If morality points toward the gallows for murderers, what of that other pillar of a constitutional republic, religion? What does religion, particularly the Christian religion, have to say about it? Let me just get out of the way and let Christians speak for themselves.
Here we go again. Wasn’t it just last week we were talking about the murder of 10 people in Buffalo, New York? Now we see 21 people, including 19 schoolchildren, gunned down in Uvalde, Texas. And just as before, America’s liberals are beating their breasts and demanding more gun control.
“As a nation we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” President Biden exclaimed after Tuesday’s massacre. “When in God’s name are we going to do what has to be done? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
And again, just as before, America’s conservatives are hunkering down. We’ll argue that more gun control is a bad idea, that it won’t achieve its stated goal of making everyone safer. What the country needs, we’ll say, is better mental health services, better security at schools, better enforcement of existing gun laws, etc.
Conservatives, in other words, have our own ideas about “what has to be done.” One thing we won’t do is speak of “the gun lobby” as if it were a space alien, somehow not part of the nation Biden was addressing “in God’s name.”
Surveys of public opinion indeed have found considerable disagreement among Americans about how to battle gun violence. Article summaries in the first page of Google results for “gallup gun control” include things like this: “Americans’ 52% support for stricter gun laws is the lowest since 2014, and the 19% who favor a ban on possession of handguns is the lowest on record.” And this: “A Gallup poll in 2017 found 58% of Americans believing that new gun laws would have little or no effect on mass shootings.”
So, “as a nation” we have to ask: What in blazes are we going to do?
For my part, I have long reproached my fellow conservatives for neglecting the crime issue. From 2013 in the American Thinker, for example:
Conservatives’ chronic silence about crime allows liberal gun-controllers to flatter themselves that they are the champions of public safety and the defenders of innocents, and to pass themselves off as such to the public. . . .
Our slogan has long been: ‘Guns don’t kill people; people do.’ Let us follow that idea to its logical conclusion. While liberals pursue their impossible dream of eliminating murder weapons, we should be setting about the very practical, effectual, and constitutional task of eliminating murderers.
More on that later. First, let’s talk some more about the carnage we’ve been living with.
The Uvalde massacre is not the first time such things have struck near me. In 2017, the slaughter of 26 people, including an unborn child, at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, happened less than 30 miles from my home. Before that, I was in Waco in 1993 when the besieged Branch Davidian compound outside of town burned down, with the loss of 76 lives, including 25 children and two pregnant women. And I was in Killeen in 1991 when a gunman crashed his truck into Luby’s Cafeteria there and shot down 23 people, wounding 27 more.
Sad to say, this doesn’t make me the Typhoid Mary (or, rather, the Joe Btfsplk) of American massacres. Anyone who digs around in the Gun Violence Archive will have no trouble at all in finding a mass shooting or three in his own neck of the woods. It’s like the old movie promo: “Coming soon to a theater community near you!”
Again, what are we going to do about it?
At The Federalist, David Harsanyi warns us not to surrender to “do-somethingism” on guns. On guns, that’s good advice, as it is also good advice for opposing the Left’s attempts to abridge the freedom of speech and religion in the name of public safety, social justice and LGBTQWTF rights. But as I argued back in 2013 (just after the Sandy Hook massacre), there’s something we can be doing—something we should have done long ago.
Responding last week to the Buffalo shooting, I quoted John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The maladjusted teenagers who committed mass murder in Buffalo and in Uvalde certainly appear to be strangers to morality and religion, and liberals—who for a half-century now have been trashing America’s hidebound “moralizers” and ignorant “Bible thumpers”—are not to be blamed for disliking the perverse fruits of their labors. Who could like the way these little monsters turned out?
We conservatives, meanwhile, should bear in mind that when Adams pronounced the Constitution “wholly inadequate” to the government of an immoral and irreligious people, this included the Second Amendment, and the First Amendment, too. Is it to be expected that liberals, never repenting of their having subverted morality and religion, should shrink from subverting those two amendments as well?
No, the Left looks at the Bill of Rights, and at other parts of the Constitution such as the Electoral College and the Senate, as impediments. It accordingly is intent on bursting through them (to use Adams’ phrase) “as a whale goes through a net.”
What are we going to do about that? Heartfelt prayers are certainly in order, much as liberals—transfixed as they are by their pursuit of gun control as if it were the Holy Grail—might sneer at them.
The prayer-scoffers do have a point, though: More than prayer is required. I don’t mean, as the scoffers do, that we must dream up some magical means of eliminating murder weapons. Leave that to the impossible dreamers. But what did I say in that American Thinker post almost 10 years ago? “We should be setting about the very practical, effectual, and constitutional task of eliminating murderers.”