How can we stop all of these shootings? There was another horrible mass shooting in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, today (11/5/2017). Indeed, prayers for those affected by this criminal activity are in order. God is there to comfort them and help them through the grief of loss, and the fear instilled by such a horrific event.
Truth be told - we can't stop all of them. Laws do not stop anything. What if we made it illegal to own guns? That has worked wonderfully for eliminating the illegal use of drugs, hasn't it?
If it was as simple as making more laws, then more laws it should be. And what of laws concerning prostitution and robbery and speeding and seat belts and whatever else? Do the laws stop the illegal actions? Of course not! What if we made it a crime to bring harm to...any citizen in any way? Do criminals care about even knowing the law, or abiding by laws? Of course not! Just making something illegal does not change the behavior of those who would break those laws
As I am getting on in years, I find myself having to fight against becoming cynical.1 I don't want to be cynical. Generally, I feel I look for the good around me, I make the most of things, and I am fairly positive about life. But people seem to be getting worse, with less hope, less joy, and more difficulties. Things are getting more complex. People want answers and solutions, and they want them "Now!"
When I hear someone say something like "How can we stop these shootings?" it almost makes me crazy. It is a nonsensical waste of mental effort. We want easy answers to extremely complex or incomprehensible events. I just saw a post concerning today's shooting in Texas, and within one hour, there were hundreds of comments on this one post, from advocating total gun control to arming everyone. Multitudes of people have multitudes of reactions to an awful event like this. Some blame God, while some blame guns. Some have heartfelt grief and sympathy for the situation. Many have thoughts that are idiotic or hurtful or angry or vulgar or just plain stupid, and they don't hesitate to share them from their keyboards or phones. But most don't really have answers that might help. Even if there were some good solutions, how can they be shared, heard, or implemented in a country of 330 million?
Most of us do not really have any answers that would totally eliminate shootings like this. That is where I wonder what goes through the heads of those who have the attention of the populace. When a news anchor or a politician, whether a big-name national or a local, says something like, "We need to start having a real discussion about gun control..." I think, "What have we been doing?" Listen to the rhetoric and discussion in "the news" after an event like this. Really think it through and ask yourself with some measure of common sense, "Would this really help?" All too often there is a political stance being taken to further an agenda, rather than truly offering a solution to a serious problem.
The NRA is perhaps the only organization that gets blamed for wrong-doing after almost every shooting, even when its members have done nothing wrong. That is not to say NRA members are absolutely blameless. But we are not (usually) the ones doing the illegal shooting. We (I am a member) are simply standing up for the 2nd Amendment that proclaims we have the right to keep and bear arms, whether for self-protection, defense against a tyrannical government, or for hunting and sport.
So, what can we do to stop these shootings? Well, if you own any guns - simply don't go out and shoot anybody. It is an individual decision. Sometimes I think that someone could possibly have stopped one of these shooters, if they had all the right circumstances in place - they knew the person, they suspected trouble, they saw the signs leading up to the event, they saw the shooter going into the scene, and so on. Most or all of these shooters are disturbed people, wouldn't you say? Who just goes out and starts shooting people? How can you stop them? One good man with a gun actually helped put an end to this horrifying incident! He chose to use it for good!
Unfortunately, there is no answer or solution that can prevent most of these atrocities from happening. And the fact is, they won't ever happen to the vast majority of us. For those in that church this morning - their lives were changed forever. For those in Las Vegas (last month) or New York City (9/11/01) or wherever and whenever - the dead will be buried and mourned by those who survived, who will try to make some sense of it all. People will comfort those they know and love. And they will get on with their lives.
For me, the ultimate answer is God and His love. God loves us each and all more than we can ever imagine. He does not cause evil, but He has created us with a measure of free will, by which we can decide to do good or evil. God allows evil to happen - but He does not cause it. When we come to know God's love for us, in that measure we are changed for the better. We not only do what is loving ourselves, but we share that love with others. And sometimes though rarely (fortunately), the loving thing to do might be to stop an evil-intentioned shooter with a well-placed bullet from the gun of a 'good guy.' If God's love can stop them any other way, then so be it.
1. Definition of 'cynical':
believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity;
doubtful as to whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile; contemptuous; mocking.
concerned only with one's own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them.
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
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