It is literally true that with some folks, everything is politics. They eat, sleep, and breathe politics 24 hours per day. Every event in life, good or bad, is viewed entirely through the prism of politics. There is no time for rejoicing, no time for reflection, no time for compassion, no time for beauty, no time for having fun. Every waking hour is filled with politics. There even is no time for love, only time for anger, and scheming, and political intrigue. Their life is a tragedy.
On Friday, December 14, 2012 the unthinkable happened. A mentally disturbed young man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 20 children and he shot and killed his own mother. These aren't 20 statistics, they are 20 lives snuffed out by evil. Each one of these children had loving parents, many had loving siblings, and others who cared deeply about them. Their deaths are nearly incomprehensible. Most were just 6 or 7 years old.
Their parents need our prayers and our support as they struggle to endure such an unspeakable loss. They deserve our true compassion. They don't deserve to have the news media intruding into their lives at this awful moment. And, most of all, they don't deserve to be used by political opportunists to advance their political agenda. This is not a time for politics, it is a time for compassion and reflection.
But, alas, from the White House to Congress to the media there is little compassion and much political scheming. Any compassion for the children who died is being squeezed out by political opportunism. Their deaths are not viewed as a time for reflection on the spiritual character of our nation, but rather as an opportunity to be seized for political gain.
I hate it. It is nothing less than despicable. This is not a time for politics, it is a time for mourning. It is not a time for division, it is a time for unity. But, like it or not, we are once again thrust into a political debate that divides Americans, instead of uniting them in sorrow and compassion for those who died and for those left behind. Gutter politics is never attractive, and using the deaths of young children to advance a political agenda is disgraceful.
Therefore, like it or not, you and I have no choice but to speak out. Let me briefly make just a few important points…
- Right Time. There is a time and a place to debate important topics like gun control and the Second Amendment. The Founders intentionally created a republic, not a democracy, so that such debates would not take place in the heat of the moment when emotions are the highest. When actions are taken on emotion, only ill-conceived legislation is enacted. Any action that infringes on the right to keep and bear arms should be based on reason and the law, not on emotions. Whenever there is a rush to judgment, neither reason nor justice is served.
- Legal Process. The Founders established a specific legal process for modifying the United States Constitution. The wording of the Second Amendment is very specific. It says that the federal government does not have the right to infringe on an individual's right to keep and bear arms. Maybe the government should have that right. Maybe we should place some restrictions on gun ownership. If that's what should be done, then Congress should propose a specific Amendment to the Constitution that includes such restrictions. However, neither the Congress nor the President has the right to infringe on an individual's right to keep and bear arms by simply passing a law. And neither does the US Supreme Court have the right to curtail the right to keep and bear arms by simply re-interpreting the law. When that happens we have crossed over from a government of laws to a government of men. In other words, the republican form of government that our Founders created has suffered a near mortal wound.
- The Loss of Life. If there is to be a reasoned debate on passing an Amendment to the US Constitution, it must include consideration of the lives that would be lost by passing such infringements on the right to keep and bear arms. The fact is, each year there are over a 100,000 incidents of armed citizens using their firearms to defend their lives and property from criminals. If only 10% of these individuals (or their loved ones) would have otherwise have been killed, it would mean an annual loss of more than 10,000 lives. Are we willing to sacrifice those 10,000 lives on the cross of political correctness?
- Right-to-Carry Saves Lives. Thirty-seven states have right-to-carry laws on their books. In every single case the incidence of violent crime declined after the passage of right-to-carry gun laws. Moreover, these states have lower violent crime rates than the states that do not have right-to-carry laws. In other words, right-to-carry laws save lives.
- Decline in Morality. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has for many years sought to drive religion, especially Christianity, from the public square. Could it be that the decline in religion and spirituality in the United States is the root cause of the tragedy that occurred in Sandy Hook, Connecticut? I hesitate to sound like a broken record, but freedom can only exist when citizens respect life and property and exercise self-restraint. Where does such respect and self-restrain come from? It comes from faith in God and belief in his Ten Commandments. When schools are more attentive to showing children how to use a condom than they are to teaching the Ten Commandments, the seeds of violence and chaos are spread. The exercise of faith and religion in the public square is not only forbidden, it is derided by schools, television, politicians, and Hollywood. Without morality (or virtue as Adams, Washington, and Franklin referred to it), freedom contracts and society becomes more immoral and more violent. It was evil that killed those children, and no new gun law will have any effect in curbing a rising tide of violence. The Bible warns us in Matthew 24:12 that as faith declines "…there will be more and more lawlessness, most people's love will grow cold." You simply cannot mock the Ten Commandments and expect virtue to exist among the people.
- Culture of Death. Why are we surprised that a tragedy like the one that happened in Sandy Hook occurred? Perhaps we should be surprised that more mass murders don't occur. When government sanctions policies that snuff out the lives of millions of pre born children each year, dallies in euthanasia, and passes laws that authorize the killing of children born alive, who were supposed to be aborted, should we be surprised that life itself is so little valued by those who kill others? You can't have it both ways. You can't have a peaceful, non-violent society, and on the other hand sanction the killing of human life inside or outside the womb. Like it or not, the government has created a culture of death and this culture will foster more killing no matter what gun laws are passed.
- Institutionalization of the Mentally Ill. In the case of the mass murders that took place in the theater in Aurora, Colorado, at Virginia Tech University, and now at Sandy Hook Elementary School, all the killers were suffering from mental illness. Had they been institutionalized, the murders would not have happened. It is as straightforward and simple as that. However, once again, the ACLU has worked hard and effectively to make it impossible to institutionalize even the criminally disturbed. It was the ACLU that effectively closed down all homes for the mentally ill in the United States. They did it in the name of freedom, but the result was terrible personal misery for those who were incompetent and unable to care for themselves. It also resulted in even the criminally ill being set loose on the streets. The consequence is events like those that have taken place in Colorado, Virginia, and now in Connecticut.
While President Obama may have autocratic instincts, he is no dictator. He has awesome power as President, but he does not and will not possess absolute power over the citizens of this land. We do know from history, that nations rise and fall. Some last but just a few years. Even the powerful, ambitious Soviet Union lasted less than 100 years. Nevertheless, it is understandable that a dictator or aspiring dictator would want to remove all guns and ammunition from the people. After all, what dictator could rest easy at night knowing that the people are armed.
Chairman Mao is famously quoted as saying that "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." How true! Taking guns out of the hands of citizens is always a top priority of tyrants. It was with Stalin. It was with Chairman Mao. It was with Hitler. The widespread ownership of firearms by the citizens of any land, including the United States, is the last defense against tyranny.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook will long be remembered. But rapid legislative action driven by emotion that restricts the ownership of firearms is not the solution. Evil man will always find a way to kill, just as Cain killed Abel. It is only if we change hearts through spiritual renewal that we will be able to stop the killing and maintain our free society.