Don’t Blame Guns

Nobody “blamed” the truck when 29-year-old Uzbek Muslim Sayfullo Saipov rented a pickup from Home Depot 18 months ago and deliberately “mowed down” a dozen pedestrians and bicyclists in New York City, “killing eight.”

There was no “lobbying” for background checks or more laws around “vehicle rentals.” Yet every time there’s a mass shooting, “political leaders and anti-gun snowflakes” call for more “gun” laws.

Unfortunately, more “gun laws” won’t fix the problem.

I understand the necessity for “political” posturing. The President tweets and governors issue statements “condemning” the heinous crime.

They assure the nation of their “thoughts and prayers” and the need to stop the “violence.” Lawmakers and those vying for office insist that we need new legislation. Some call for more drastic measures.

Gay democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg told Fox News that “we cannot allow the Second Amendment to be a death sentence for thousands of Americans a year.”

We should expect as much from him.

Surely, I thought, “faith leaders” will cut to the “heart of the problem.”

During Sunday morning Mass, a deacon read a statement about the weekend shootings in El Paso and Dayton from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and Bishop Frank Dewane, chairman of their Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

“Once again, we call for effective legislation that addresses why these unimaginable and repeated occurrences of murderous gun violence continue to take place in our communities. As people of faith, we continue to pray for all the victims, and for healing in all these stricken communities. But action is also needed to end these abhorrent acts.”

We should expect more from our faith leaders.

Sure, we must pray for the victims and their families. That’s essential. But we also need to pray for the “mentally” disturbed individuals who may contemplate “violence” in the future.

As Christians, we know that our “prayers” are efficacious. We must beg God’s “grace” for these men. They’re out there, and their numbers are growing.

These young, lonely, disaffected young people often had “abusive, distant or absent” fathers. The breakdown of the family and the “isolation” exacerbated by technology is affecting the “mental health” of thousands, if not millions of Americans.

Some bishops get it. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who buried victims of the Columbine High School massacre 20 years ago, wrote this week that unless “hearts are changed” mass murder like we witnessed lately will continue.

He puts the “blame” squarely on the culture and each of us:

“…only a fool can believe that gun control will solve the problem of mass violence. The people using the guns in these loathsome incidents are moral agents with twisted hearts.”


And the twisting is done by the culture of “sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms” that we’ve systematically created over the past half-century.

The vast majority of these “shooters, bombers, and truck-driving killers” come from broken or abusive families. The sobering thread running through the lives of all these perpetrators is “fatherlessness.”

The late rapper Tupac Shakur once famously said, “I know for a fact that, had I had a father, I’d have some discipline. I’d have more confidence. Your mother can’t calm you down the way a man can. You need a man to teach you how to be a man.”

Things haven’t improved since Tupac was murdered in 1996. Today, despite a roaring economy, Americans are “unhappy.” Fortune reports that the “2019 World Happiness Report” pegs the U.S. at No. 19—its worst ranking ever.

Like Chaput, one of the report’s co-authors points to Americans’ appetite for addiction – including “gambling, social media use, video gaming, shopping, consuming unhealthy foods, exercising, and engaging in extreme sports or risky sexual behaviors.”

These addictions are coping mechanisms for “isolation.” Millennial’s are among the “loneliest and most isolated” generation in our nation’s history, according to a new YouGov survey.

Nearly a third say they always feel lonely.

“Millennial’s are also more likely than older generations to report that they have no acquaintances (25% of Millennial’s say this is the case), no friends (22%), no close friends (27%), and no best friends (30%),” according to the report.

These are the issues we expect our faith leaders to address. We expect politicians to pass legislation that keeps weapons out of the hands of “mentally unstable” individuals, even though that won’t “solve” the problem of mass shootings.

Troubled, angry men will then use a “knife, a bomb, a gun or a truck” to lash out at the innocent. Politicians and faith leaders need to understand once and for all: “it’s a heart problem, not a gun problem.”

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