The shooting in Aurora that led to 12 deaths and 58 serious injuries was a terrible tragedy. Reading several articles in news outlets over the past day or so shows that many believe that America needs to tighten gun control laws. Some have suggested that high capacity magazines need to be banned. Others have favored a ban on AR-15 weapons, the civilian model of the M-16 used by the military. Still others have suggested an outright gun ban in the United States. None other than the government of Mexico is urging the US to take up the issue of gun control. That's rich.
Maybe it is time to consider some of these measures. I reckon that if a relative or friend of mine had been killed in the shooting, I would be more inclined to take gun control more seriously. But has anyone considered the possibility that guns may not be the problem?
I had not seen a Batman movie since 1989 before last week. Mr. Mom was the last person I'd seen don Batman's costume until I saw Batman Begins and The Dark Knight just a few days ago. They were good movies overall, but they were pretty violent. I mean, when the Joker jams a pencil into someone's eye socket to kill a man, I'd say that's pretty violent. When a guy's face is burned off and he subsequently puts a gun to little boy's head during a particular sequence, I think that's pretty violent, too. Dark Knight is one of the most violent movies I've ever seen.
And yet, Dark Knight was enormously popular. Its total domestic gross was $533,345,358 and overseas the movie raked in $468,576,467. Heath Ledger won an Academy Award posthumously for Best Supporting Actor. Overall, the movie was nominated for 8 Academy Awards. People loved it, but the violence it depicted was perverse and twisted. It is certainly ironic that people love to watch grotesque violence in graphic detail, but become so surprised and horrified when it happens in real life.
In America, we want the freedom to watch people murdered by having pencils jammed into their eyes, but we are not willing to endure the consequences of having such base desires. Sorry folks, but you can't have one without the other. A bloodthirsty culture begets a bloodletting culture.
Our government isn't going to do anything to change things, that's for sure. All the government can do is legislate. That's it. More legislation will not change hearts. It just limits freedom.
If we Americans want more laws on the books limiting our freedoms, that's for Americans to decide. But if we think that more laws and less freedom are going to fix the problem of violence in our culture, we really are an ignorant and simplistic nation.
One of the most naive and silly things politicians say as they justify their obsession with making new laws is, "so this never happens again." Right. It would be funny if it weren't so sad.
The only thing that will change hearts is the gospel of Jesus Christ. More laws, more regulations, more government oversight--they will do what they do, but our culture will continue to be bloodthirsty and we will continue to mourn for people gunned down without mercy. Take away all the guns from everyone in the nation, and we will still experience gun violence, maybe on a larger scale, because people's hearts are not changed by more laws.
What's the solution, then? Christ is. The Church of Jesus Christ has an opportunity here. Hopefully, it will not abrogate its responsibility to be salt and light in the culture. Hopefully, it will not allow this opportunity to speak truth, love, and life into the culture to pass. I fear, however, that Christians are too busy heading to the theaters to satisfy their lust for imaginary blood, just like everyone else.