The Real Reason We Have Mass Shootings

Gun ownership is not our problem. Our problem is a widespread decline in moral values that has nothing to do with guns.

PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 14: People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida.

By Walter Williams Published on March 21, 2018

One of the unavoidable tragedies of youth is the temptation to think that what is seen today has always been. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in our responses to the recent Parkland, Florida, massacre.

Part of the responses to those murders are calls to raise the age to purchase a gun and to have more thorough background checks — in a word, to make gun purchases more difficult. That’s a vision that sees easy gun availability as the problem; thus, the solution is to reduce that availability.

The vision that sees “easy” availability as the problem ignores the fact of U.S. history that guns were far more available yesteryear. With truly easy gun availability, there was nowhere near the gun mayhem and murder that we see today.

I’m tempted to ask those who believe that guns are today’s problem whether they think that guns were nicer yesteryear.

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What about the calls for bans on the AR-15 so-called assault rifle? It turns out that, according to 2016 FBI statistics, rifles accounted for 368 of the 17,250 homicides in the U.S. that year. That means restrictions on the purchase of rifles would do little or nothing for the homicide rate.

Leaders of the gun control movement know this. Their calls for more restrictive gun laws are part of a larger strategy to outlaw gun ownership.

Gun ownership is not our problem. Our problem is a widespread decline in moral values that has nothing to do with guns. That decline includes disrespect for those in authority, disrespect for oneself, little accountability for anti-social behavior, and a scuttling of religious teachings that reinforced moral values.

Let’s examine elements of this decline.

If any of our great-grandparents or even grandparents who passed away before 1960 were to return, they would not believe the kind of personal behavior all too common today. They wouldn’t believe that youngsters could get away with cursing and assaulting teachers. They wouldn’t believe that some school districts, such as Philadelphia’s, employ more than 400 school police officers.

During my primary and secondary schooling, from 1942 to 1954, the only time one saw a policeman in school was during an assembly period where we had to listen to a boring lecture on safety. Our ancestors also wouldn’t believe that we’re now debating whether teachers should be armed.

There are other forms of behavior that would have been deemed grossly immoral yesteryear. There are companies such as National Debt Relief, CuraDebt, and LendingTree, which advertise that they will help you to avoid paying all the money you owe. So after you and a seller agree to terms of a sale, if you fail to live up to your half of the bargain, there are companies that will assist you in ripping off the seller.

There are companies that counsel senior citizens on how to shelter their assets from nursing home care costs. For example, a surviving spouse may own a completely paid-for home that’s worth $500,000. The costs of nursing home care might run $50,000 a year.

By selling her house, she could pay the nursing home costs, but her children wouldn’t inherit the house. There are firms that come in to shelter her assets so that she can bequeath her home to her heirs and leave taxpayers to foot the nursing home bill.

In my book, that’s immoral, but it is so common that most of us give it no thought.

There is one moral failing that is devastating to the future of our nation. That failing, which has wide acceptance by the American people, is the idea that Congress has the authority to forcibly use one American to serve the purposes of another American. That is nothing less than legalized theft and accounts for roughly three-quarters of federal spending.

For the Christians among us, we should consider that when God gave Moses the commandment “Thou shalt not steal,” he probably didn’t mean thou shalt not steal unless you get a majority vote in the Congress.


Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

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  • jgmusgrove

    How right you are.

  • Paul

    Didn’t expect to be reading about welfare in an article about mass violence.

  • Hmmm…

    They insisted it was detrimental to post the 10 Commandments in schools. It was the only moral input many had!

    • Paul

      Yes, the ten commandments are quite detrimental… to the progressives goals

  • What he’s saying is true. The Left has stripped our society of morals, and now wants to strip guns from an amoral society that can’t control itself. One follows the other.

    They do this again and again. For instance, consider the rationale of taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, while at the same time opening up the borders to anyone who wants to enter – both of which the Left advocates. Especially when drug cartels rule the nation to the immediate south of us, is that not a recipe for the inflow of weapons, chaos and destruction? Behind all the virtue-signalling, the Left’s agenda, whether they know it or not, is to destroy the nation and its people.

