It Really is a Heart Problem


Once again, we’ve had another school shooting and, once again, people are coming out of the woodwork to declare, “This is not a gun problem; it’s a heart problem.” Never mind that the 18-year-old Parkland shooter was able to buy a military-style, semi-automatic rifle after being expelled from school, visited by the police multiple times, and even reported to the FBI. No, this is just another example of a kid who was never forced to attend church, who played too many violent video games, and who never learned proper respect for human life. The lesson here is, we don’t need to make it harder for people like Cruz to buy guns. We just need to do better as a society.

I agree: we do have a heart problem in this country. But it’s not that we fail to attend church or play too many video games. It’s that we, as a nation, love our weapons of death more than the lives of our children.

Disagree? Consider this:

– Folks in the pro-life crowd will refuse to sell women birth control on the off chance that it would cause a fertilized egg to drop into the toilet—but when living, breathing children are gunned down at school, they shrug and suggest we pray more.

– We make laws requiring children to use car seats until they’re 12 on the off chance they might be involved in a serious car accident—but when that same 12-year-old is riddled with bullets in a classroom, we balk at taking any preventative measures.

– We demand that the government keep a database of registered sex offenders with their locations plotted on Google Maps so we can keep kids from being molested—but requiring a similar registration for gun owners to keep kids from being shot is an invasion of privacy.

– We’ll put Sudafed and Tide Pods under lock and key at the store so teens can’t make meth or poison themselves—but telling a sociopath he can’t buy an AR-15 is unfair.

– For our children’s safety, we require everyone who drives to be licensed and insured—but asking the same of gun owners is overreaching.

– We violate the rights of transgender people by dictating which public bathroom they can use so they won’t make our children feel uncomfortable—but asking people to keep guns out of schools so our children feel safe enough to learn is offensive.

– We stand outside of abortion clinics wailing about the sanctity of life, turn entire elections on this one issue, and do everything in our power to eradicate abortion from society—but when teenagers leave schools in body bags, we offer thoughts and prayers.

And we wonder why today’s children lack empathy.

Dr. Ben Carson, a surgeon who ran for president in 2016, famously said, “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

A surgeon said this. A surgeon. He worked on dozens of gunshot victims ripped open and bleeding to death on his operating table, their families wailing with grief in the next room, and he concluded, “This is awful, but not nearly as awful as telling some guy that he can’t own the tool that caused these wounds.”

Such a statement is just as sociopathic as anything that happened in Parkland on February 14.

Our children beg of us to do something; they cry at the thought of returning to school in the aftermath of yet another massacre. But instead of passing sensible gun laws, we spend millions of dollars putting them through active shooter drills during math class. We tell our terrified children to run out the back door, hide in closets, play dead, or wear backpacks as body armor and rush the shooter. We ask their grossly underpaid teachers to shield them from the bullets. We teach our kids to throw books and chairs to buy their friends extra seconds for escape; we tell them in the media that they will be remembered as heroes for their acts of bravery.

That’s what the YouTube generation wants, right? Fame? See, we’re giving it to them.

But God forbid we take the gun out of their murderer’s hands. That might require us to fill out a background check application, or go on a registry, or use a trigger lock, or give up our dreams of stockpiling semi-automatic weapons for the coming apocalypse and that’s…too much to ask.

We drag our kids off to the firing range on a Saturday, because we tell ourselves it’s really a lack of gun knowledge that’s causing these shootings—that if kids knew how to properly load, aim, shoot, clear and reload these weapons, they wouldn’t spray bullets into crowds of people. Then we take them to the latest Bruce Willis or Dwayne Johnson film and laugh while these famous actors do exactly that, and then we converse over dinner about the loaded gun we keep in the closet to scare away thieves and trespassers.

At the end of the day, handguns and semi-automatic weapons are made expressly to intimidate and kill people, and we’re not about to limit that right in any way—even if it forces our children to live in terror. We buy them their own guns as birthday presents, encouraging them to continue the proud and rabid tradition of gun ownership, because it’s our first love as a nation.

Video games are fantasy. The way we value gun ownership over innocent lives is real. Our children see it daily and despair. We tell our children to value human lives over inanimate objects, then we and our leaders do the opposite.

We keep asking where the sociopaths are coming from. Perhaps we should look in the mirror.

9 responses to “It Really is a Heart Problem

  1. Sorry but your premise and your examples are just…left. Killing the unborn and leaving little girls to fend for themselves in a bathroom with a male in it is child abuse.

  2. Wow–this was great. So many are proposing to change the word “gun” to “fetus” and suddenly the congress will get into action super fast. Yes, I think it’s despicable that once the kids are out of the womb, nobody gives a crap. That’s just wrong.

  3. One of my favorite authors, M. Scoot Peck, told a story in I think it was, “The People of the Lie” about a young troubled man who killed himself and his parents gave his younger brother, after cleaning it well, thatexact selfsame gun for Christmas.
    The underlying message, I mean you wouldn’t want to waste that $150-200.00 money, would you, Peck was horrified to think was use this as your brother did when you reach the correct age.
    I think we have slipped over a dangerous cliff, where the self righteous are so full of the pride of being self proclaimed good, forgetting that we all miss the mark, and our children are being taken in random acts of violence because nothing can save you from the pain of that, good, bad or indifferent, and the mega church pastors can’t help, falling back on platitudes doesn’t help, nothing stops the pain of your child dying before you. I think of my (all) our charming grandchildren, the two year old singing me “Happy Birthday” with her lisp, the five year old with her deep abiding love for me, and I shudder at the new “duck and cover” the hiding in a closet from an insane gunman.
    We must stop the sale of multi shot guns and rifles, the nuts who somehow think they can fight the government with military weapons, when as in that movie, one well placed drone strike will take out your house, while avoiding killing the girl selling bread.
    I think the ammosexuals need their heads looked at. I have had a deliver used against me, riffles pointed at me and been asleep when the shot broke the window and woke me up from sleep going off by my cheek giving me PTSD for 50+ years. They are evil—what else can I say!
    Thumbprint lock guns and rifles—made like the ones available around 1776!!
    Good enough to get you a rabbit or a deer!

  4. Pingback: Our Hearts Have Waxed Paradoxically Sick | Flee from Christian Fundamentalism

  5. Hi April. I hope you are doing well. I very much liked this post on your blog. I recommended it to the readers on my blog and left a link to it on your blog. I was just as upset as everyone else about the carnage in Florida and all of the past schools where this has happened. I felt compelled to put up my own long-winded post about all of this firearms craziness. If you would like to read it, you may do so at the link below. It is based on my experience here in East Tennessee where certain people seem to be just as nuts as the shooter in Parkland—only they are old enough to know better. Here is the safe link:

    Pray for world peace? Sure—let it begin with our kids and schools.