And then there was this.
So now I’m angry. Now I’m finished trying to reason with you. So now I, a guy who was ambivalent about guns just a few years ago, want to take your guns away. All of them. I want to take them all and melt them down and shape them into a giant sphere and then push it at you so you have to run away from it like Indiana Jones for the rest of your lives. I want Ted Nugent to roam the halls of his gunless house, sighing wearily until he dies. I want to end this thing once and for all, so that all of you who have prioritized the sale of guns over the lives of children have to sit quietly and think about what you’ve done. God help me, I want to take all of your guns out of your hands, by myself, right now.
On the one hand, I am sympathetic to Mr. Holmes’s outrage, because all of us who are parents experience a pang of blinding anger any time we learn that children have died in a senseless and violent event.
The difference is, you can’t just stop with the emotion. The emotion is where the journey begins, not where it ends.
I know, I know, this is the Age of Feelz. Everyone is feeling so thoroughly and so hard over everything all the time, that displaying stoicism is treated as if it’s a psychotic episode. Because if you don’t feel enough about a thing — and especially if you don’t feel the way they tell you you’re supposed to feel — then you clearly don’t care. And not caring is a heinous mindcrime. Only psycopaths and evil Hitler clones don’t care. It’s Dave Holmes (and the other rainbow fascists) who care. In fact, their caring has metastasized into revenge fantasies where innocent people who are not part of the problem, are punished. Humiliated. Or worse. Because Holmes and his fellow travelers simply wish it to be.
Which will not, of course, save the lives of any American children.
Because the cold, hard, logical truth is that guns really are not the issue. I mean it. They’re not. They are an easy target onto which we (as a society) spew our impotent rage, every time youngsters lose their lives in whatever latest sensational tragedy is happening this week.
The actual issue, is people. It always has been. Inescapably. We can try to blame the object, but this is merely a punching bag for our unexpressed hatred of the fact that, yes, in this world, children do in fact die. Often for stupid, needless, and unexplainable reasons. For example, as many as 8 people a day die on our roads, due to Distracted Driving — cell phones. Is there a dumber, more idiotic reason for our teens to perish, than that they’re too busy texting bae when they oughta be keeping their hands at 8 and 4?
Look, I get it. I do. All parents feel this way, regardless of the political divide. We all dwell for a moment in that place of white-hot fury — at a universe that brings our beautiful babies into existence, then allows those babies to perish in the flowering of their young lives.
But it’s not the guns, Mr. Holmes. Seriously. Shotguns, pistols, and rifles, have been with this nation since its inception. School shootings have not. Even as recently as the 1960s — that decade of ultimate social revolt and turmoil — school shootings were not yet a common thing, as they seem to have become now.
Me? Let me tell you where I see the problem.
It’s the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce.
It’s the fact that the dysfunction of broken homes is the new normal for millions of youth.
It’s the fact that half of our families don’t go to church anymore.
It’s the fact that children raised in a secular environment with little parental moral guidance can be more easily persuaded to the nihilist’s viewpoint.
It’s that — having imbibed the nihilist’s viewpoint — more and more kids don’t think they have anything to lose.
Because instant fame is just a trigger pull away.
And all those GUN FREE ZONE signs (and laws) have created target-rich environments for people eager to claim a spot for themselves in the limelight — in the worst way possible.
And why not? Our materialist culture worships fame above all else. More children want to be famous on youtube, than want to be anonymous surgeons or social workers or steel welders. We bombard them endlessly with the message that fame — the visual, sensational kind — is the epitome of a flawed human existence. Since life is short, and nothing really (morally) matters anyway, why not go out with a bang?
This is the landscape into which each new 21st century generation of American children is born. Those of us desperately trying to provide a coherent, strong moral framework for our sons and our daughters, is swimming upstream against a torrent of terrible messaging. And it’s not just violent video games or any of the other proxy targets which have come in for a ration these past few decades. It’s the overall emphasis on the superficial. A skin-deep approach to solving life’s problems, and answering life’s most fundamental questions.
I think this leaves our children (if I may paraphrase the words of Mr. Spock) barren. Cold. No mystery. No beauty. A simple connection to the fundamental sacredness of the other souls around them, is beyond too many kids’ comprehension. No meaning. No hope. No answers. They’re asking questions.
And we tell them that their feelings — to include rage, hatred, and a sense that life is worthless — matter more than anything else.
So, Mr. Holmes, go ahead and mentally masturbate at the image of the rolling stone chasing gun owners down a spiderweb-choked tunnel. Imagine yourself — in your moment of triumphant apoplexy — yanking 300+ million firearms out of the hands of each and every law-abiding firearms owner in the nation.
Then get on the internet promptly the next day, and see that the killing continues. With knives. Homemade explosives. Cars. Anything and everything the kids can get their hands on. Because kids are smart. If they want to hurt people, they will find a way.
The trick is to show them a broader, richer, more spiritually-grounded, and loving world. Where hurting people is no longer an option in their minds. Frederick Douglas called it: it’s easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men.
What are we doing to strengthen the kids? What are we doing, as selfish, secular, short-sighted adults, which weakens them?
Answer these riddles, and you will have done far more to help with the problem, than venting your spleen at individuals who have never hurt anyone to begin with.