Stopping the Next Columbine

While our nation grieves over another tragic and senseless mass killing there are many among us who advocate the termination of a constitutionally protected right to stop this from happening again. If a constitutionally protected right is abolished or diminished there is nothing to prevent the same from happening to any of our other rights protected by the Constitution.  Even talking about abolishing or diminishing such a right is opening up Pandora’s Box, and since the box has been opened we should talk about banning something else that has killed more people than all the guns in the world: bad ideas communicated via newspapers, news programs, schools, legislators, laws, and judges.

Before anyone shoots others with a gun, stabs them with a knife, runs them over with a car, blows them up with a bomb, or kills them in so many different ways they first must desire to do so. This is why any idea based on a system of beliefs that encourages or even fails to prohibit the taking of someone else’s life without due process of Common Law should be banned.

Many would complain that restricting speech in this manner violates their first amendment rights, but that is exactly what anti-gun advocates are trying to do by attempting to restrict or ban gun ownership, which is a second amendment right. They cannot have it both ways; if these rights are unalienable then none of them should be alienated. (The Declaration of Independence uses the root word “alienate” in reference to a person’s rights; it means sold or transferred.)

Sadly freedom of speech has already been violated and its violation has been upheld by the highest court in our land. By prohibiting public institutions from displaying the ten fundamental laws that were the foundation of all law in America, the Supreme Court is prohibiting the communication and enforcement of morals in our society. For example, in the 1978 Supreme Court case Stone v Graham in which the State of Kentucky’s law requiring a copy of the Ten Commandments be posted on the wall of each classroom in every public school was successfully challenged. The issue was whether Kentucky’s statute violated the first amendment and the Supreme Court held that posting of religious texts serves no educational function but to induce school children to read, meditate upon, and obey, the Commandments. The court’s analysis was that the posting of religious texts in the classroom is not a permissible State objective under the Establishment Clause; i.e., establishment of religion in the 1st Amendment. Besides completely misconstruing and misapplying the very clear words in and original intent of the Establishment Clause, the Supreme Court also restricted free speech in the promotion of ten very good ideas, one of which is, “Thou shall not commit murder.”

It is difficult to understand why anyone would not want their child to read, meditate upon, and obey a commandment like, “Thou shall not commit murder.” If the Ten Commandments were once again upheld in public institutions, our nation would also once again have significantly less or no massacres in schools, movie theaters, McDonalds or other public places. Murder is a physical act that first starts as an idea. Without a moral code commanding that this behavior is wrong; people will do the unthinkable, because there is nothing in what they have been taught to inform them otherwise. As a matter of fact, since the passage of Supreme Court cases Engel v Vitale and Abington v Schempp in 1962 and 1963, which respectively ruled public schools could not mandatorily have prayer and could not mandatorily teach religion, social indicators have gone haywire. Social indicators like teenage pregnancy and violence in public schools have skyrocketed while SAT scores have plummeted. To be clear, correlation does not prove causation, but when so many connected concepts suddenly change at one time it is hard to imagine another root cause. Ideas have consequences and public massacres in America are the consequences of restricting the Ten Commandments as the foundation of United States law.

With the Ten Commandments out of the way and society not functioning as well as it used to, guns have become the prime suspect in a society gone mad, but guns are the method not the motive. Guns have been a part of our nation since its inception and until relatively recently there has been no restrictions on their ownership as the pre-ample to the Bill of Rights demands, “Congress shall make no law… [respecting] the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” Also until recently, it was unthinkable for anyone to use guns to randomly kill people in public; kids even used to take their guns to school, so they could go hunting after school without first going home and without anyone ever thinking they would use those guns to commit violence against their classmates. In the last fifty years something has changed in America, and now people are committing gross acts of random wonton violence against fellow citizens and school classmates.  It is not the existence of guns in our society that has changed in the last fifty years, it is what we as a nation believes and in what we put our faith that has changed.

