Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Fault Lies in Ourselves

Q. "Why does anyone need a gun like that?"
A. "Well, why does anyone need a Quentin Tarantino movie?"
~ from "Violence," by Rep. John Campbell (R-CA)

A congressman from California, John Campbell, has written a thoughtful reflection titled "Violence," about the increased gun violence in American society. In reading it, I find he thinks as I do--that guns are not the problem so much as our modern culture. That as William Shakespeare put it, "the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

Campbell notes that although gun control laws were nearly nonexistent sixty years ago, school shootings were unknown. He cites six aspects of our society that have grown harsh and coarse in the last several decades. Among the causes he theorizes are at the root of our nation's current violent tendencies are the decline of the family and religion, Hollywood influences, and the complete lack of personal accountability so prevalent today--especially in our so-called leaders.

Watch today's movies, listen to popular music, read the headlines. There is no denying the soul of America is darker than it once was. We can protest in the streets, pass laws, and try to control circumstances. All these external actions are easy to do, quick fixes that may make us feel better, temporarily.

But laws can't alter a cultural mindset. Positive, enduring change that will enrich and strengthen our society must come from within each individual. That's the hard part. It's nobody's fault but our own that we don't do it.