Why Mass Shootings? The One Common Thread

Why mass-shootings? In the past week, the following have been presented as possible causes:

  1. The easy access to firearms, and failures of gun control to prevent access.
  2. Mental illness
  3. Fatherless young men.
  4. Toxic masculinity
  5. Violent video games

I can see how any one of these could be a contributing factor (especially #3 and 5), but I do not see in any of these a strong thread that runs through each case. In seeking a reason, a cause-and-effect, a common “root cause,” there must be something that is unmistakeably connecting each case of mass-shooting.

That something is the nihilistic culture of abortion and euthanasia. I use the term “culture” in the usual sense: “the customs, ideas, and social behaviour of a particular people or group.” A culture is assumed and normally left uncritiqued. Because of the innate status of culture, it is no a matter of debate that modern European, North American and Australian culture is secular, scientific, and pro-choice. For a vast majority, these things are settled. Abortion and euthanasia are no longer understood as horrific anomalies but as the new normal.

A culture is passed on to each new generation in every sphere of life. No one at any time was enrolled in a course called, “Your Culture,” but receive this cultural indoctrination from birth. For example, since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, every individual knows that their life was allowed only by the arbitrary choice of their mother. When I was born, abortion was illegal (although it happened) but was also unthinkable to most people. No public-school teacher would have kept her job if she suggested that abortion was an option. Abortion was understood as the taking of an innocent human life, full stop.

Since that time, however, every young adult, at least from middle school and older, knows that they could have been aborted (parents tend to keep the reality of abortion away from their young children, belying its shame and guilt). Rather than mother carrying a child to full term, she now carries a fetus, or a POC (product of conception), but most certainly not a human being. Pro-life people commonly call this “the culture of death.” It is a culture because it is as accepted as the air we breathe; it is the ocean in which we swim. This culture has grown beyond the abortion of unwanted children to the termination of imperfect children so that those discovered with birth defects are eliminated. Sex selection abortion is also common in many cultures. The culture of death has also spread to euthanasia, first passive and voluntary, to active and involuntary and back to infanticide. The targets of euthanasia were first the terminally ill, but has quickly s ead to include the disabled, the elderly, the infirm, and those deemed to not a life worth living. It took quite a while to get from abortion to widespread euthanasia, but now that euthanasia is legal in many jurisdictions, it is quickly spreading and its applications, limitless.

The abortion culture needed time from 1973 to early years of this century to incubate enough adults who would advocate and even legislate euthanasia. Just as abortion was unthinkable in the 1950s, euthanasia would have been unthinkable in 1973 because its victims are physically visible and present in a way the unborn child is not. Men like Francis Schaeffer, C. Everett Koop and Charles Colson argued repeatedly that abortion must lead eventually to euthanasia. They may have been inaccurate as to its speed. Euthanasia did not, indeed could not, occur much sooner than it has. Euthanasia required a massive shift in the understanding of the value of life, and it took a generation for that to occur. Abortion provided the cultural foundation for that shift.

Subsequent generations are now immersed not only in the reality of abortion, but in the very possibility that their lives will be shortened through euthanasia at some point in time. At the time of the Columbine shooting euthanasia had not yet been widely accepted, yet the shootings still occurred. I believe that as life is capped by the new-arbitrariness of birth and time of death, the cynicism, the nihilism of the culture of death can only continue to spread.

A common thread in abortion and euthanasia is atheism. Liberal Protestantism aside, it takes an atheist to abort (and liberal Protestantism is founded in atheism). Since, in this view, humans are not created in the image of God, a “fetus” or “invalid” can be treated as any other accident of nature. The abortion/euthanasia culture has permeated society to such an extent that the worldview of modern society is nihilistic, that is, the view that life is meaningless. In a naturalistic/materialistic universe (the official doctrine of the public education system), human life is a meaningless accident, that could have been snuffed out at birth and will quite possibly be ended by someone else’s will when it is deemed unnecessary. The thoroughness of this culture is not only its legality, but its backing by all modern states. With the concern over rising health costs and an aging population living longer than previous generations, euthanasia will become mandatory in many cases.

The same people who will require euthanasia be mandatory have been immersed in the abortion culture. The people who would protect the elderly, infirm, disabled and ill are now all dead.

The common thread that connects each of the shooters in the schools is that of the death: physical life, as we experience it, is a meaningless accident of existence, and there is no life that is not physical. “Spiritual” life is now considered an activity of brain, chemistry, and environment. Many live this physical life, and do not wish to terminate themselves or others because they have discovered some intermediate purpose in life. These are not reflective on the implications of their worldview but exist for the present and have somehow come to terms that nothing in their lives have ultimate meaning.

The shooters are the consistent thinkers, who act out the implications of their worldview, their culture. It is impossible to be surprised that children, who are taught daily that any life that “gets in the way” (the unborn, the weak, the unfit) can therefore be eliminated, will not someday connect the dots and end up committing horrendous crimes. The idea that human life, understood as created in the image of God, has long ago been abandoned. We now have the inevitable consequences.

The problem has taken a couple of generations to surface. It will take much time to heal: It not only requires bans on abortion and euthanasia, but hearts that are changed to the degree that abortion and euthanasia are unthinkable. I do not see this happening, outside of a complete cultural collapse and Christian revival. I cannot offer solutions grounded in the culture that created the problem. I can only show the conditions by which a solution is possible. There will be those who believe they can have both the culture of death and prevent nihilistic mass-shootings. They cannot. Every solution that ignores the culture that creates the problem will only end in more death.

