Our Culture is a Factory Producing Mass Killers. Closing the Factory Can Solve the Gun Debate

The gun debate has erupted once again. But guns are not the real issue.

By John Horvat, II Published on March 11, 2018

The gun debate has erupted once again. The two sides are entrenched in their respective positions, which have changed little over the decades. One side claims their right to keep and bear arms. The other sees all guns as violent and wants them outlawed.

But guns are not the real issue. This is a moral problem. What leads people to kill others is not the instrument — anything can serve as an instrument of death. What is being done to prevent more people from committing immoral acts with guns? That’s the question we must ask. 

And when we ask it, three real problems present themselves: mental illness, frustrated young men, and the glorification of violence.

Dealing with Mental Illness

The first problem is dealing with those who are psychologically unbalanced. Many mass shooters belong to this group. America is full of unbalanced people. Some have explosive behaviors yet have been deinstitutionalized. Many of these more violent individuals are walking time bombs, waiting to go off.

There are already laws limiting access to guns in proven cases of violent mental illness. The main problem, however, are cases where violent mental illness is unproven. Where behavior ranges from acting strange to causing minor disturbances.

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Often these individuals make credible threats to others. But monitoring them seems impossible; there are simply too many mentally ill people out there. And there are so many types of media available to make these threats; no current system or budget can deal with them all. So it’s almost inevitable that people will escape the system and kill.

Dealing with Young Men Without Orientation

The second problem is with young men from broken families. These make up a good portion of mass shooters. America is full of frustrated young men in a culture that does much to suppress true masculinity. These young men are often on medication, socially immature and without any moral compass.

There may be millions of frustrated young men out there that could exhibit signs of unbalance. Once again, there is no way to find and treat them all. Many of them are isolated and anti-social. Some are only waiting for an opportunity to act on their resentment.

Dealing with a Culture that Glorifies Violence

Finally, America has a culture that glorifies violence — especially gun violence — in movies and video games. This culture is teaching children to kill. Impressionable young people become desensitized and come to view killing as normal. Video games develop the actual motor skills to point and shoot accurately at anything that moves.

Curiously no one calls for controlling violent movies and video games. Those in the entertainment establishment, who demand gun control, will never allow the guns in their movies and games to be controlled. Safe in gated communities, actors and actresses deny that their screen lives contribute to the violence destroying the nation.

Addressing Causes, Not Symptoms

Proposed solutions to these three problems usually don’t deal with the causes. They only address the symptoms exhibited by those who use guns to kill people.

People suggest ways of treating mental illness. However, they don’t take measures to prevent people from becoming unbalanced in the first place.

Proposed solutions to these three problems usually don’t deal with the causes. They only address the symptoms exhibited by those who use guns to kill people.

People suggest ways of detecting and monitoring frustrated young men. However, little is done to address the reasons why young men are frustrated, and fill the void by giving meaning and purpose to their lives. Millions of boys, for example, lack role models (or fathers) to challenge them and give them the psychological security they need.

The entertainment industry may suggest ways of limiting exposure to extreme violence by rating movies to exclude some age groups. However, what about the industry’s lack of a real moral compass? Few insist upon entertainment standards that teach right and wrong to both young and old.

A Moral Problem

The first step toward solving the gun problem is acknowledging that this is a moral problem. There is no crazy gene that makes people kill. Yes, there are medical conditions that foster imbalance. But most killers have behavioral problems that involve moral decisions. They kill because they have acquired habits and behavior that disregard life and ignore good and evil. 

The second step is to admit that modern society is like a factory that mass produces mass killers. How? By shattering all the institutions, morals and norms that naturally prevent the making of monsters. When individuals are not morally anchored, they become more susceptible to imbalance and immoral behavior.

The family is no longer the primary and most important social unit, teaching boys to be gentlemen and girls to be ladies. Gone is the Christian community with its role models, who foster virtue, not violence. Suppressed is the influence of the Church that guides and teaches all to follow the natural law and strive ever higher toward sanctity.

When God is no longer welcome in the public square, it should be no surprise that immoral acts proliferate. There can be no moral order without God and His Church; secular efforts are doomed to fail.

Closing the Factory

The only way to stop the killing is to close the factory that produces mass killers. Anything else is an exercise in futility. This can only be done by returning to order, a Christian order that seeks to produce not monsters but saints.

And that is the problem. Society has decayed to such a point that people are reluctant to make the effort to return to order. Such a change will involve tough decisions in the family, business and practice of the Faith. These decisions can and should be made in individual families. However, most will prefer to ignore the problem and address the symptoms.

