Commentary: Solving the School-Shooting Crisis

We Need A Spiritual Recrudescence

Given 17-Feb-18; 15 minutes

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Richard Ritenbaugh reflects on the horrendous school shooting in Florida, perpetrated by a deranged student, Nicholas Cruz, who had just been transferred to an institution for students with behavioral issues. The police had been called to his house 32 times; the FBI had received timely warnings about him but failed to follow through. There appears to be four reasons for gun violence. 1.) There are too many guns in the hands of citizens, with inadequate or poorly-enforced restrictions. 2.) Many of these mass murderers are ignescent, suffering from the unpredictable, mind-altering effects of psycho-tropic drugs. 3.) The mentally ill individuals are running amuck, while few Americans want to trust an appointed government bureaucrat to determine who is insane. 4.) Society, through television, movies, video games, etc. has glorified violence, making life appear as cheap, numbing especially the young to the pain which attends violence. Resolving these problems is not possible unless policy-makers factor in the deceptiveness of human carnality. The solution is character reform, not political reform.



By now, we have all heard about the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a little bit northwest of Fort Lauderdale, that happened this past Wednesday. Interesting that it happened on Valentine's Day. Seventeen people, as we have been told, were shot and killed, and another fifteen wounded by a young man named Nicholas Cruz, a 19 year-old who had been transferred out of that school to a school for students with behavioral issues.

Many in the community knew him to be a deranged person with serious violence in his background, and I think I saw on the Drudge Report yesterday that police had been called to his house 32 times, so they were certainly aware of him. He's in custody, and his public defender has already said that he's going to confess to all the premeditated murder counts against him. It's an attempt to make sure he does not find the electric chair or lethal injection.

We have since learned that recently the FBI received a tip about an ominous message on YouTube in which the person said, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." The message had no details about a time or a location of where this particular school shooting would take place, and the FBI claims that they could not identify who the person was that made threat, even though the post was signed with the user name "Nicholas Cruz." It's pretty damning for the FBI. It sounds like they were doing either pretty slipshod work or they had the wrong priorities.

Once the first shots were fired, of course, the media came to the school quickly, and they have since been regurgitating all the facts about it ad nauseum—you know, our 24 hour news cycle there. They are at it all the time. It took them about two minutes to begin to wring their hands and ask, "Why do school shootings happen in America so often?" And of course, they said, "We need tougher gun control laws." That was the first thing. That is their go-to solution about everything.

They also began claiming that there have been eighteen school shootings in the United States already this year, which turns out to be true only technically, because these eighteen school shootings that they are counting includes suicides. It includes firings of guns that, let's say, go off accidentally. It would include anything like somebody taking a BB gun on campus and shooting it. So, among the seventeen prior incidents that they are counting, only five occurred during school hours with students around. Only four of those seventeen incidents were occasions in which someone brought a firearm to the school with the intent to shoot students. Only one actually resulted in deaths. You probably remember that from a couple weeks ago in which a 15 year-old boy armed with a handgun opened fire in a Kentucky school, killing two students and injuring fourteen.

Obviously, that is still too many, but it shows you that they are willing to bend the facts and make things appear worse than they are in order to get a political point across. Of course, the media, as they always do, started pointing fingers at American culture, Republicans, the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association, and other conservative groups as to blame for this appalling crime that Nicholas Cruz himself committed.

Don't they love to score political points? And of course, they did that immediately. Now, like clockwork, many of them are blaming President Trump, like he had something to do with it. They are saying that he and the Republicans in Congress made it easier for mentally ill people to get guns. Well, the only problem with this accusation is that it never happened. They just basically took this thing out of the air. What was blocked—what they are referring to—is an Obama-era rule that would have made the Social Security Administration judge, jury and executioner, if you will, on just who was mentally defective. They were going to put all of that on the Social Security Administration, so that they would say, "OK, this person, this person, this person, are mentally defective or they have a mental disorder (or whatever), and they can't buy guns."

Nobody wanted that—Republicans or Democrats—just a few really far leftists that wanted to give the Social Security Administration more power, but the ACLU did not want this, mental health organizations—many of them quite left-wing—did not want this either. Besides that—just putting all that aside—Federal law already bans mentally ill people from getting guns—in terms of Nicholas Cruz, no court, no commission had ever designated Cruz as mentally unfit, so when he bought his gun, there was nothing to stop him from doing so. So, that sort of thing would not have affected Cruz at all—would not have applied to him.