It is time for public officials and private citizens to stop pointing to guns as the root cause of this endemic problem, because it is the lack of morals being upheld in our society that is killing people and banning guns will only cause worse violence against American citizens. Banned or not, guns will always be available and if law abiding citizens are restricted from gun ownership then they will make an easier target, not only by lunatics in movie theaters, but by politicians in elected offices who want to impose their tyrannical will upon the people. Since New York Mayor Bloomberg thinks infringing other’s second amendment rights is within the jurisdiction of the President, then he should not mind if a President confiscates all his worldly assets, incarcerates him without being charged, and then has him executed. I do not find any of this lawful or desirable, but if we, as a nation, decide to violate a constitutionally protected right, there is nothing to stop the violation of other rights like: life, liberty, and property. If Americans are serious about stopping public massacres as just happened in Aurora, Colorado then we, as a nation, need to restore the foundation of law that restrained those impulses for well over 182 years.

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15 thoughts on “Stopping the Next Columbine

  1. Typical reactionary pabulum. There are almost too many over-the-top, extremisms and nonsense in this essay to respond to. I’ll try to keep it simple – and use small words – so you can hear me over the chest thumping.

    First none of the rights specified in the constitution is absolute. Each – speech, religion, assembly, etc. – has qualifiers and limitations that Americans have accepted as reasonable Does this “diminish the right”? Of course, this balance is the heart of our government. We are a nation of moderates and reasonable people. We have more important things to address than forcing one set religious values down everyone’s throat – whether it’s in a school room or a different country.

    Alas, some simple-minded people just can’t see past guns, God, and gays.

    • Please sir; there is no need to write words intended to demean if you have a valid point to make. I agree with you, rights are not absolute, but neither are they granted by government or bounded by public opinion. If they were granted by government or bounded by public opinion, then government or a majority of citizens could take them away, which is another way of saying it is no right at all.
      Our founders were clear in the Declaration of Independence that rights are granted by our Creator, and whether a person chooses to believe this or not is irrelevant, because it is established legal doctrine from our nation’s first founding document. Since God is the only entity that can grant rights, because governments and people are only able to grant privileges, it is only God who can take them away and it is He who sets their boundaries.
      I don’t understand your logic behind how reasonable qualifiers and limitations on our rights is the heart of our government; would you please explain how and why this is true? Additionally, you made a subjective qualification as to who we are as a nation without defining your scale, would you please explain moderation in reference to an absolute scale in which the far right and left are 0% and 100% of something respectively?

      Typical reactionary pabulum. There are almost too many over-the-top, extremisms and nonsense in this essay to respond to. I’ll try to keep it simple – and use small words – so you can hear me over the chest thumping.
      First none of the rights specified in the constitution is absolute. Each – speech, religion, assembly, etc. – has qualifiers and limitations that Americans have accepted as reasonable Does this “diminish the right”? Of course, this balance is the heart of our government. We are a nation of moderates and reasonable people. We have more important things to address than forcing one set religious values down everyone’s throat – whether it’s in a school room or a different country.

      • Not to use labels but the first reply seems to originate from a moderate. But holding that viewpoint is like being in the middle of the road, you will be hit by a car. You can be on one side of the road or the other. The middle is no place for anyone.

    • The wording you used “shoved down everyone’s throat” is really not accurate. Simply placing these Biblical principles, which has been the case since our nation was founded, in classrooms would not be forcing the values upon anyone. It is simply a reminder of the God that this nation is under. While America is steadily becoming a melting pot of many cultures, this does not mean we should forget about the values that brought the USA to where we are today. We do not change our God because the people changed. To have moderate views as you have stated you do is, and I do mean this with all respect, to stand in the middle of the road. That is the best place to be if you want a car to hit you. It is like being lukewarm water. It is practically useless. Our nation needs direction and value and that is how we began. Without the values with which we were founded, we will fall. An idea is where it all begins. If we sew love we will find love. But if we have a lack of direction, killings like will continue in even greater numbers.

