- Recent tragedies have disappointingly created finger-pointing, rather than a unity of sympathy for the victims
- The same old arguments about gun rights have become unpersuasive, and resorting to name-calling makes things worse
- Civil discourse and an appeal to virtue would have greater impact
As the nation collectively reels and mourns the heinous, wicked tragedy of at least twenty-six lives lost because of an evil act of hate in a Texas church, we find ourselves once again factionalizing and staring down those on the other side of the gun debate.
Yet, will all of the finger pointing bring back the innocent men, women, and children that were murdered? Will it foster dialogue that is more concerned with solutions than with partisanship? Will it stop violent people from attempting further destruction? No, no, and no.
Who or where we turn to for answers when tragedy strikes is very telling. It reveals where our hope for ultimate justice lies. On Sunday, many were disparaged by Hollywood, mainstream media, and others for saying their prayers were with the families of the victims. Let that sink in. The energy these people could have expended toward showing compassion, unity, or even issuing a simple condolence was instead spent on attacking the very God these worshipers looked to for eternal—not just earthly—justice and vindication.
It boggles the mind that some would rather make enemies out of victims, but that’s what happens when one prioritizes political programs and partisan-driven policies over real people that have faced genuine heartbreak.
Sadly, the cold and callousness heaped upon country music fans and praying Christians in the wake of mass shootings will likely continue; it is proving to be an effective tool to rally the gun control troops. Thus, it is essential that Americans devoted to constitutional values have a clear and distilled position on both the 2nd Amendment and anthropology.
When it comes to restrictions on 2nd Amendment rights, it oftentimes feels as if conservatives and progressives keep circling the same tree. The same arguments are offered that have been heard so many times, it’s akin to white noise. Each side tunes the other out, and we find ourselves right where we started: endless bickering with little to show in the way of measurable results. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, maybe we should avoid giving a platform to the same old rhetoric that merely stirs up our base and, instead, begin to find ways to persuade compassionate centrists on the importance of the right to bear arms.
What about when the man or woman in the center says they’re afraid a pro-2nd Amendment stance places people at risk? How should you respond? By calling them a name and resorting to ad hominem attacks? No. Ask them, “What finally caused the murderer in Texas to stop shooting?” The answer? A heroic citizen with a gun.
The more evil we have in the world, the greater our need for an abundance of good people capable of stopping bad things from happening.
A belief that good people are able to stop bad people, when allowed to possess the tools to do so, however, requires an understanding of human anthropology that is lost on those hostile to Christianity and Western values in general. Why do we place such a high premium on liberty in the West? Historically, it is because we have placed a high value on the belief that individual autonomy and free association, when working in concert with virtue, is capable of amazing things.
Woefully, words like good and evil have become so hyper-subjective, especially in some sectors of Hollywood, academia, and other elite circles, that they are almost unrecognizable. This has led to a belief that things once considered virtuous, such as prayer, are scoffed at. Individual autonomy is now code for if it feels good, do it. The revolution of words has made good, evil, and individualism linguistically unrecognizable to a large segment of our populace. Thus, it becomes easier to see why country music fans and praying Christians receive nearly just as much derision as the killers.
So, where does this leave those who would mourn and weep for the unspeakably tragic loss of innocent life, yet know that eliminating guns will only disarm the good guys? It leaves us with a mandate. A mandate to (1) speak persuasively and civilly to those in the center, winning them over to the side that gives women, children, and men a fighting chance at safety, (2) not cede ground to those that have an agenda based on dystopian utopian thought, rather than reality…while continuing to be civil to them, and (3) promote a culture of virtue and accountability. If all we do is spout pro-gun rhetoric, but fail to promote a free and virtuous society, we have missed the mark.