Now that domestic terrorism is becoming a regular weekly event I wonder, should we permanently start flying our flags at half mast? Of course, my deepest prayers and sympathies go out to the victims and families of the irrational and savage violence being perpetrated in places like El Paso and Dayton. But in official responses from the leadership class I keep hearing the same worn and tired narratives, i.e. We need to address “access to guns,” “ammunition magazines,” “video violence,” the current “mental health crisis,” etc., as if taking guns off a shelf will magically turn psychotic killers into model citizens. But if not guns, such deranged domestic terrorists will surely resort to homemade bombs, axes or knives, bottles of acid, even large vehicles to commit their reckless mayhem.
Unfortunately, the one thing that politicians, journalists, and countless activists on both sides of the divide seem strangely reluctant to bring up, much less actually admit to, is that fundamentally what our society is now dealing with is not a “mental health crisis” but a moral health crisis. Morality is, after all, the internal self-regulating mechanism that should prevent individuals from crossing certain lines. Sure, there will always be some degree of criminal activity and the requisite need for police and courts, but that sort of criminal activity is generally directed towards personal gain of some sort. The mindless, indiscriminate violence we are witnessing today bespeaks a newer kind of narcissism, expressed as rage against the world in general. “If I’m not happy then somebody else needs to suffer, even innocent three year old children if needs be.”
This sort of criminal mindset, unprecedented in the West anyway, points to a complete deadening of conscience and the absence of any moral compass among large numbers of people. Perhaps this is a direct consequence of now having raised a generation or two in such a permissive atmosphere of moral relativism, where each person is told they must decide on their own scale of moral values. As Justice Anthony Kennedy so infamously wrote (and I paraphrase), “At the heart of liberty is the right of individuals to construct their own vision of reality.”
Consider now that the last two generations have grown up in a society where any mother may legally kill her offspring in the womb for the sake of convenience. Do we really suppose that this standard has not sent a clear and open signal to these young people? It implies that murder can be justified, not based upon some common good as in the case of a war, but simply because it suits one person’s interest. After all, a third or more of their generation never saw the light of day, and if there are no absolute standards regarding life, then logically everyone gets to decide for himself what constitutes good and evil ~ even a serial killer. Moral Relativism.
We have been sliding down this particular slippery slope since the 1960s at least and now we are witnessing the carnage that such an ethos invariably produces. But no politician in his or her right mind is willing to connect those dots between abortion, euthanasia, and random mass killings. He or she would immediately be pounced upon and accused of “exploiting” a tragedy. Of course our hallowed media would never exploit these same tragedies by divulging names, extensive biographies, and generating non-stop publicity for those mass murderers which, in effect, only encourages and justifies the next “copycat killer.” (Sensation always trumps decency when a salacious story is out there waiting to be plucked.)
Politicians are equally disingenuous by using such sad occasions to grandstand on their own moral indignation and superiority. “Oh goody, one more chance to lobby for gun control or blame my opponents for enabling a “culture of hate.” But of course I will stand firmly behind any woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.” Killing is killing, regardless of whether it’s done surgically or with an AK-47, but this inconvenient fact is buried under a mountain of rhetorical sound bites. These include, “reproductive choice” or “my body, my choice,” ignoring the patent reality that there is another body involved which is decidedly distinct from “my body.”
This ugly double standard is now bearing its poisonous fruit in this society which still refuses to make the connection ~ a conscious exercise in willful blindness as I see it. It’s time we wake up to reality in this democracy or we soon won’t have a democracy in which to wake up. A free society can only remain free by practicing moral self restraint. Laws that do not protect the defenseless will not protect us from ourselves. Only by rebuilding a truly moral culture where community standards, and not individual standards, prevail will this nation survive as a bulwark of freedom.
Our ultimate prosperity is not based on technological innovation or on how much money we can print but on how well we conform our lives to the laws of God. Our founding fathers understood this principle quite well but we seem to have forgotten it entirely. The killing of unborn children and old people is no sure foundation on which to build the future. The truth is that there is a straight line connection between the present culture of abortion and the culture of random terrorism in our streets, because both are a part of the same “culture of death.” Until we have the courage to admit that the problem lies there and not in the size of a gun magazine no amount of legislating, blaming, or hand-wringing will make one iota of difference. And absent any spirit of true repentance combined with a nationwide change of heart, the terrible carnage we have already witnessed will continue.
Francis J. Pierson +a.m.d.g.