One thing is certain. As long as the factory remains open, there can be no peaceful solution. The only way to control an immoral person is by force. That force can be wielded by the State, which will employ ever more intrusive means upon all society to monitor and detain the criminals. That force can also be exercised by responsible citizens who sense the obligation to arm themselves against evil.

That is why the two sides remain entrenched in their positions. The debate is over which force will keep evil at bay — the State or an armed citizenry. People rightly fear empowering the State to control more aspects of their lives. But if they want to avoid that outcome, they should remember the importance of the moral issue.

If the cultural factory that produces mass killers is closed, the gun control debate is emptied of its content. Guns would again be instruments of sport and security. Until that time, the gun war will rage on.


John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.

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  • handydan

    It all boils down to the breakdown of the family. It is just as Mary, the Mother of God, told people in her apparitions over the last 150 years or so. There is the rejection of God and the acceptance of Satan.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      Unfortunately you just contradicted yourself. Without getting into the Mariology of the RCC, I’ll just say that it really all boils down to your last sentence.

  • Nothing will happen in a positive direction until public (government) schools are outlawed, and I’m pretty sure that will never happen. Well, maybe never, but you get what I mean. Government schools are unconstitutional because they are promoting an establishment of religion, which is against the first amendment of the Constitution. This would be the religion of secularism/agnosticism/relativism. There is no such thing a religious/worldview/moral neutrality in education, so in a pluralistic society the only just solution is that every family should be able to send their children to the schools of their choice. Until that happens, over 50 million kids are being indoctrinated every day with the religion of the state.

  • Paul

    Overall a good analysis.

  • Cody

    Thats righty guns don’t kill anymore than forks make you fat. With a nation who is hell bent on kicking God out, just what do you think a Godless nation would be like sodom and Gomorrah. This nation keeps on letting everyone come here no strings attached, this nation was founded on Gods word and now we are doing everything to kick him out. You can’t call evil good and good evil and think we will stay on the straight and narrow path. Its not to late to repent as a nation 2nd chronicles 7:14 and do whats right. Although the love of money and the god of power in our government would be a very big swamp to drain.

    • Look at Northern Europe: far less Christianity and far better social statistics (homicide, unwanted pregnancies, and so on).

      No, the U.S. wasn’t founded as a Christian nation (read the Constitution to see), and no, more God isn’t the answer.

  • Cody

    Our public schools have become nothing more than democrat training centers.Our college schools have become recruiting centers for the left, if this keeps up much longer we will be the United States of Communists America, which is just what. the left fantasizes over.

  • Robert Browning

    The tide has already turned. Christ is the answer.

  • Stephen D

    Presumably John Horvat II is a Roman Catholic? This should be plainly stated so that people know where he is coming from. The website with which he is associated (American Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property) is a Roman Catholic enterprise that promotes unbiblical religious beliefs and practices.
    It is all very wonderful to support traditional values such as the family and property. But promoting a belief system that deludes people about God and places barriers in the way of salvation is another matter. The Reformers used very strong language – appropriately in my view – as regards the false teachings of the Roman Catholic church.

    • Paul

      I must have missed the part that shows this article is about Catholicism, perhaps you can enlighten me?

    • GPS Daddy

      Actually, even if he is Roman Catholic, he still has the Judea-Christian worldview. Which is what he is arguing from.

  • James

    So how, then, do you explain Japan: Very few Christians and very few mass shootings?

    Or how do you explain Canada: Similar culture to (and cultural problems as) the United States, but also very few mass shootings?

    • GPS Daddy

      It plays itself out differently there. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates.

    • Andrew Mason

      You have to factor in culture and location. The US has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in The Americas yet this is ignored. Canada, whilst having a lower rate than the US, still has a far higher rate than Britain, Australia or New Zealand. Conversely, whilst guns are illegal in Taiwan, gun crimes comprise a large percentage of homicides.

  • Bojaws Dubois

    “One side claims their right to keep and bear arms. The other sees all guns as violent and wants them outlawed.”

    This is ridiculous. Very few Americans want all guns outlawed. This writer really needs to get out and meet people or at least expand his reading base.

    • Bryan

      Many on the left may say they don’t want all guns outlawed but then promote policies that would effectively do that. Or could quickly move to that. For example there was a bill that was floated around in California (I think) to have law enforcement remove guns from anyone that had a civil complaint against them. I’m hazy on the details, but you can imagine that type of law being abused very quickly. Especially in today’s hyper-polarized society.
      I know several people who will parrot the talking points of the left’s version of gun control. When you talk to them in a reasonable way about the holes in those arguments, they may concede some of their points but won’t give up on their premise that guns are the problem and where the solution should come from.
      I’ll grant that the most vocal on the right side of the spectrum often employ hyperbole to counter suggested gun control proposals. Then again, those on the left tend to use hyperbole to make their claims as well.
      Therein lies part of the problem. Both sides can’t get out of their own way to make reasonable strides toward fixing the actual problem which this article accurately describes.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      When one actually looks at the numbers I hardly think it comes to “very few”. Perhaps it’s not the writer that needs to get out more.

