By Dr. Jim Ferguson
Here we go again. Deranged people shoot up a big box store and then a bar. Politicos grandstand and perversely fundraise on tragedy. The media manipulates the situation and people lament as they demand the government do something to fix the ills of society and the darkened hearts of men.
Guns are tools which can be used for good or for evil. If the government abolished the Second Amendment and confiscated all guns, criminals would find a way to acquire firearms as they do in Chicago, Illinois, which has the most stringent gun laws in the country. Yet 300 people have been murdered this year in the windy city.
Actually, reasoned people know that gun violence is but a symptom of more profound societal issues. I believe we should toughen gun laws with stringent background checks in gun stores and gun shows. However, laws do not work with criminals, Jihadis or the insane.
Would a normal, sane person walk into a school or a Walmart and kill strangers? We have blurred the notion of normal, and because definitions are no longer adhered to, even the concept of insanity or right and wrong is debatable. The postmodern ethos of moral relativism has brought us to this place of chaos.
Acceptance of time honored ways of living, along with definitions of normal are under assault. I believe if you remove absolutes there is no arbiter of normalcy, and moral rot ensues. My opinion may challenge the postmodern politically correct, but dispute the logic instead of screaming invectives or running to your safe zone.
I don’t believe people with mental illness should have firearms or, for that matter, machetes. However, I believe people with mental illness are more a danger to themselves than society. So removing guns from law abiding citizens or the mentally ill will not fix gun violence. I am not mentally imbalanced, and I have a legal carry permit. These days, I rarely leave my property unarmed. I may be shot in Walmart, but I will not stand idle and be slaughtered.
Many factors are operative in gun violence. I consulted a psychiatrist friend who confirms FBI data that mental illness is a factor, but he notes that undiagnosed personality disorders can also be roused to violence. I can envision violent video games and movies challenging reality in the minds of marginal people. I can envision inflammatory rhetoric in the news or on social media raising passions to boiling points, perhaps more readily in impaired individuals. And the visceral hatred espoused by some of our titular leaders and stoked by the media actually sickens me and is just evil.
In the wake of the Christian-Newsom torture-murders, I wrote that “Sometimes, the best explanation for the otherwise inexplicable, is evil.” Our nation is in serious trouble. As one media person observed we are suffering from “cultural rot.” As an internist I always seek the why in a patient’s illness. I posit the cultural rot in America is the result of a renunciation of the absolute arbiter of right which I recognize as God. And as a student of history, I know what happens when God is excluded from citizenry, public discourse and government. The resulting destruction has occurred over and over throughout recorded history.
Jesus turned an ancient negative phrase into the positive axiom we know as the Golden Rule, and he challenged us to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. It is difficult to hate unless you renounce these tenets and then vilify and dehumanize a person or groups. Nazis claimed that Jews were animals. Talib and the Squad aver the same. The alt-left and the Democrat party leadership labels 50% of Americans as deplorable, Russian rubes and now white supremacists since the labels of racist, sexiest and homophobe did not work. The only white racist I’ve observed is depicted on the FX/Netflix drama series Justified. Actually, as the comedian Jeff Foxworthy might say, if you see race in everything, you might be a racist.
I had hoped Democrats might offer policies beneficial for America rather than just hating Trump and proposing free stuff to illegals and minorities. Why isn’t Kamala Harris’ proposal to give $100 billion to black people or Cory Booker’s reparations scheme not racist?
Now, even avuncular Joe Biden, driven by the rabid, progressive-socialist Democrat base, has lost his remaining wits and embraced the racist, white supremacist rants. Honestly, the pandering Democrat presidential candidates make leftist Nancy Pelosi appear “moderate,” and she is not.
Friends, America is in trouble. For the first thirty-five years of my life I was focused on sports and girls, then college and medical school and finally marriage, starting a family and building a medical practice. However, for the last thirty-five years I’ve paid close attention to national and international situations. America has many challenges. We are in a non-shooting war with China, Russia and Iran. The rule of law and our borders are not enforced. Our profligate spending and the national debt are destroying our children’s future. However, I have never observed anything like the current hatred, cultural rot and resulting violence. We are at each other’s throats, not seen since the Civil War. We have banned God from our midst. And we wonder why marginal people resort to violence. Actually, hatred and violence are just the human manifestations of evil. And unfortunately, evil is relentless and does not tire.
So where do we go from here? A treatment can be considered only after a diagnosis is made. My diagnosis is apostasy. God has been supplanted in schools, government and the public square with the new religion, secularism. It’s not that people don’t know of God; it’s that too many see no relevance of Emmanuel (God with us).
A recent poll showed that 20% of millennials say they have no friends. Statistics also show that many perpetrators of violence are loners. God’s most frequent promise in the Bible is “I am with you.” Is it any wonder that the lost and disaffected have difficulty acting lawfully, selflessly or with agape?
The answer to America’s problems is not open borders, new government programs or impeaching Trump. The answer is reconnecting to the Divine nature which resides within all of us.