In the wake of the latest campus shooting, the topic has already been hijacked by 2nd Amendment concerns. I first noticed this myself reading some of the British news articles about the response, but this morning I’ve read it in several US papers (as well as their on-line comment features).
It is tempting to offer a response to some of the arguments against the 2nd Amendment (I am, after all, a supporter of the right to bear arms), but it strikes me as the “easy” argument to get into to avoid the actual “tough” issue.
Perhaps the most striking point about the tragedy was what I saw yesterday as I walked past the local courthouse. What I saw there was the usual scene. Nothing had changed at all. The flags weren’t even at half-staff.
This, I think, illustrates more than anything else how complacent we’ve gotten toward mass shootings in general. These things no longer shock us like they used to. And when you look at some of the many school shootings over the past decade, their sheer quantity tells you that there is something wrong here.
Even a simple examination of the way the media reacts tells us a lot. Consider the reaction that Herbert Morrison had when he witnessed the Hindenburg explode and cried out emotionally, “Oh, the humanity!” Today, that’s a punch line. Compare Morrison to the reporters who search for survivors before the bodies are even moved and, in almost salivating tones, ask such “journalistic” questions as: “How do you feel?”
Again, there is something seriously wrong here.
The problem with the shooting at Virginia Tech isn’t a problem about the 2nd Amendment. It’s a problem stemming from the 6th Commandment: “You shall not murder.” If Cho Seung-Hui had followed this commandment, he could have had a thousand guns and no one would have any reason to fear him; the fact that he would not follow this commandment means he was dangerous even without a single gun.
Our culture has, in many ways, become a culture of “death.” We have taken away human dignity by removing morality from every facet of our lives. It is easy to divert the issue to the questions of gun control, because that allows us to ignore the deeper issue: the heart issue. What are we doing to make murder unthinkable in the first place? Because until people embrace the 6th Commandment, we will continue to have these problems even if the 2nd Amendment is repealed.
Some may question why apologetics is necessary. Had someone shown the moral necessity of following the 6th Commandment instead of, say, teaching that morals are simply contrived beliefs held by a group of social individuals, it may well be that the shooting would never have occurred in the first place.