As I was watching the TV news a day or so ago, they had a piece about President Obama giving a speech someplace in which he again brought up the horrid episode of the shooting massacre at the school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. As he spoke of the little children who had lost their lives in the there, he wiped away a tear that had formed in the corner of his eye. Of course, this is the portion of the video clip that made the newscast.
It is clear to me that this issue truly is close to the President’s heart. He has publicly shed other tears over the loss of these innocent lives, and he has called that fateful day at Sandy Hook, “the worst day of my presidency.” It is right to shed tears for these lost lives. This is a point about which I earlier wrote (See my blog post, The Innocent Ones, from December 17, 2012).
Since that day, President Obama has taken the lead on keeping gun violence in the forefront of our national discussions, and seems determined to pass some type of legislation that he believes will help the situation. He is right in recognizing that guns, by their very nature, will sometimes be used as tools of violence. In light of what has been happening in our nation, the President also rightly said that “something fundamental in America has to change.”
However, there is a problem. The President seems to be taking the perspective that the answer must lie in increased legislation. I agree that there are some bits of legislation that may help (background checks, for instance), but if one thinks that piling on more legislation is the answer, this is not really fundamental change. This is the same old perennial method of our government to think that the answer is to pass more regulation.
One of the problematic aspects of this approach is that it butts heads with what many Americans see as their right to keep and to bear arms. This is not just an opinion of a few backwoods rednecks, of course, but one that appears in the Second Amendment to our constitution. The reason that it appears there is that the framers of our constitution knew from experience that it is possible for a government to act not as a protector of its citizens, but as its oppressor. In the view of our founders, the well-being of the citizen was more important than the imposed will of a government.
I believe that it is true that those of today who wish to restrict the second amendment rights really do think that they are doing it for the well being of the citizens; and it is also true that people always have had and always will have disagreements with many things that the government does. However, in the present political climate, we are beginning to see this disagreement with the government climb to a new level. Today, many people in this country are beginning to have serious doubts about the fact that the government really is trying to act in the best interests of it citizens. They believe that the protector is beginning to make a shift toward being the oppressor. I think that this is the primary reason that this issue has hit such a nerve with many Americans. Some Americans are beginning to fear their government
These American citizens may not feel so threatened if they really did see some fundamental changes in our country. After all, this is what our president also called for, although the manner in which these two sides see this change would differ from one another.
To see real and fundamental change in America, we need to also look beyond the gun debate. For instance, we must also take into account other innocents who are also losing their lives. Consider the following:
With the latest technology and medical research, what goes on within the womb of a pregnant woman has become less and less of a mystery to us. Technology has opened a window into the womb for us to see how a baby develops, and medical research has confirmed it. It is difficult for me to imagine that any unbiased person could look at the photos and videos from within the womb, read the research, and say that it is simply a blob of flesh that does not yet possess humanity. Speaking from a purely scientific perspective, it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny that this is indeed an unborn human child, with individuality and even with personality.
Even with this evidence, we as a nation seem to have no trouble rationalizing well over 1,000,000 abortions every year. Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that this is a price worth paying for the right of a woman to control her own reproductive choices. I know that there are some very difficult circumstances in our society where there seems to be no good solution, but with the technological and medical knowledge that we possess, we must realize that every abortion involves the death of a person, an innocent person. That means over a million innocents killed every year.
As I have said, in the gun debate, we also hear of rights; specifically, the right to own and bear firearms. As a result of this right, we have almost 270,000,000 rifles and handguns owned by private citizens in the U.S. Sadly, many of these guns are involved in about 11,000 homicides annually. That is a lot of gun related homicides and shows a need for a fundamental change in our country.
But let’s compare the two cases, both involving death of innocent lives. Let us also see if we can balance these distressing statistics with the rights that the people involved believe is theirs. You may dispute my math, but speaking on an annual basis, 270 million guns killing 11,000 people, means that about .004% of the guns in the US are involved in homicides. Again I will say, you may draw a different percentage, but the point is, a very small percentage of guns are used for violent purposes against another person.
Now, compare the right to keep and bear arms that gun owners believe is theirs, with the reproductive rights that many people believe should be given to women. When this right of women is used to legitimize abortions, in 100% of the cases, it involves the death of a human child. 100% of the cases! If we are looking for fundamental change, it seems to me that we should also focus our attention here.
I am not placing this blame completely upon the women of our nation, for we are all to blame. It has become our culture. If we believe that human life is granted to us by a Creator God (as I do), do we really think that we, as a nation, will not someday be called to give an account for the over 50,000,000 deaths of innocent lives that has occurred since 1973?
Like President Obama, I also believe that we need fundamental change in America. I commend him for shedding a tear for the innocents shot by firearms. Now, let us shed some tears for the rest of the innocent lives lost to violence. The change we need is more than a legislative one. It is a change in our attitudes about the value of a life endowed by our Creator. This is a change that will bring about a fundamental difference.