At this writing the nation is in an uproar, and another community is trying to recover, after a woman pretending to be a man broke into the Covenant Christian School – a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee – and shot to death three 9-year old students, the school principal, a substitute teacher and a janitor. Authorities say the motive of the shooter, Audrey Hale – a 28-year-old transgender former student – remains “unknown.” But despite numerous requests, they have thus far declined to release Hale’s written “manifesto,” which some believe might contain threats against religious people who oppose the transgender movement. Later reports also indicate that Hale expected to be killed at the school.
The conventional wisdom on the Covenant School massacre, as well as other horrible mass-shootings, is that the “real” problem is just too many guns. “When are your legislators going to realize that gun control saves lives?” asked a resident of Melbourne, Australia, in a letter to the Washington Post, several years ago. USA Democrats are almost uniformly in lockstep with that view, while conservative defenders of the Second Amendment note that states and cities with the strongest gun-control laws – e.g., New York, Chicago, California – typically have the highest rates of gun-crimes. But facts carry no weight with leftists when they see new opportunities to continue their campaign to disarm the general public.
In a bizarre turnabout, leftist politicians today are celebrating Audrey Hale as a “martyr” of the transgender movement, and calling her a “seventh victim” of the shooting. But members of the Covenant Church community do not share that view. Instead, they are praising Nashville policemen Michael Collazo and Rex Engelbert, who heard the alarm, rushed to the scene, and immediately entered the school building to fire upon and kill Hale before she could do more damage. Police officials say their prompt action undoubtedly saved many lives. Nevertheless, this is a grim time for families who lost loved ones to Hale’s senseless killing-spree.
Discovering what motivates individuals to commit horrible acts that appear senseless to people of the “normal culture” is always a diverting quest for reporters and politicians – as though finding some previously undisclosed reason might actually justify the perpetrator’s crimes. Often, though, the killer’s motives are never found, as in the case of Steven Paddock, who killed sixty Las Vegas concert-goers, and wounded or caused injuries to over 500 others, with a hail of automatic rifle-fire from a 32nd floor window of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in October 2017.
The 64-year-old retired accountant had no known history of violence or threatening behavior. Claims by the terror group ISIS that Paddock’s conversion to Islam motivated his attack were never confirmed. Officials speculated that Paddock might have been “psychotic” or mentally disturbed, but no evidence has supported that theory. (From here it’s seems obvious that he was mentally disturbed. What normal person kills sixty people?)
Police reported that prior to his attack Paddock had brought 23 weapons – primarily rifles – and thousands of rounds of ammunition into his hotel room over a period of three days. Did no hotel staff notice this? How about the maids who make up the beds and bring new towels each day? No doubt they are trained to mind their own business, but really – the guy was armed to the teeth. His room must have looked like the DC Armory, circa 1865. Is this considered “normal” in Nevada?
In some mass-murder cases we do know something of a killer’s motive – sordid though it might be. In 2006, 32-year-old truck-driver Charles Carl Roberts killed five Amish girls in their school near Paradise, Pennsylvania. Roberts burst into the school armed with a shotgun, a pistol, a rifle, and 600 rounds of ammunition. Police later said he appeared equipped for a long siege. He released fifteen schoolboys, a pregnant woman, and three adult women with young children, but kept eleven girls captive. As police stormed the school, Roberts shot five of the girls to death before killing himself. Police believe he intended to molest and kill all of them. In notes left at his home, Roberts said an incident that occurred 20 years earlier had motivated the crime.
Our gun-control “expert” from Australia is not alone in believing that these horrible crimes, and many others, could have been prevented by stricter gun-control laws. After the Amish shootings, one hundred big-city mayors, including New York’s Michael Bloomberg and Boston’s Thomas Menino, formed a coalition to press for removal of illegal guns from their cities, where violent crime was on the rise. The mayors wanted increased gun control and stiffer penalties on illegal weapons traffickers.
Analysts of gun-control’s effect on violent crime differ with the mayors’ premise, however. In his article “Does gun control equal crime control?” Dr. Jeremy D. Blanks – a Senior Research Scientist with a leading R&D firm – wrote:
“A review of the areas in the U.S. with the most restrictive firearm laws, including…Washington, DC, Chicago, New York, and California, shows that these areas have some of the highest… violent crime rates in the U.S. The crime rates in all of these areas exceed the national average, and they all have enacted in-depth restrictions on firearm ownership that include licensing and registration schemes, various taxes, testing, and even bans on firearms.”
(Note: Washington DC’s crime rate has fallen since 2014, when the U. S. Supreme Court struck down its laws outlawing all handgun-ownership.)
