Sunday, December 16, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Connecticut School Shooting - Divergent Worldviews

Immediately, the clamoring over gun rights began. The day wasn't even finished and the comments on the news stories were alternately hand-wringing over too many guns or vociferously defending gun rights at any cost.

My first thought, as a parent, is for the parents of those children. Many in the alternative media are decrying Obama's tears as manipulation. I see the tears of a father. I don't care about politics at a time like this. The man seems to care on at least this most basic level and I give him credit for that. But why are we looking to President Obama?

This will stir the gun debate anew; but, the issue is deeper than the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Many people believe that guns should be banned, that the 2nd Amendment is an anachronism. Others believe that gun ownership should remain free and legal. I happen to fall in the second camp. And the reason is deeper than simply a distrust of government.

I see two worldviews. One group of people firmly believe in the divine right of kings. We thought we had rid ourselves of this notion, but we haven't. They believe those born to better families, to better classes have better tools with which to lead and govern a people impoverished of wisdom. They believe that certain exceptional people have wisdom that the rest of us do not. I could see it on the President's face today as he spoke. He was determined to take action regardless of the political consequences. What action would he like to take? I believe he wants to pass more restrictive gun laws. His answer, their answer, is that government has the answers and government is the only thing that makes people's lives better, safer.

There is another group of people who firmly believe in the rights of the individual. They don't believe in the collective, except in cases where it is necessary. Their first answer doesn't come from government, but from themselves. From their own experience. From their God. From the standpoint that the individual reigns supreme. But there is a disconnect.

An individual does not truly reign supreme. Either he or his religion bridles his passions or else the community or government must do that for him. We can have self-rule but only for the self-disciplined. As John Adams famously stated:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
There must be restraint. I would rather those restraints come from me rather than my government. And so now we see the true underlying cause of the school shootings: lack of discipline and accountability.

Like it or not, we are accountable to each other, as I've said in this blog before. Rather than turn to government for the answers, this shooter's family should have taken the responsibility to discipline and bring to heel his passions and emotions long before today. Strong leadership in the family and in the community is what is needed, not more laws. Just as friends and family failed Ted Haggard and Jerry Sandusky, they also failed Matthew Murray and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. When will we finally understand that with freedom comes responsibility? Ironically, Big Sis's program of "See something, say something" isn't too far off the mark. These people's friends had a responsibility to them. And to us.

So now we must choose. Which worldview will it be? The divine right of kings and governments to dispense laws on our behalf? Or will it be true freedom and responsibility to one another? We can no longer have it both ways.