Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What Has Changed?

For over two hundred years, the United States has been a country in which people owned and sometimes carried guns. When I was growing up, I don't recall ever hearing about mass shootings such as we've had in the past few years.  If people have always had guns, yet the mass shootings have increased, what has changed?

People who lean left politically always predictably call for gun control after these heinous acts. The problem is that only law-abiding people will obey the laws and we're not the ones you need to be concerned about. Criminals are, by definition, those who violate laws and new gun laws will be no exception.  

These horrible mass shootings present a multifactorial problem. Our society has changed over the past thirty years or so and not for the better.  It's not the presence of guns in society that's the basic problem.  There are other social factors at play:  broken families, too many parents who fail to teach their children right from wrong and a lack of respect for law and order.  On top of this, many children are exposed on a daily basis to extreme violence in video games, television and movies in which human life is portrayed as expendable and not worthy of reverence. In addition, our society has become less religious and more secular which sometimes results in a broken moral compass.  Add all of these factors together and you get a mixture that is toxic and potentially explosive.  

One of the supreme ironies of this day and age is that even as our communication technology has become ever more sophisticated, more and more people seem isolated and alienated from others.  There was a time in the not so distant past that most people had ties to their neighbors, communities at large and churches.  Now, it's not uncommon for people to not know the people who live right next door to them.  The loosening of these community ties contribute to people feeling disconnected from those around them, and when a person doesn't feel connected to others, it's easier to harm those people.  

While I'm in favor of common sense gun laws, we can all play a role in keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.  We must have the courage to speak up if we know of someone who seems unstable, perhaps with violent tendencies, or someone who talks or writes about hurting others.  If you sense something is wrong, don't ignore it!  You could possibly be saving lives by taking notice and trying to get help for those who need it most.