Experts acknowledge that Pennsylvania laws then in force could not have prevented the crime Roberts’ twisted mind had planned. Second Amendment opponents claimed that the state’s “shall-issue” law – which allows any law-abiding citizen without a prior felony conviction to obtain a concealed weapon permit – enabled the crime. But there was no evidence that Roberts had a permit for his pistol. How he obtained it is unknown. And as in Paddock’s case, Roberts’ other weapons required no permits, as they were not handguns. Had guns and knives been unobtainable, he could have used a pitchfork to kill his victims just as effectively.
Following the Las Vegas shootings, President Trump was virtually alone in branding Paddock’s crime as “an act of pure evil.” But most political responses to this and other shootings focus on the weapons, not on their users. I heard an Imam on the radio proclaiming: “it wasn’t religion, it was guns; it wasn’t ethnicity, it was guns; it wasn’t politics, it was guns; it wasn’t racism, it was guns;” etc. Not once did he mention “evil.” One wonders if it ever crossed his mind.
“Evil” was also missing from reports I saw (or heard) on Roberts’ pitiless slaughter of those Amish girls. In fact, he was a depraved man who had nursed a crack-brained grudge for twenty years, and plotted how he would despoil and kill young girls. This was not about law or guns, but about a man’s heart totally controlled by evil.
In a review of Christina Hoff Sommers’ book, The War Against Boys, How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men, Dr. Kelley Ross wrote:
“Where children are not raised in a morally appropriate fashion, they will behave impolitely, imprudently, or illegally – [or] all three… The criminality of the young, especially the sociopathic and even psychopathic behavior evident in recent school shootings and massacres, let alone the criminal slaughter found in inner cities …is a matter of frequent sensational headlines. That the public debate over such incidents is typically diverted into controversy over firearms is one of the most disturbing and damaging misdirections in all of recent politics.” (Emphasis mine.)
In the 1940 and ‘50s, when I was growing up, there were some child-molesters and mass-killers, but our justice systems dealt with them swiftly and decisively. Depraved animals like Roberts got the Chair or the Gas Chamber; or rotted in mental hospitals for the rest of their sick lives. A particularly sensational crime in that era was the killing-spree of Charles Starkweather, a 19-year-old who murdered eleven people across Nebraska and Wyoming during December 1957 and January 1958. After being apprehended he was convicted and executed in 1959. His 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, who had accompanied him on his killing-spree, was sentenced to life imprisonment. She was paroled in 1976, and presently lives in Michigan.
Would Pennsylvania have sentenced Amish-murderer Roberts to die? Maybe, but probably not. At the time, Pennsylvania had executed only two men since 1977. Luckily, the murderous swine executed himself, saving citizens the cost of his meals, accommodations, medical care and cable TV for decades – until some liberal judge could give him a new trial because a police officer had called him a mean name or slapped him around.
Contemporary society nurses a delusion that every criminal can be “reformed,” and that no one is beyond reclaim. That’s true in the spiritual realm, but in society’s flesh-and-blood reality it’s far from certain. Today we can’t even recognize “evil” because we no longer believe in it. This includes many religious people who no longer believe in Hell. Where do we think people like Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Himmler ended up? (Maybe in that Great Mental Hospital in the Sky?)
The delusion goes beyond simply defining evil down. Today we don’t recognize danger when it’s right in front of us. Disturbed homeless people live among us instead of in institutions, where they would pose no threat to society and could be properly cared for. Once we housed them in those facilities, but compassionistas like Rosalyn Carter helped get thousands of them released to wander around, litter our streets with drug detritus, sleep in our parks, defecate in parking garages, and hassle passers-by for money. Normal Culture people who want their cities back are called “insensitive” or “racists.”
This vagrant-army has been reinforced by hordes of illegal aliens streaming across our borders. We know little about their criminal records or moralities. When one of them commits a violent crime, we’re shocked – shocked! – that such a person obtained a weapon. We demand more laws. We want someone held accountable. But we are the responsible party. Our indifference to danger and evil is befouling our culture and costing our children their lives and futures.
Adding to our problems with evil and crime, minority “activists” are accusing police, who try to keep minority-communities safe, of being racially-motivated assassins. This vile slander – soundly disproved by numerous statistical studies – has pushed the crime-rate higher in those neighborhoods. A recent FBI report notes that “cops are backing off proactive policies in high-crime minority neighborhoods, and criminals are becoming emboldened.”
Millionaire football players “taking a knee” to protest “police racism” are contributing to this wretched result. Black families and communities that survived two centuries of slavery and another century of Jim Crow are coming apart at the seams. The country is more racially divided than it has been for 50 years.
Hopefully we’ll regain moral equilibrium and put things right before our society descends into complete chaos. Guns are often the tools of the wicked, but this problematic situation isn’t about guns. It’s about recognizing danger, understanding (and believing in) evil, punishing wicked people, and working together to restore righteousness to our government and our culture. We need to get serious about this. It’s our responsibility, and we have been AWOL for far too long.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)