Unfortunately, this country is getting somewhat used to the hearing about mass shootings in the news. However, the most recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has shaken us at the core because so many of the victims are innocent young children. There is no way to make sense of this. There is no explanation that will ever make the “why” go away. As I have been watching the news and reading comments in social media the question that comes to my mind is “What Is It?”
I have seen and heard people make all kinds of statements about what might be causing young men (so far the shooters have all been men) to take this kind of action. Some of the comments are as follows:
- To many absent dads
- Families are no longer spending quality time together as a family
- Parents don’t spank anymore
- We no longer allow our kids to fail, everyone’s a winner
- God has been taken out of the schools and/or our society
- Gun laws aren’t strict enough
- Video games are too violent
- Mental health isn’t taken serious enough and there are too few resources
- The liberal media is to blame
Back to my thought, “What is it?” This thought isn’t just about the recent shooting; however this tragedy is for sure what got me thinking. It’s about a broader discussion. What is it about our countries current culture that is creating an environment where someone would choose to take a gun into a public place and kill people at random? This is an open-ended question that doesn’t have one correct answer and involves so many of the topics listed above. It is difficult to wrap our minds around but I feel is a conversation that we all need to be having. I try to examine these things in a way that uses common sense, experience and education.
* What is it – about separation of church and state that makes people so quick to, in part, blame the absence of God as a reason for these shootings? I am a Christian and I don’t believe that there is ever a time that God is absent from me. I guess what I am saying is that I don’t believe we have taken God out school or our work places. It just isn’t possible. Yes, there are some schools where prayer as a group is no longer allowed. However, there is nothing that stops anybody from praying anytime, anywhere they want. We can talk to God whenever we choose to. I don’t want teachers and administrators teaching my children religion. That is the job of me and my husband. I live in a small town smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt, and I have witnessed first-hand religious crazies. I am not interested in having that influence on my children.
Also, I don’t believe that children were being slaughtered (or innocent people in other shootings) and Jesus was just ignoring it. I believe angels were present in all of the shootings but in particular the school shooting shielding many and keeping them safe. I also believe angels were escorting souls to Heaven where they met their heavenly Father. God is never going to turn his back on kids, ever. There is no explanation for why some were spared when others were not. Christians were not promised a life free from pain. We are promised that God is present with us always and supporting us through our pain.
* What is it – about guns that get people so worked up? Gun enthusiasts were quick to point out that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I saw this statement on FB within a few hours of the shooting being reported and many times over. Literally speaking this statement is true. BUT – men aren’t trying to kill masses of people with knives or baseball bats or hammers or any other kind of weapon. They are using guns. Therefore, I feel we (as a country) have to examine our obsession for guns and do the current laws do enough?
People are concerned they are going to lose their right to bear arms (2nd amendment). To me a little common sense goes a long way. Does anybody really need a semi-automatic gun or worse? These are weapons that have the potential for mass destruction, WMD’s. I realize this will make gun people crazy, but there was mass destruction in that school on Friday. There was mass destruction in that movie theater a few months ago. Should all types of guns need to legal?
The majority of Americans agree that owning a gun to protect your home is fine. Owning guns used for hunting is fine. Many people agree and the majority of states say it is legal to carry a gun on your-self for personal protection. I don’t think anyone is trying to revoke these rights. It’s the process to obtain these guns and ensure that someone is appropriately trained, of sound mental capacity, that they have no incidents of irrational behavior in their past and that they have a history of following the laws that needs to be examined. The laws about obtaining a firearm needs to be strict, concise and the same across the country. I don’t understand why anyone with good intentions would have a problem with this, but clearly many do.
* What is it – about our country that no one wants to talk openly about mental health? America needs to wake up and get real about mental health. Services for people once they reach 18 years of age are very limited. Parents are embarrassed to talk about it. School resources are very limited. Insurance coverage is spotty at best. The sad thing is therapy and medication can make a world of difference for so many people if they just had access to it and lived in an environment that supported it. Funds for psychiatric hospitals are scarce so there is limited space available. Hardly anyone can afford to pay for services on their own. It is going to take government funding to make services available for those who need it.
This is such a complex matter. I didn’t even talk about parenting, video games or the media’s role in all this. There are no clear answers and no easy fixes. I feel we have to dig a bit deeper to understand what it is about our country’s current climate that keeps fueling these tragic killing sprees. We can disagree on the causes and we can disagree on the solutions. My prayer is that we won’t waste time arguing about the hot topics, but come together to find solutions based on common sense, experience and being educated about the issues.