What kind of violence is more acceptable to you?

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Another mass killing at a declared “gun-free” congregation of innocents, and now come the predictable cries for more stringent ?rearms regulations to somehow magically bring mass killings to an end.

A difference this time is that a number of hysterical, adolescent high-school kids are the poster children, hailed and adored by the media and liberal society as the rightful authors of sweeping reform. Hysterical? Yes, of course they are; anyone would expect them to be ... they’ve been exposed to a horri?c trauma. But seldom is good, sound, realistic policy spawned from hysterics.

The young girl we’ve been shown over and over again, screaming for ?rearms bans, stated that if the young man had been armed only with a knife, “he wouldn’t have been able to kill so many people.” Probably very true, but again a hysterical response. I suggest that even if the total body count would be lower, however many people he might have been able to kill or maim with a machete or ax would still be just as dead and maimed, would they not? Wouldn’t their lives count for something?

Over the weekend, on one of the TV shout shows, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper solemnly intoned that amidst all the verbiage and concern, the “elephant in the living room is ?rearms.” No, Mr Clapper, the elephant in the living room is “violence”! It is socially, permissively and culturally cultivated violence that has been growing and increasingly casting a threatening shadow in our background now since the 1960s.

How about recognizing and taking responsibility for decades of liberal, permissive, coddling, entitled society that brought us to this? No one wants to even acknowledge this elephant — to do so would be incredibly uncomfortable for many. Unfortunately, to a greater or lesser extent, we all own a piece of this either through zealous, but misguided action, or complete inaction and avoidance.

There are those who complain, “Do we really need semi-automatic rifles and shotguns for hunting and sport shooting?” Do we really “need” movie after movie, TV show after TV show, video games and other on-line “entertainment” spewing wanton and gratuitous blood, gore, body parts ?ying, buildings blown up, and whatever other violent depiction of taking lives you might be able to dream up?

Does all this seemingly unregulated and uncensored storm of violence really have no effect, as many “experts” will say? A few more decades back, a fellow by the name of Joseph Goebbels pretty effectively demonstrated that if you promote and indoctrinate with even the most cruel, whopping lie long and hard enough, it will eventually become believed and embraced by an entire nation and its people.

So rather than continue the mindless, faulty debates over whether an AR-15 is an assault ri?e (no, it’s not, by definition), and that it by itself is the primary motivation behind mass killings, why not take a deep, hard look at how and why we got to this point?

Maybe, if we dial back the fattening diet of on-going, myriad forms of anti-social behavior being showered upon us as entertainment; maybe do our best to reinstitute the “nuclear family”; sit down across the dinner table or favorite haunt and actually talk to and actually listen to one another face to face; say “no” to our kids when they need to hear it; maybe if we advise people that not everybody deserves or should be handed everything they think they are entitled to have, and it’s not OK to go ballistic if you don’t get it; maybe if when we note signs and indications of troubled behavior, we could expect adequate and appropriate follow-through by local, state and federal authorities; maybe we’d see at least little difference ... but it took many years to get here; it’s not going to turn around overnight.

All these and many more are just little pieces to a huge puzzle; if there’s one magic bean that would completely solve the problem, I’m sorry I just don’t know what it is.

Of course, more restrictions and regulations can be legislated such as magazine limitations, adding a couple years to the legal purchasing age, completely banning a particular type of ?rearm; as they always have, the law-abiding gun owners will comply. And we could expect that the criminals likewise will ... no, of course they won’t. Until we’re ready as a society to appropriately prosecute and punish criminal acts commensurate to their severity or atrocity, and until we’re willing to begin remolding ourselves into a more positive, wholesome, God-fearing image, what incentive is there?

Until we are ready as a people to take an honest, soulful look at what cultural, social and congenital in?uences make an individual wake up one morning and say, “Today I believe it’ll be right and proper to go out and kill a bunch of people” by whatever means you can imagine, we have a ways to go. Anything short of that is really no valid reason to smile, congratulate one another, and say, “By golly, we did something.”

L.D. Gross is a resident of Bigfork.

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