimes still occur. In the Las Vegas shooting, it is believed that the murderer used a fully automatic weapon, which has been illegal since the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. Semi-automatic weapons are still legal. Over the past few years, Britain, which has among the strictest gun laws in the world, has seen shootings take place. Bombs have been used. Stabbings have taken place.
The fact of the matter is that as long as people have criminal intent, they will find some weapon or method to commit evil.
From a spiritual perspective, the problem with America is an identity crisis. God was once the center focus of many in the nation. Public education still allowed Bible readings and prayer.
Since the mid to late 1900s, the Bible and prayer have been removed from school. The value of life has been lessened by abortion. The definition of marriage, which is the fundamental unit of society, has been skewed by ideologues. A significant percentage of the nation has turned its back on God.
These are obvious signs of the times. The spiritual decline is obvious in our country. The spiritual decline has led to other troubling behaviors.
America is in an existential crisis. The individual American is more interconnected to other Americans (and other people in the world) than at any other time in history. With the click of a button, you can communicate with another person via email, text, or facebook even though that person physically lives thousands of miles away. At the same time, the average American has very little interpersonal communication with his/her neighbor. I have seen this decline in my lifetime. Neighbors used to have social functions together and sometimes even a whole street would get together. Outside of your immediate neighbors, you might not know anyone else on your entire street!
This situation is quite a paradox. While we are more interconnected with each other, we are alienated from those nearest us.
The increase in non-personal communication (as listed above), opens the door for objectification. Over time, people are not seen as people, but as a way to obtain gratification. Said another way, people are seen as a way to obtain goods, services, resources or answers. Objectification causes a decrease in personal relationships and makes existing ones less meaningful. This objectification is not overt, but in the hands of the wrong people can become a weapon.
The prevalence of pornography has exploded in the country. The use of phones that can access online content has facilitated this spread. Pornography is a total objectification of the human for personal gratification. It only hurts those participating in it and those who watch it. Children are now sexting as early as elementary school.
To complicate the matter, violence has been glorified in America. There are a significant number of horror and action films where the violence is very graphic. Furthermore, video games have become more explicit as well. The graphic content of entertainment is not limited to violence. Language standards and sexual standards have been greatly relaxed in the last 10-15 years.
Let’s place these three items together: alienation, objectification, and exposure to human degradation. We have a situation where the average younger American has been socially trained to see humans as objects of self-gratification. Those that are older have been spared from some of this since they were reared in a time when things were different. However, they have still been affected. Young people pick up guns and shoot each other without thinking of the consequences.
When we talk about guns, we have to talk about culture. We have to talk about the sociological climate of the individual.
Sadly enough, we have ideologues in the nation who will use this concealed objectification for their own purposes. A CBS executive recently said that she was “not even sympathetic” for those shot in Las Vegas because country music fans are often “republican gun toters”. There have been others who expressed such a sentiment (ex: a CNN reporter said that many of the victims were “likely” Tump supporters). Republicans / Conservatives are not viewed as people by some in the media. They are just objects that need to be removed. Unfortunately, our society has trained us to think this way.
This is a classical Socialist/Communist tactic. You objectify your enemy and then eliminate him/her. You degrade them in every way so that their elimination does not affect the conscience of the country. It worked in Germany, Russia, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. All totaled, over 100 million people died in those countries.
Socialists/Communists in America mostly control the public education system and Colleges. Thus, the communist revolutions are viewed in a positive light. Fascism is viewed in a negative light and even falsely labeled “right wing”. Nazi is short for National Socialism. It is another left-wing movement. These same individuals control most of the entertainment industry.
Let’s look at some statistics:
There were 91 mass shootings from 1982 through 2017 (so far).
Of these shootings, the mental health of the patient has been established in 82 of them (some are still undergoing due process). Of these 82 shootings, 62% of the murderers had confirmed mental health problems (depending on how you interpret the data, the number could be as high as 68%).
88 of the 91 mass shooting cases have released the weapons used. 45% of mass shootings were conducted with hand guns alone. In the other 65% of the cases, shotguns were used as well as assault rifles.
When we discuss mass shootings, the mental health system needs to be addressed. I would certainly be in favor of legislation that makes it difficult for those with mental conditions to have guns. However, I am skeptical of how “mental” condition will be defined (and later twisted by communists).
Terrorists in England, France, and America have recently used vehicles. Do we ban those too? The fact is we live in a world with evil people. When someone wants to commit mass crimes, they will find whatever instrument they can to carry out these attacks.
God is the only answer to our problems. But it will require a huge dose of humility for us to recognize and turn to Him. God, help us.
(statistics on mass shootings analyzed from Mother Jones, a non-profit organization that complies data on these events)
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Kelly McDonald Jr
Kelly McDonald Jr, USA Political Correspondant, has a double degree in political science and sociology, minoring in psychology and legal studies from Lambeth University.