The recent increase in highly visible shootings around the country has many talking about guns and legislations. Two recent items caught my eye as the nation tries to come to grips with the best approach to address these senseless nightmare events.
The first item was an editorial by Donald Kaul a retired editor from the Des Moines Register. The column appeared just after the shooting:
“I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control. And if that didn’t work, I’d adopt radical measures.”
“Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, than “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.”
Not a very rational approach but we must understand the emotion these repeated events have on people who feel helpless and obviously hopeless.
Now here’s another side of the multi-dimensional argument which came to my attention recently. It’s from Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings. His comments were provided in an address before the House Judiciary Subcommittee shortly after the Columbine shooting tragedy in May 1999.
“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.”
“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.”
“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death.”
“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc.
Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history.”
“We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.
Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre.
The real villain lies within our own hearts. We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgement that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God.”
We’ll hear more on this subject in the days ahead, and while some may advocate more violence in order to curb violence we all must make certain we have a thoughtful and realistic debate on the issues truly at the root of these events. There are an untold number of things that cause untimely deaths in this world. To address these issues we must look beyond the superficial cause and not allow political agendas to cloud a very important debate.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and owner and publisher of Denton Publications. He may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org..