By Tom Hinkle
What’s going on with all the gun violence in America? It seems like, since the Sandy Hook shootings in December, there have been shootings reported almost weekly. What is wrong with people? Some members of Congress and the president want to ban so-called assault-style weapons, but only a small fraction of shootings are committed with these weapons. Banning them will not help. This is a symbolic gesture. Some people blame violet video games, but tens of thousands of people play them and the vast majority does not go on shooting sprees. Others blame violent movies but, again, millions of people watch movies without killing anyone. Guns, games and movies are not the problem. Besides, do you want the government to decide what movies are fit for production? I don’t. Pretty soon the only movies available will star a big purple dinosaur.
The answer, at least it seems to me, is that we as a people have lost our morals and values. We, as a nation, were founded on the principle of self-governance. It’s really very simple. If we, as a people, cannot or will not control ourselves, the government will do it for us. They will have to. Then, we will lose our rights and freedoms. They will decide what movies we watch, video games we play, music we listen to, books we read and news we hear. And, it will all be geared toward “calming the savage beast.”
How did we lose our morals, values and character? I believe it began with the decline of the nuclear family. If one studies crime and fatherlessness in America, there is a striking parallel. I’m not throwing out a blanket condemnation of single parents. I know many single parents, and they are doing the best they can. But, the fact is, children need a father. So many are growing up without them in their lives to teach them, it’s no wonder our society is deteriorating. Women’s groups, like NOW, tell women they don’t need men in their lives; that they can do it all; and some women believe them. The truth is, no one person can do it all, at least not for long. Children need fathers in their lives. I know, I grew up without a father. I learned how to be a father by watching television. I let my wife be the responsible person, and I was the adolescent husband and father portrayed on TV. I thought that was what I was supposed to do. It wasn’t until we started attending church that I learned I was wrong. It was church that taught me to be the kind of husband, citizen and Christian I should be. We had three excellent elders, and I “adopted” them as father figures. I used them as a pattern of what a man should be. Best decision I ever made.
Unfortunately, so many people today do not have that option. Society has changed, and the church has also changed. It seems people today are afraid to say bad behavior is wrong. When was the last time someone said living together was wrong? Or, having sex outside marriage was wrong? Or, cheating on your taxes is wrong? Or, lying is wrong? You may be thinking, what’s that got to do with gun control or the Sandy Hook shooting? Everything! It goes back to character. I believe lack of character is the problem, not gun control. We have always had guns in America even before we were a nation. We had guns during the Depression, and no one committed the heinous crimes we now see. Why not? Even during the tough times, people had character. That is missing today. You can ban guns, violent video games, violent movies and anything else you can think to blame, but that will not solve the problem. Do you want to live in a society where the government controls everything? I don’t! Because, that is what it will take. We, as a society, must get back to personal accountability and character. Only then will all the killings stop.