Mass Shootings, Is it Mental Illness or Hate?
I normally write material about Christianity, drugs, and drug abuse. But I thought it necessary to talk about the mass shootings and gun violence that we are experiencing in America. So I would like to have an intelligent conversation with you about this epidemic and get your views on it as well. We conveniently place the blame for gun violence on mental illness. People are saying, “After all, no one in their right mind would do this!” I believe this is altogether an inaccurate assessment of the problem. I believe we are experiencing a rise in mass shootings because of fear and hate. Mental illness is a worldwide disorder, yet America leads the world in mass shootings and murders. Why? It is because Americans have more access to guns than any other nation.
Politicians try to make mental illness the culprit in mass shootings, but according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, in the United States, people suffering from mental illnesses are responsible for less than 4% of all violent crimes. In addition, less than a third of people who commit mass shootings are diagnosed as mentally ill. Except for those engrossed in politics, most people in America know that the real cause of mass shootings is the weapon used in the shootings. You cannot kill twenty people with a derringer. And unless you were IP Man or Bruce Lee, you could not kill twenty people with a machete. Therefore, I believe blaming mental illness is a distraction that will keep us from realizing that military-style weapons are the real culprit behind mass shootings and mass murders.
External Forces are at Work
To solve the problem of mass shootings, we must have an open dialog about guns. I believe people have a right to protect themselves. However, I don't think ordinary citizens should have access to military-type weapons. Why do we need to own fully automatic guns that fire 100 rounds in a matter of seconds? What, or who are we trying to kill? There is something inherently evil about that kind of thinking. Fear, hate, and evil are the only things that can compel an individual to murder so many innocent people so despicably.
The world does not want to admit that there are external forces at work in these mass shootings. But as Christians, we must remember that we are fighting a spiritual battle. America is a Christian nation, but we must see that the devil has planted bad seeds in the hearts of God's people. Many people in America claim to be Christians, but they are not. They look like Christians, they talk like Christians but they do not walk like Christians. Their political views take precedence over their Christian values. The Bible says that Christians should love their neighbor as they love themselves (Galatians 5:14). Until we place God above our political agenda we cannot practice love. So I say to Christians across America, let's stop sending up a bunch of watered-down prayers and giving fake condolences, and come together to fight this common enemy.
Motivation for Gun Violence
The Bible says Adam's firstborn son, Cain perpetrated the first murder (Genesis 4:1-8). Cain was not mentally ill when he murdered Abel. Instead, Cain had a problem with anger, which caused him to hate. Cain killed his brother Abel because he hated him.
Whatever we fear, we tend to want to kill. Whenever I find a wasp nest around my house, I immediately kill them. Why? Because I am afraid of being stung by wasps. What are we so afraid of that we need fully automatic military-style weapons?
Mass shootings and mass murders are motivated by fear and hate and encouraged by politics and the NRA. Bad policies and bad political judgments cause irreversible damage to our communities. Studies have shown that the vast majority of mass shooters experienced early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age. Many young people have experienced parental suicide, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and/or severe bullying. The trauma was often an antecedent to mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, thought disorders, or suicide. Practically all mass shooters were angry and disheartened because of a specific grievance. Societal fear and fascination with mass shootings drive the shooter to commit a mass shooting. In 80% of school shootings, perpetrators got their weapons from family members.
Frustrations with Gun Violence
Donald Trump Jr. expressed his frustration with gun violence following the Uvalde school shooting. He blamed what he called “wokeness” and “laziness” for the tragedy. He quoted the mother of the shooter, Adriana Reyes, asking for the community to forgive her son, saying, “Forgive me, forgive my son. I know he had his reasons.” My question is what reason could anyone have for killing innocent children?
In an incredible display of tasteless ranting, Don Jr. said the Uvalde mass shooter could have killed 19 children and two teachers with a bat. “It’s the gun," he said, "It’s not the sociopath wielding it, folks! He wouldn’t have done the exact same thing with a bat or a bomb or some other improvised device or a machete?" he asked.
Continuing his senseless rant, Don Jr. insisted, “The real problem is that people are “screwed up,” and we have “crazy teachers” and “indoctrination programs” in our schools.
Watch Donald Trump Jr.’s tasteless rant on Twitter
Donald Trump Jr. seems to think he is the only person that is frustrated. What about the distraught parents of the slain children in Uvalde, Texas? Clearly, he does not have their best interest in mind. The nation is frustrated with these senseless killings. To date, there have been 246 mass shootings in America in 2022. When will the carnage end?
How Other Countries React to Mass Shootings
In every country except the United States, mass shootings are met with a common response: Officials impose new restrictions on gun ownership. In 1987, a British gunman killed 16 people. In response, the country banned semiautomatic weapons like those he had used. After a 1996 school shooting, the British government also banned most handguns. They now have one of the lowest gun-related death rates in the world.
A 1996 massacre in Australia prompted mandatory gun buybacks. About one million firearms were melted into slag. Mass shootings dropped from one every 18 months to one in the 26 tears since. Like the United States, Australia has a strong gun lobby that frustrated the efforts to tighten gun laws until 1996. When the conservative Prime Minister, John Howard, pushed through the ban on certain firearms, gun owners were so angry they began to wear bulletproof vests in protest. Nevertheless, Australia changed its gun laws to save lives.
Since the Uvalde mass shooting, there have been at least 33 more mass shootings in the United States and we have done nothing but point the finger at one another. When we examine the problem in America up close, we discover that the problem is not mental illness, but a political system that is aided by the filibuster that is badly in need of reform.
Will We Save Our Children or Our Guns?
The United States has a rate of mass shootings that is unparalleled. Despite the increased number of mass shootings in America, we have consistently refused to tighten our gun laws. Why are Americans so slow to act against these mass shootings? To what extent would people go to keep their military-style weapons of destruction? Will we sacrifice our children to keep a gun? What are people so afraid of that would prompt them to turn their heads and close their eyes while innocent children are being murdered? Some gun owners say if they surrender their AR-15s, the government will want them to surrender their handguns as well.
If you had a bad tooth and you went to the dentist, the dentist would not ask you to have all of your teeth extracted. This gun is bad, and it does not belong on the streets of America. It’s like having a bad tooth in your mouth; it needs to be extracted.
Any gun in the wrong hands will kill, but military-style guns, such as the AR-15 assault rifle in anyone’s hands will have the potential to kill dozens of people in the blink of an eye. How many more innocent children or teachers must die before we take this gun off America’s streets? Instead of doing the legal thing, let’s do the right thing. Let’s take this gun off the streets of America. That’s my opinion, what’s yours?