This morning I am not writing as a pastor, but as a citizen. Sure, I’m still a pastor–but for now I am just another citizen of the world, who just so happens to also be a follower of Jesus and a pastor. But these words are churning in my mind and heart AS a citizen. And today’s musings are longer than usual. And you may be wondering about today’s title.
When pharmaceutical companies develop new medications they run tests to see if it works. Volunteers become part of the research; some receive the developed medication and others receive a placebo such as normal saline solution. And we all know that saline solution will not produce the desired outcomes from this research. Now, on to this ordinary citizen’s thoughts.
Once again the news is flooded with the tragedy of another mass shooting; this time at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. Three adults and three children were senselessly murdered. And once again, empty heads are talking about guns and “assault” rifles. And as tragic as the Covenant School shooting is, it’s not the only tragedy happening. Birmingham, Alabama has had 8 homicides in the past 9 days; the latest being a 16 year old female juvenile. She was the second one from the same high school in recent days.
And this week, Huntsville, Alabama Police Officer Garrett Crumby died after he and another officer responded to a domestic violence call. The other officer is in critical condition in a local hospital. These cities are within a hundred mile radius of where I live. And every day my son puts on the badge to protect and to serve–not knowing if the next call will be the End Of Watch for him.
And I haven’t heard anything on the national news about either of these “other” tragedies. And I would not be surprised that within a hundred miles of where you live, similar tragedies are happening there. But empty heads want to ban assault weapons, even handguns, because of the latest incident in Nashville, Tennessee and declare that this is the antidote for these types of tragedies. Take away the guns and the problem is solved.
Now, I’m not downplaying what happened in Nashville; it breaks my heart and has caused me to cry because it is a tragedy; one of many tragedies. And the news and talk about Nashville has been more about the 3 children than the 3 adults who were also murdered. Isn’t the senseless taking of their lives also a tragedy? I’m not comparing those adults to the children. Listen, senseless tragedies have nothing to do with the ages of the victims. One cannot compare the situations where human lives are ended violently. One is not worse than the other. Tragic is tragic is tragic.
But eliminating firearms is like giving a cancer patient saline solution rather than the medication and hope for the best. And before someone asks if I own any firearms, I admit I do; several, but I’m not a member of the NRA before you accuse me of that. I have handguns and long guns. Two of them belonged to my Dad. And yes, I do own an AR-15–but it self-identifies as a single shot bolt action rifle. Point is, each of my firearms has it’s own purpose and meaning to me. And not a single one of my personal collection has ever prompted me nor caused me to go out and senselessly kill other people. Maybe my entire collection is defective since they haven’t committed any gun violence.
Listen up, folks! We’ve got a problem here, but it ain’t the guns. The REAL PROBLEM is people; how they think and what’s in their hearts. What we have here in the good old U.S. of A. is the total disregard of the value of human life. What has led us to this point? As with all problems, there are multiple causes. Here are some of the causes that I see that led to this week’s tragedies. There are in no particular order of importance, except the first one!
- Abortion! When the most vulnerable of any society are unprotected and considered just a mass of cells and tissue, then it leads to the attitude that NO life is important. Failure to protect unborn life has led to the disregard of “born” life. When one life isn’t considered as important as all other lives, well, we see the result.
- Participation Trophies! Where there is no impetus to improve the quality of your own life, then it leads to that sense of entitlement. And when they don’t get what they want, then it’s unfair to them, or so they think. Others are their problem. There is no tools given to them to take action and improve their lives.
- The Blame Game! Some are always looking to blame someone or something for their situation in life. No one is held accountable for their decisions and actions.
- Pseudo Science! In the tragedy that happened in Nashville, news is coming out that Audrey Hale was being treated (unsuccessfully) for feeling transgendered. Hold on there, I’m not even suggesting that all transgendered people are mass shooters. I didn’t say or imply that; if that’s what you were thinking, the YOU said it, not me! But apparently the “treatment” she was receiving wasn’t resolving her feelings. Pseudo Science at it’s worst! And because of the HIPPA Laws, Ms. Hale’s condition could not be reported and added to the national background database used to purchase firearms. Had it been reported, then it is highly likely her purchase would not have been approved.
- Failure To Treat Mental Illnesses! Again, I’m not even slightly suggesting that those with mental illnesses are future mass shooters. What I am saying is that it’s been a pi## poor job done when it comes to treating people mental illnesses. Many insurance carriers provide very little to help those with mental illnesses. My own state has eliminated the vast majority of “beds” for treatment of those suffering with some form of mental illness. There is only a small percentage of those with mental illness who are a threat to others. Most are a threat to themselves.
- The Parents Who Want To Be Their Kid’s Friend Instead Of Their Parent! This has been going on for some time now. When I did something wrong as a kid, my parents never tried to defend me. They taught me that I made a poor decision and thus, I had to accept the consequences. They loved me enough to let me face those consequences. Parents who shield their kids from consequences? Well, they just don’t love those kids enough.
I could go on with more reasons why such tragedies happen every day. And they will continue happening until our society realizes that we’ve got a human problem. This problem we have did not happen overnight. It’s been incubating and breeding now for decades and generations. So, the solution won’t happen overnight, either. It’s going to take determination and a whole lot of bravery to challenge the empty heads who say it’s a gun problem.