  • moztake

    It takes a village to raise a killer. In the U.S., our violent villages include: 1) Mafia/gang village; 2) Western Secular Village; and 3) Radical Islamist Village. Until we look into the mirror and change our villages, no amount of gun control or armed teachers will fix the problem

  • David

    I agree with this argument completely but it lacks a few elements. First, given that young men have been schooled in how to commit atrocities by the media for well over half a century, the devaluing of human life via the legalization of killing children in the most brutal fashion in the womb for just as long, the lack of cultural morality on practically every front, the removal of the teaching of such morality from our school systems, the real solution is being ignored by both sides.
    This is the reality we face. Consequently, it is imperative that universal background checks on all gun purchases coupled with strict education and age requirements, along with the banning of mega-assault weapons for most citizens also be implemented.
    I know that some people rightly fear that if citizens don’t keep up with the latest weapons that one day the government may take them away by force. But the fact is that when/if that day comes, the government has overwhelming power to do so anyway. Preventing the outlawing of the purchase of assault weapons will not stop that reality, should it come. But implementing sane measures to reduce the violence will lessen the wholesale mowing down of dozens of people by so many people out for their moment of fame.
    Our Founding Fathers never envisioned such a godless country as ours, so in the light of the ongoing slaughter of so many innocents, while we must obey the 2nd Ammendent, (short of a legitimate amendment to the Constitution), it is illegitimate to maintain a careless system regarding their purchase and use only for some extreme interpretation of that amendment.
    Just as it is a travesty to allow the killing of innocent human beings in the mother’s womb, it is also a travesty not to implement better governance on this issue. But I fear that in already having rejected God and His principles, our culture has already lost its soul
    and will probably do nothing.
    I hope and pray that I’m wrong.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      I was thinking the same thing about the systematic murder of the most helpless, innocent of all humans so they can be butchered for sale. But I think the author, without actually naming Abortion did allude to it when he talked about the “moral problem”. Sanctity of life and Imago Dei certainly must be included in that.

      I disagree, however, with a few of your points. Wrt age restrictions, it is illogical and unreasonable to raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21 when this country issues firearms to 20yo men to protect them. Imagine for a moment being issued a firearm to stand your post, protect your base, station, and country and then be told you can’t buy a firearm to protect yourself and your own family!

      Second, I believe our Founding Fathers knew quite well about the depravity of Man and fully envisioned such a godless country as ours. The genius in their thinking, the DOI, and the Constitution reveal that.

      While the argument is put forth that the 2A no longer applies today with a Gov’t that has unmanned drones, F-18’s, tanks, and even nukes, I believe it’s still valid. Why? Because the Gov’t has always had better weapons that the average man and I have no doubt in my mind that one of the major reasons we have never had a total despot attempt to set up a dictatorship or ever been invaded by a foreign entity is precisely because every single household in the country could be one with a gun or guns.

      In order for a despot to succeed with a coup they would have to destroy the America that exists because there are enough patriots with a gun in this country that would fight to the death to prevent it.

      And thankfully so! Because one of the greater problems not being addressed is that there is a growing majority in this country that would breakout in celebration if the Red Army were to march down the streets today.

  • I’m confused. When there’s gun violence, the Christian response is “thoughts and prayers.” So why push for more guns in civilians’ hands when you’ve already got the most powerful weapon of all, prayer?

    Or, seen the opposite way, if you know that prayer won’t do anything, and you really need a gun in your hand, why then tell us that prayer is a potent response to anything?

    • Polish Bear

      You’re so right. We should all give up our guns. The Parkland shooting proved that we can rely on our valiant policemen to keep us safe 24/7.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      You’re right. You are confused.

      • I applaud your direct response to the issue. So often, someone makes a snarky response as if that adds to the conversation.

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          Sorry. Forgive me. Been a long day, I’m tired, and perhaps I misread your OP. I took it as mocking Christians and “thoughts and prayers”. God knows I’ve seen NO shortage of that.

          So why do you assume Prayer is the most powerful weapon of all?

          To your 2nd point, it’s a false assumption and a false equivalence. All it really does is show an utter lack of understanding of what prayer is.

          Now, who is this “us” you refer to?

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