Before the smoke had cleared the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the Left-Wing media were in high gear shamelessly politicizing the event. Somehow they believe that taking guns from good people will stop bad people from shooting them.
Many factors indicate that no reasonable person could embrace this logic. For example:
- The law already prohibited the shooter, Devin Kelley, from owning a gun. Therefore, the anti-gun legislation of the Left would not have stopped him.
- His rampage was stopped by Stephen Willeford, who had a rifle. If the Left had its way, Kelley would have been armed and Willeford disarmed, probably resulting in Kelley killing more people.
- Studies reveal that where gun control is tightest, the crime rate is highest and vice versa. The murder rate is through the roof in cities with strict gun controls like Chicago. To the contrary, the homicide rate in countries like Switzerland where a high percentage of people own guns is very low.
For these reasons and more, the conservative cry for the protection of our Second Amendment rights makes sense. Many conservatives argue that if more people packed heat, gun crime would go down. They are probably right. If four or five of the men at the church would have been carrying, most of the victims might have been spared. If carrying concealed weapons had been more prevalent, Kelley might not have even attempted this shooting.
Therefore, of the two positions described above, the conservative position is far more logical and more strongly supported by empirical evidence.
However, neither one of these solutions grapples with the underlying issue. Why have shootings in America become so prevalent in the first place? Though the conservative approach will help protect innocent people, it leaves the American condition looking grim, with bad guys seeking to kill bunches of people, and good guys armed so they can shoot them if they try. Few if any of the pundits and talk show hosts are asking how we might address the deeper problem of minimizing the number of gunmen trying to commit murder.
Interestingly enough, George Washington told us how to do that. After serving two terms as our first President, he wrote his farewell address that included three admonitions to the nation. The first was to obey the Constitution. Then he advised Americans to stay clear as much as possible of foreign entanglements. Finally, he admonished the American people that to continue to succeed as a free people they needed to maintain their commitment to religion, which at that time in the United States was almost exclusively the Christian religion. Paul Johnson, in his A History of the American People, summarizes Washington’s thoughts on this issue as follows:
Finally, Washington—in the light of the dreadful events which had occurred in Revolutionary France—wished to dispel for good any notion that America was a secular state. It was a government of laws but it was also a government of morals. ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which led to political prosperity,’ he insisted, ‘Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.’ Anyone who tried to undermine ‘these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens’ was the very opposite of a patriot. There can be no ‘security for property, for reputation, for life if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice.’ Nor can morality be maintained without religion. Whatever ‘refined education’ alone can do for ‘minds of peculiar structure’…all experience showed that ‘national morality’ cannot prevail ‘in exclusion of religious principle.’ In effect, Washington was saying that America, being a free republic, dependent for its order on the good behavior of its citizens, cannot survive without religion.
Washington would tell us that the solution to our current shooting crisis does not rest in banning guns or carrying them, but in the restoration of our previous Christian culture.
It does comprise a rather glaring oversight that we are confronted with all of these shootings after having entered a post-Christian era, and yet few people are considering as the solution a return to our previous Christian commitment.
Acquaintances of Devin Kelley report that he was a militant atheist, and very vocal in that regard.
Classmate Nina Rosa Nava write [sic] on Facebook that the mass murderer used to rant on the social network about his atheist beliefs. She said: “He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism.”
If American culture would be promoting Christianity more and atheism less, perhaps Devin Kelley would not have been inclined to go on his shooting rampage. If the Left did not insist in stripping the Ten Commandments from public buildings, if the entertainment media would not persistently mock God, if our educational institutions would cease banning Bibles and promoting hostility toward Christianity, we might live in a cultural environment less conducive to murder and more conducive to loving our neighbors. Maybe George Washington had it right after all.