Happily, there are sub-cultures who reject the culture of death: I speak of Christianity. None of the mass-shooters were Christians. There’s a reason for that.

No, Gun Control is not a pro-life issue!

Well, maybe gun control is a pro-life matter if it is admitted that guns are effective tools to protect the weak and vulnerable from criminals. It is a pro-life action to save a life from harm. But this blog post is about something else.

Christians are often scolded for failing to include better gun control (or banning) in their arguments against abortion and euthanasia. As defined, abortion is the taking of a human life which is yet unborn. Euthanasia is the taking of a human life who is deemed too disabled, ill, or old to be allowed to survive. Abortion is always involuntary for the baby; euthanasia may be voluntary but is increasingly being made involuntary by families and authorities. To be pro-life, the Christian argues, is to be against these acts of murder.

As the gun control argument is presented, Christians are inconsistent if they do not likewise seek to limit access to firearms so that mass shooting tragedies could be reduced or avoided completely.

But if the argument is made this way, it ignores the fact that the most vocal opponents of firearm access are also the most likely to be proponents of abortion and euthanasia. The irony is that those who would control firearms through state regulations are the same people who invoke the powers of the same state regulators to pay for abortions and euthanasia, to train doctors to perform them and limits protestors’ freedom of expression to protest against it.

The government that enforces laws against murder does not at the same time train killers and provide their weapons. It does not protect them from the consequences of their acts and rightly condemns them.

Comparing abortion, euthanasia to mass shootings and murder doesn’t acknowledge this significant difference, while at the same time refusing to see the one similarity: all kill the innocent all are murder.

No one should listen to anyone who calls for a surrender of firearms but pushes for the government-sanctioned murder of the most helpless people in society. Such a mindset is so skewed, so schizophrenic, so depraved as to be disqualified from the discussion. It matters little if the pro-choice crowd has the peoples’ support, state authority and finance, church support, popular media praise, or the approval of educational institutions. The fact is if they will kill the helpless they will eventually get around to you.

Mass shootings are rare. Abortion and euthanasia are not. Jesus warned against swallowing a camel but chocking on a gnat. Failure to know the difference is what damned the Pharisees of His day and it can do the same today.

A Problem Without an Obvious Solution

I have no problem admitting that it is too easy for the wrong people to get possessions of firearms. I also have no problem in admitting that it is a dangerous thing for the populace in general to be forbidden to access firearms. As I see it there is a worsening gap between these two statements. I do not see a solution.

There is a strong presence of politicians and voters who would like to ban all firearms, from so-called assault rifles and handguns to shotguns that are primarily used for hunting. These people strategically do not usually speak this way, but rather argue for incremental removal of dangerous weapons. By banning some weapons, criminals will choose those easier to obtain. Then those easier to obtain must be removed from circulation. Eventually, all firearms would be banned, then sharp objects. They seek to disarm all a nation’s population, leaving firearm possession to police, military, and some private security (especially for the elite members of society). The (usually) unstated assumption of this group is that a strong central governing authority must have the security to operate in the best interest of all its citizens, and that such a government, free from the threat of violence from the populace, will always be benevolent and do good to those citizens. This mindset does not believe that mere humans can be trusted with firearms, but believe that rulers of people can be. Human depravity is only a problem of the individual, never the state.

There is also a very strong presence of people who do not trust those who would remove their right (or privilege in Canada) to own firearms. They observe governing powers and see an ever-increasing lust for control over the individual. They see an increase of abuse against citizens by law enforcement (say, no-knock warrants and civil forfeiture). They know that their everyday existence is regulated, taxed, monitored, and controlled. What is not yet under a regulation or tax soon will be. There are laws that dictate proper behaviour, what must not be done and what must be done. Attempts are made openly to dictate speech, religion, thought and conscience. Those who resist such control are worried that so many of their neighbours vote such governments into office and are so willing to surrender their rights to those in power. Like taxes that are never rescinded, regulations are never reduced, only multiplied. The time seems near that an average individual, simply living daily life, will be in violation of a code, bylaw, or statute. This group believes that a state can be depraved, as well as some individuals. Firearms to are protect individuals from both an evil state and an evil intruder.

It should come as no surprise, then, that firearm owners are not eager to give up that one thing that a government fears most: a way to say “no” to tyranny. Rulers have some fear of the populace during elections, but electoral wins can be had by fraud. There is, though, a real fear among leaders; fear of population that will oppose them with armed violence.

But are the benign governments of the West truly tyrannical, do they truly seek to exert undo control and curtail freedoms and human rights? Is this fear of government power unfounded?

What assurance is there that a cadre of leaders, having disarmed its citizens, will not then enslave them? What assurance is there that there is a more noble goal, when government only seeks more control over its people? Are modern governments seeking to increase, or decrease control over their citizens? At what point of control does a government become a dictatorship? How does tyranny occur–is it sudden, or is it incremental, in small steps? Is it not clear that when a government official fines a child’s lemonade stand (for no licence) that there is culture of control? Again, think of how many laws and regulations have been rescinded and how many new ones must be learned and obeyed.

When modern governments seek to increase influence over the most minute details of daily life, shouldn’t someone be a little suspicious when that same authoritarian mentality makes total disarmament its aim? The suspicious ones worry modern governments. And that’s a good thing.

Between these two mindsets I do see a solution, one guaranteed to upset: the occasional mass shooting by deranged individuals is to be preferred to the daily mass shootings by deranged nations.