By Lloyd “Sticks” Burt. (Mass Murder is a relatively new phenomenon in American history. Why is it happening? Pictured: Candlelight Vigil at Umpqua Community College after mass murder on campus) On October 7, 2015, an individual entered a Gun-Free building at UCC in Roseburg, Oregon and killing nine people and wounding 13 others. In the last few years we have had a plethora of young males entering areas where large numbers of people congregate and open fire on innocents. In almost every one of those instances the place was chosen because the murderers knew it would be unlikely anyone would be able to defend themselves against the attack. (Gun Free Zone) Then when an opposing gun was finally brought into play, they commit suicide before they could be apprehended or killed by an opposing firearm.
I am defining mass murder as four or more victims within a twenty-four-hour period. So why, all of a sudden, is this happening?
From 1900 to 1910, a period before any federal gun control legislation and when the average farmer had a better rifle than was issued to the U.S. Army (a condition that had existed from the Revolution until WWII) there were zero. 1910-1920 two, 1920-1930 two, 1930-1940 nine…causing the first call for Federal gun control which didn’t ban any weapons but placed heavy taxation on the ownership of certain types. Eight in the 40’s; one in the 50’s, and six in the 60’s. Until 1968 there were no background checks and mail order sales were unregulated. JFK was murdered with a mail-order rifle.
The rash of assassinations in ’68 caused the first round of serious gun control, yet firearms were still readily available and a larger percentage of homes in the U.S. had guns than today.
Something changed in the 70’s. Prior to that mass murder was either based on criminal activity or familicides.(whole families murdered). In the 1970’s mass murder began to be the refuge of the angry. Disassociated people began to commit mass murder to make a statement or create their 15 minutes of fame.
Looking back at these events it is not clear if the people driven to commit these acts are mentally ill or not. One could say that in order to shoot up a classroom full of six-year- olds one must be crazy, but I will leave that to the professionals.
I believe what has happened is a failure of the heart. In 1973 the United States began devaluing life. I am pro-life, but I am not saying abortion is the root of the problem. But I do believe that lack of value for human life is a mindset that is infiltrating our society.
California has just passed a euthanasia law becoming the fifth state to permit it. One only has to look at the television today to see constant graphic violence. What was once relegated to the Saturday afternoon horror matinee or the drive-in theater is now available 24-7 right in our living rooms or worse, unfiltered in our children’s bedrooms without benefit of a parent to discuss the images running across the screen. We give our children video games to play where the graphics are so real that they might as well be in the street. The new virtual reality technology will create active shooter scenarios where every part of our being will be in the action.
I am libertarian and am not calling for censorship or the banning of any media. But I am also a Christian and an adult. Whatever we place in front of our eyes ends up in our heart, soul, psyche, or whatever our beliefs or non-beliefs motivate us, as humans, into action. When a society begins to believe that human death is the answer to economic and social problems, or that “every animal is equal just some are more equal than others” for whatever reason, this is the evil that transpires. It is the evil that has fueled every genocide since time began.
Once upon a time the United States had an unwritten code of conduct. For the most part even the hardest of criminals would protect women and children. A father that wouldn’t take care of his family was publicly shamed. Young hot-headed men took up their differences with fists instead of guns even though guns were readily available. This code must be restored if we want to continue to be free people. Humans without internal regulation cannot be free. If we cannot govern our personal self, a police state is surely to follow.