    • jgmusgrove

      Oh, the Left knows it; they just hope the general public doesn’t know it. Destroying America, turning it into another failed Socialist state, and subsuming it to one world government is their goal.

  • Diogenes71

    As the secular-humanist Left continues its destructive march though our institutions, we can see the decline of our culture in many ways. The lack of basic honesty and integrity are just the beginning signs of the destruction. The state feels it can correct all evils by passing more and ever restricting laws. The government is power and force. Not a force for morality.

  • Bojaws Dubois

    I knew it was the left’s fault.

    • Chip Crawford

      Good; now change

  • Chris in NC

    When YOU are center and god of your own little universe there are often no reasons to stop you from doing what you want. Nothing is greater than your own ideas of right or wrong – if you want it, that makes it right.
    People have swallowed the notion that they shouldn’t “force” their religious views on small children and so – with teenagers – we have what we have.

  • Cody

    Has everyone forgot about fast and furious, the democults who say they hate guns just want to keep them out of law abiding American citizens. But are more than willing to give them to the drug lords who then turn and use them on us.

  • swordfish

    The US homicide rate is about the same now as it was in the early 60’s, and about half what it was in the 90’s. Not much evidence from that of any obvious widespread decline in moral values.

    • Lisa

      Swordfish, wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. Why do you spout off logical sounding verbiage that makes little sense to anyone but you? You’d be wiser if you tried to see both sides of an issue and didn’t simply try to take down conservatives with your canned “logic.”

      Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

      • swordfish

        I’m simply pointing out that actual homicide statistics don’t support the mantra that “things are getting worse” in any obvious way. I don’t see how that could “make little sense to anyone”?

        “You’d be wiser if you tried to see both sides of an issue and didn’t simply try to take down conservatives with your canned “logic.””

        The article I’m commenting on sees only one side of the issue, that’s why I’m pointing out that there may be another side. FWIW, I’m politically more right than left.

      • John Connor

        Hes posting actual statistics on violence. Makes perfect sense

        • Bryan

          Technically he posted an opinion about the homicide rate, not the statistics. However, as was said, there is more than one issue, and consequently, more than one measure, concerning the decline of moral values.
          I agree that there is a decline in morality and I believe that it has been one factor leading to some of the mass/school shootings that we’ve seen recently. I also agree that there are many factors that have led us here.

        • GPS Daddy

          Your swordfish’s sidekick. No original posts or views from you. Rather you just jump in when swordfish needs another voice.

          • John Connor

            Opinions vary

      • GPS Daddy

        Lisa, don’t be fooled by swordfish’s bullying. Many, many have tried to reason with swordfish to no avail. Even Tom Gilson has gone round and round with “him?”.

        • Lisa

          Thanks. I won’t waste time there.

  • Lisa

    I love reading Walter Williams! After his many years teaching, he has seen much and has perspective and wisdom to pass along.

    Fatherless boys being raised without fear of authority (dad) grow up with a different attitude than in yesteryear, too. And a culture that turned its back on God is gonna reap a whirlwind.

  • Hmmm…

    Once again, here’s an aunt saying she’s never seen this person who did this, that he was at her Christmas table – appropriately behaved … In Florida, it was the foster couple saying they had never seen anything but courtesy and respect from the young man. Does anyone else see something here? These proper people got the respect they deemed proper — and totally missed a suffering young man in their midst. Someone holding it all together with duct tape and rubber bands on the inside. Surface relating. No real parent it seems, no father in the home as comes up over and over. Not knowing how to look on the inside – through the eyes, some reinforcing words here and there, some drawing out to talk about what he would like to do, to find out the hidden person of the heart. God knows that, but we have many clues and ways to discover and touch that person. We should all be reminded that hurting, even dying-on-the-inside people know how to “behave appropriately.”

‘I Will Love Them Freely’
Charles Spurgeon
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