No, not the kind proposed by our president. I am for controlling the glamorization of their use in movies, sitcoms, video games, etc. Violence sells. In news coverage if it bleeds it leads. We have created a culture of anger and acrimony.
Guns are the often used means of these acts. To focus on them and not on the morality and mentality resulting in the improper use of them is a red herring. Red herrings were smelly fish drawn across the path of an escaping prisoner by a friend intended to get the trailing dog off the scent and track of the real object of the hunt and after the wrong object.
Some well intended laws other than gun laws need to be re-evaluated. Couple the cultural moral milieu with a sick mind and an inferno of rage results. Attention needs to be given some mental health laws of our land.
Several years ago grievous acts resulted in a proliferation of “rights” laws. The result is if a person identifies and individual evidencing a tendency toward violence law enforcement most often can only say we can’t do anything until the individual does something meriting incarceration. Government health care officials are likewise restricted until there is an egregious act. That is a gray area meriting reconsideration.
The real cause has long been identified for us, but many in our society are reluctant to look for an answer where it can be found. King Solomon noted it: “A heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief.” (Proverbs 6:18) The cause is amplified in Matthew 15: 19: “...out of the heart precede evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts....”
Until the internal personal cause is addressed the consequence cannot be controlled by external laws. Pass laws from now until the sun rises in the west and the issue can’t be managed. Build an eight-foot fence, that is pass a law, and somebody will build a nine foot ladder, that is devise a means of scaling it. That then results in building another fence, this time ten feet tall and the game goes on.
The ethos, that is the characteristic spirit of America, will not be changed until the ethics of America have been dealt with and changed.
We are a freedom loving society and resent restraints. However, personal restraints must be encouraged. The solution is not gun control, but self-control. Churches, schools, civic organizations, and the basic unit of society, the families, must consistently address the issue.
The result of not addressing the issue of our standards is noted for us by Samuel Adams who wrote: “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued, but when once they lose their virtue then will (they) be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”
Adams said of gun control, “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. For copies of previous columns visit www.nelsonprice.com