Opinion: Letter to the Editor: It’s the Culture, Not the Weapon

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: It’s the Culture, Not the Weapon

I sincerely appreciate the groundswell of youth and others in the country saying “never again” to the violence that we’ve repeatedly seen in our schools, our churches and our neighborhoods. But I fear the proposed “fix” of banning some or all guns is missing the underlying cause of the problem. Our problem in America is a culture of death.

It’s a culture where we provide our children with “games” that seek to immerse them in full virtual reality as they kill and maim, rape and ravage. In America we call that entertainment.

It’s a culture where we go to movies that encourage us to cheer or laugh as the “bad guy” gets shot in the head. We call that entertainment too. That guy deserved to die. Our movies, our games, our culture teaches us that some people simply deserve to die. So why are we surprised when our kids decide that some classmates, neighbors, parents or others deserve to die? Particularly kids who may be especially vulnerable to those messages because of mental illness.

If we really mean "never again," we need to change our culture and start teaching our kids the every human life is precious. We need to teach them that even the child that results from an unplanned pregnancy or a child with Down syndrome is precious. We need to teach them that an aging parent with dementia is precious and needs to be visited and cared for, not warehoused, forgotten or helped to an early death. We need to teach them that even a prisoner who commits a heinous crime may be able to change, that we have no right to decide who can be rehabilitated and who should be put to death because they’re not just worth the effort.

When we start to value every human life, then things will change. Until then, we can ban AK-47s, and someone will pick up a different rifle. We can ban every gun, and someone will drive their car into a crowd or build a pipe bomb, or use a machete. It’s not the weapons people choose, it’s the culture we need to change.

Randy Robish