    • If simple-minded means that I believe what the Bible teaches us, then I guess I am simple-minded too. I honestly do not understand how poeple like you just don’t get it. There is only one way unto the Father and that way is Jesus Christ. God gave you the power of free will. Unfortunately, in your case, instead of choosing salvation you reject it as “being shoved down your throat”. Good luck. I’m sure you’ll continue to feel tough during your remaining brief years on Earth. I’ll keep praying for you.

  2. Two things come to mind that illustrate the points you make.

    First, you can look to violence in the middle east, where violence is committed upon the populace using bombs and acid, just to name two means of attack. To focus on the weapon, and not the ideas that generate the terrorist attack, is simplistic.

    Second, the City of Chicago is threatening to ban Chick-fil-A from opening new restaurants because the president of the company voiced his support for the traditional definition of marriage. Scary when a government can prevent you from earning a living because you exercise your right to free speech (not to mention expressing an opinion that is Biblically based). How is that different than the government telling you how to vote if you want to maintain your employment?

    • Excellent points Jim. Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer that killed 168 and wounded over 700. Do you regulate fertilizer and take it away from the farmers? Weapons do not kill people; people kill people by using their weapon of choice.

  3. I have a comment and a question, for the public. The comment is regarding the implied effectiveness of supposed qualifiers and limitations. Simply put, how’s the “war on drugs” working out for us? As an example, Crystal meth is illegal yet people find a way. And the problem is horrific in this country. Why do so many think gun regulations would be any different? Are drugs a problem? Of course they are and they should be managed; however the bigger problem is our moral decay. We need to turn back to the source of morality, our Creator. He provided us with a user guide. Bad people will find a way to do bad regardless of the rules, so we must work on the people.

    To the public, the American citizen questioning the 2nd Amendment and our rights, I propose a hypothetical. You’re sitting in the theater in Aurora, hiding in fear after the first few gunshots and casualties and suddenly time is stopped. An angel (or genie if you prefer) appears and tells you if you snap your fingers a man there with you who is still alive can legally have the gun he left at home, and after he receives it he knows the local laws will allow him not only to carry it, but to use it to protect life without fear of recrimination. You also understand he’s then going to fire a shot which kills James Holmes and prevents the majority of the deaths that horrific night. Would you snap your fingers?

    Who among us would not? So, I dare say it is easy for us to opine and speak in anecdotal fashion on the interpretation of our founding documents. At the end of the day we know what is right, and we know what circumstances WE would want to exist if our life hung in the balance. God bless our founders for having the wisdom for securing a God-given right for us through the Constitution.

  4. Regardless of how one parses the Second Amendment language of the United States Constitution the Second Amendment is about the fundamental right of citizen self-defense. It is not about duck hunting or sporting clays. A free man or woman with a firearm has a fighting chance against any would-be-gangster or criminal. A disarmed person does not. History is full of examples of disarmed citizens unable to defend themselves from despots.

    As for morality, free citizens should not leave it to government schools and government institutions to teach morality. As it states in Deuteronomy 6 “ And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Our problem is the corruption of church and family more so than our schools.

