The Sandy Hook, Ct., school massacre pierced most of our hearts. It's also likely to shatter America's gun control shield when it should force us to face a far more pervasive crisis – our broken foundation impacted by America's moral decline.
Sometimes, these tragedies help turn our minds to far greater issues than the day-to-day ones we wrestle with. Why wrestle with it here?
Two reasons: We have a number of farm family readers in the Newtown area. And, huge societal issues impacting you and me may reach the tipping point arising from this horrible incident.
Even before most of those 20 young children were laid to rest, the temperament of liberal politicians shifted from mourning to indignation. Even President Obama swore to "use whatever power this office holds . . .." We can hope he means urging Americans to return to the faith of our forefathers, and seek guidance from that far higher authority.
But he's more likely to set his sights on a far lower target – gun control. Even if he exercises his "executive order" authority, America would be far better if any measured response would ring out first in the halls of Congress.
In a tear-filled room at Sandy Hook, the President wondered aloud: "Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? If we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no. And we will have to change.
"What choice do we have?" continued Obama. "Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"
The answer is a resounding "No!" The choices may be hard. But they are greater than those he envisions.
Our nation's leaders must be careful what they choose. Otherwise, they'll further fragment the growing divides within our society.
Consider these defining issues
* Right to defense: All Americans have the right to defend themselves. I have several guns: one for hunting, one for personal protection.
Local law enforcement most often responds too late or are ineffective, often due to being overwhelmed by the sheer number of situations they must respond to. That can be fixed. More on that shortly.
* Growing fear of government and violence: Due to growing fear of federal gun controls, weapon and ammunition sales have skyrocketed in recent years. Most of those weapons weren't bought to go deer, duck and pheasant hunting. But I struggle with the justification of selling automatic assault weapons and 30-cartridge mega-clips – for protection or sport hunting.
The firearms industry logged a record $31.8 billion in 2011 munitions sales, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation – up 13% from 2009. Even before Sandy Hook, 2012 guns sales were primed to explode past that if a record 16.8 million FBI background checks (as of Dec. 1) for gun purchases were any measure. After the President's comments, background checks and gun sales exploded again.
That's just legal firearms. Adam Lanza's weapons, even the .223-caliber AR-15 rifle, were legal, but owned by his mother.
Firearms used in crimes are overwhelmingly illegal weapons, according to the Laws.com website, and untrackable because they're unregistered. Some 86% of juveniles in correctional facilities owned at least one illegal gun. And, 65% of juvenile offenders tend to own three or more.
In Rochester, N.Y., it's reported that 22% of all young males in the city – not just juvenile offenders – have carried an illegal gun for some time. So, how does one control guns without infringing on the rights of legal self-protection in an increasingly violent society? Where does Uncle Sam draw the line? I haven't a clue. But this issue, too, can be fixed.
* Education's demise: Much media focus centered on Lanza's mental state. If you have a child with Asperger's syndrome in your family, you'd recognize some of the symptoms of this high-functioning form of autism.
My grandson has it, as do children of several friends. While these children aren't the easiest to raise, they aren't mentally ill. They do require, however, exceptionally sound and patient parenting and schooling.
They can be very productive members of society. Albert Einstein and agriculture's own Temple Grandin are noted examples, as are many techies. They think and act outside the normal human box.
Many schools, however, are ill-equipped to do the job and becoming more so. With continued funding cuts, these children are far too often "mainstreamed." Then we wonder why some – not all – become troublesome as adults. Yes, this can be fixed.
* Stop 'white-washing' our moral decline: We've white-washed the innocent spilled blood with an "anything is okay if it's personally okay" world view. Too many ignore the growing insensitivity of children and parents indoctrinated by extremely violent video games and dysfunctional television role modeling – substitutes for sound parenting.
Yet, politicians want to patch-fix this underlying threat with still more gun laws and less censorship. It's more politically acceptable than suggesting that our moral decline is due to personal failures to make decisions based on Biblical values.
Today's America doesn't have the moral foundation of the writers of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Our greatest leaders who defined us – Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln and others – repeatedly warned that democracy cannot survive without submitting to the ultimate authority – God.
We must face it as a nation, and attempt to turn it around. Yes, it can be done if we have leaders with enough insight and backbone.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee nails it: "We’ve created an atmosphere in this country where the only time you want to invoke God’s name is after the tragedy. Then we express our surprise that a culture without Him actually reflects what it has become.
"We don't want to talk about eternity, life, or personal responsibility and accountability to God. If we don't believe that, we have no fear, unless the police catch us.
"But one day, we'll stand in judgment before God." And Huckabee adds that more gun controls won't stop school shootings and fear in the streets “until you change people’s hearts.”
He "gets it." You, our readers, likely get it. But far too many don't or won't. That's why we still have more misery in the making – until we fix it.
What do you think?
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