Aurora, Colorado. The tragedy that killed 12 and injured 58 others was felt by an entire nation. In its aftermath, everyone wants to do something to help. Locally, memorial services have been setup to mourn the losses of innocent victims. Nationally, the dialogue has turned, once again, to the topic of gun control.
I am not a gun owner. My experience with guns is limited to the few times I went deer hunting with my stepfather in high school. If you’re keeping score, I suppose I should disclose the ownership of a pellet gun my mother bought me for Christmas when I was thirteen. Those cans I shot really had it coming to them. Needless to say, the topics of guns and ammo haven’t been one to keep my attention for very long. I never saw the point.
Even though I don’t have a particular interest in gun ownership, I’m not against the legality of guns. I believe they’ve saved large amounts of good people a lot of heartache. Nobody talks about gun control when they’re properly used as safeguards against thieves. When we do, we gloss over them rather quickly. Good for them, we think.
Robbery foiled by gun-toting retiree (recent example)
After every insanity-laced, violent killing spree in America, the pundits and political figures return to a dialogue that will never go away; gun control in America. By default, it’s the conversation filler that ignites the time-consuming debate between the reporting of actual facts. In the presence of stark emotion, gun control is a topic that everybody has an opinion on. Pick a side, yes or no, then back it up with emotional opinion. It’s the perfect formula for easy ratings.
For the public, the topic is validated through the pain-staking visuals and information we see and hear throughout the news cycle. From a distance, the support of gun control seems like the only practical, empathetic position to take. We have to do something, anything. Removing guns from the equation is the easiest measure to support, especially if you’re not a gun owner. It’s a one-stop solution to a problem seemingly more complex.
Our inability to understand senseless, inane behavior limits our effectiveness to create a practical response designed specifically for its intended perpetrator. In other words, we try to rationalize solutions for irrational behavior. That’s how the TSA was born. We don’t like unpredictability, so the only countermeasure is more control, to impose more limits on what people can do, to create a sense of predictability. If someone cuts their foot on a shard of broken glass at a pool, we create a no glass policy so that we can create a better illusion of safety. On a national scale, it makes sense.
The conversation about gun control has always been a superficial one, however. It’s the low hanging fruit that’s presented to deter the conversation from a much, much deeper problem not everyone can wrap their head around, the reality of evil. The reason why I don’t believe the government’s position to remove our rights to bear arms is the correct one is because evil never has, and never will, be controlled by man or its laws.
A human’s intent to cause destruction knows no limits. James Holmes wasn’t prompted to commit a horrible act of violence because he had easy access to guns. He was predisposed to evil acts regardless of a clean background check and a trip to the local gun store.
One of the questions authorities are currently trying to answer is whether or not he used his status as a neuroscience student to access chemicals the average person wouldn’t be able to readily purchase. He used trip wires in his apartment to cause explosions and to kill anyone who entered after he was in custody. His intent was death and destruction, first and foremost.
If it weren’t for his access to guns, the conditions that allowed for some movie-goers to survive might not have existed. He may have created a weapon of larger significance. For example, what if the tear gas he reportedly used was replaced by a homemade bomb? Does anyone believe Aurora would have been spared, or that the mind of this psychotic killer would have been deterred? I don’t.
If the argument for more stringent gun control is a dialogue to create more hoops for criminals to jump through, then it’s not a sufficient one. That’s a rational solution to curb the behavior of rational people. Crimes are committed every day with illegal guns purchased on the black market. When there were no guns, there were cannonballs, arrows, knives, and swords. To use a weapon to murder another is the extension of a Godless heart. Evil was not designed by men, and therefore, cannot be controlled by men.
“Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.” Isaiah 59:7
Violence has existed since the beginning of time. It’s the consequence of a fallen world. Ever since Cain killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-8), the world has known death. It was presented in the second generation of our existence and will remain with us until the end of time.
The reality is that acts of violence like these will always be senseless, and if we’re lucky, they’ll never make sense. To employ a solution that acknowledges simply the surface of the human condition is to deceive ourselves. Outside of a relationship with God, our hearts match our culture. Violence, unadulterated sex, bitterness, hatred, loneliness, emptiness, selfishness, etc. are the marketed values we encounter on a daily basis. Our only significant solution to maintain our freedom is to work from the inside-out. Let North Korea remain an example of what it is to build solutions from the outside-in. At least this way, we give the good guys a chance.
What are your thoughts?