  5. In 1945 Otto Frank came home from a Nazi prison camp to find his family, including daughter Ann Frank, to have died after years of hiding in captivity avoiding German Nazi persecution. Millions of German people had been rounded up, separated from their loved ones, imprisoned, starved, tortured and eventually killed by the government of the country in which they were raised. Over a relatively short period of time Otto watched his defenseless nation transform into an evil empire where citizens were hunted and exterminated while he and others like him were powerless to do anything but hide like lambs before the slaughter.
    Americans have been blessed with the opportunity to become educated and establish a foundation of critical thought or choose to waste it and regurgitate daft and senseless rhetoric. This same opportunity affords us the option to research history and think ahead or take each day as it arrives from someone else’s plan and manage it as best we can. Shaping the nation’s interests to mirror our own values is difficult but it benefits us and our children and grand children. The choice is ours alone and Americans will shoulder the burden of what takes place after decisions are made.
    I cannot imagine the shame and guilt Otto and others like him agonized over knowing their input and citizen decisions in shaping Germany were wrong. The German government was not ultimately responsible for the holocaust; the German people were responsible. It is the people who manage the country and should they decide to delegate that power to others who do not share their values then the people will suffer the consequences while still owning the burden of responsibility.
    The movie theatre in Aurora was a travesty and James Holmes is solely responsible for that action but Americans are responsible for the idea of random killings so we must reflect deeply on why it took place. The shaping of immoral minds, promotion of ignorant speech and the evil actions of people are the consequences sitting squarely upon our shoulders. What are we to do about it? Ignoring what we know to be true regarding the degradation of morals and virtues in hopes of finding a more perfect union simply through the inaction of an unfocused electorate to stop the massacres seems reckless. Demanding our government implement policies hoping the removal of tools from our toolbox to ‘fix’ our nation rather than taking the ownership of restoring our own values is challenging logic to understand. Further usurpation of the Constitution by banning or restricting guns is merely a delegation of America’s responsibilities to power hungry bureaucrats distancing ourselves from controlling our own destiny.
    What if the Jews had the right to bear arms in 1930? What if the Jews did not delegate their responsibilities to those absent morals and virtues? Would Otto have been imprisoned and would he have returned home to find his friends and family erased from the world in a sick and evil way? America’s actions are like ringing a glockenspiel and once it chimes; un-ringing it is not an option and we will welcome the crowd attracted to our doorsteps regardless of their intentions so we should do our best to make sure the crowd’s values mirror our own.

  6. A different thought to add to the discussion above…There has been much misinformation regarding the 2nd amendment (and the rest of the Bill of Rights). As much as the NRA or someone might want it to, the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the states and guarantee 300+ million people the right to bear arms (nor do any of the other 10 amendments apply to the states – research “incorporation”) – that is an inconvenient fact not open to “interpretation”. The 2nd amendment does (or was supposed to) forbid “the Congress” from passing any legislation that infringes upon that right – which means if you want to own a bb gun, a fully automatic weapon, or even a tank, you can, unless your State says otherwise. Although counter to logic, if a State decided to ban firearms, it is within its power to do so… The decentralized power of the Sovereign States ended under the barrel of gun during Lincoln’s despotic reign. In a truly Federal system of republican government, if you don’t like being defenseless, you can move to another state before you get shot by non-law abiding citizens. Living in These United States under a government confined by the Constitution as set by our founders would surely be a shock to most of us…

    • Liber Natio,

      I am glad you brought this up; you are correct about the Bill of Rights only being applicable to Congress as the preamble to the Bill of Rights attests, “Congress shall make no law…” Since Congress is the only branch of our national government delegated the power to make laws, no other branch at the national level can restrict rights. During the constitutional ratification process the States accurately feared a national government would eventually attempt to interfere with the rights of their citizens, so they only ratified the Constitution if a bill of rights were amended to it. The first session of Congress collected the issues from each of the States and combined them into ten amendments and passed them as the Bill of Rights.

      Your other affirmation, however, about the States having the authority to restrict or abolish rights is incorrect. Rights are not granted by any level of government; otherwise they would not be rights, because if a government can grant them, then a government can take them away. The Declaration of Independence declares government is instituted among men to secure rights; therefore it is the duty of every government to secure rights and not infringe upon or abolish them.

      You might argue the next line of the Declaration of Independence indicates governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and therefore if the governed consent to infringe upon rights then the government has the authority to do so. Yet, rights are bestowed individually and cannot be transferred or sold, so neither can they be taken away or infringed upon by popular consent. Rights can only be restricted or taken away from an individual if that individual breaks the law of the entity that bestowed the rights.

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