Now, our national conversation about school shootings seems to be stuck on a handful of major causes, and I have four of them here. The first thing is that there are too many guns, and too little gun control. That is what people are talking about out there. The left says it is too easy for violent people to get guns, so we should drastically limit their sale. Of course, they especially want to limit AR-15s, but that argument is countered on the right with the facts—things like, despite how many people own guns, law-abiding citizens rarely commit violent crimes. It iss criminals that commit crimes, and if they want to commit crimes, they will find a way to do it.

Besides that, statistics show that concealed carry laws deter crime, because killers don't want to be killed. If they know that there are concealed carry people perhaps in a building, they won't take it on. They're afraid. Also, banning guns is unconstitutional. That's just a fact. It is our Second Amendment right.

Number two, it has been found that many of these mass murderers were on psychotropic drugs, not necessarily illegal drugs like methamphetamines or heroin. Face it—we are a pharmaceutical society, and a high percentage of our neighbors, acquaintances and associates are on some sort of prescription drug. Many of those drugs cause mind-altering effects like disassociation, suicide, manic depression, violent outbursts, or violent behavior. I mean, just listen to the drug ads that are on TV, and they tell you, in these low tones, "Well, this may cause suicidal thoughts and ..." You think, "Why would anybody want to take this?" They must really be hurting or something, that they would they would use this stuff.

The third point is that the mentally ill are running amok in this country—that is one of the arguments—and many of them are on these mind-altering drugs. Psychiatric care, counseling, drugs, hospitalization, whatever is necessary, are enormously expensive, and not even the Federal government has the wherewithal to take this on, especially with the costs of Obamacare and Medicare and the Medicare drug program and all that stuff that they're they're footing the bill for already. As with the issue of the blocked provision in Congress, who will Americans trust to determine who is insane? Nobody is going to want that. Nobody is going to want the government to tell them who is insane and who is not. It's bad enough already, so do we want some bureaucrat to have that kind of power over us or our loved ones, that they can just point at someone and say, "You're insane and therefore you can't buy a gun" or "You can't do this" or "You can't do that"?

The fourth one that people argue about is that our society is just, at base, too violent. Some of the arguments they bring up are our kids sit in front of their computers daily, for many hours, and they play first-person shooter games, and they numbly, blithely kill digital enemies all the time. Another one is that football is too violent, and another one is that television shows and movies are too violent. Then they make the conclusion that we have raised a generation that is numb to human pain and cares little for the value of human life. And so we have, they say, these school shootings.

Now, I'm not going to make a determination one way or another on these arguments. Those are just the arguments of the conversations that most people are having in the wake of this tragedy down there in Florida. Each of these has some merit. Some have more merit than others. A healthy society—which we are not—would consider their merits and take appropriate action without infringing upon the rights of its citizens. It would do what it could.

But I am here to tell you that solving any or all of these causes of gun violence is impossible. It is not gonna happen. I'm sorry to say. Some measures may be put in that help a little bit, but it is not going to stop these shootings. It just cannot be done.

Why? Why aren't there any solutions that will work? Because every one of these arguments that we are having—every one of the conversations that are coming up—the solutions that they bring forward ignore the heart issue. They ignore what is inside of man. They ignore carnality and human nature. That is because the violence that we're seeing out there is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of what it says Jeremiah 17:9, that the heart is desperately wicked. The other part of it is that it is self-deceiving. We do not want to think that we are—inside—able to do these things. Anyone is able to do these kind of things because of the way the heart is. The heart can twist us up and make us violent if we do not have some very strict controls over what we allow ourselves to do. And in this nation, we have allowed those controls to slip away. It is a character issue. It is an issue that will only be resolved through (or by) morality, and we would hope, godly morality.

As General Douglas Macarthur said after the formal Japanese surrender on September the 2nd, 1945, about the horrors of World War II—I just want to take one little snippet out from his speech, which you have probably heard before, "The problem, basically, is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character." I do not know if you know what "recrudescence" means. It is not one of those words that we use very often, but it simply means, "a recurrence," or actually better, it means, "a breaking out again." Macarthur here was calling for spirituality—true spirituality, hopefully—to break out again, so that there would be an improvement of human character. He saw it way back in the Fall of 1945, that this nation—in fact, the whole world—needed to turn around and have a spiritual recrudescence.

But that is looking less and less likely. There may have been a chance back in 1945, if people had gotten on the ball and done this. Here in 2018, it seems less likely, especially because we have kicked God and godly morality out of our family lives and out of our schools. And now we are paying the price in the lives of our children.