Let us Condemn this Tragedy Because it is Wrong

In the wake of the massacre in Connecticut we must pray. We must pray for the souls of those killed, for the healing of those shot, for all of those families and friends affected. We must also pray for the soul of the shooter so that he may be spared the eternal damnation that his actions deserve. However, we also must act. Like the agonizing pain that torments our bodies when something is gravely wrong, the pain we feel in response to this tragedy is a warning sign of something terribly wrong with our society.

If this post sounds familiar it is because this kind of evil tragedy has become all too familiar within our society and I have written the same before.

Unfortunately, while this shooting is unprecedented in America, it is only unprecedented in scale but not in kind. We already know what happens next: our loss will be politicized.   Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, they will go through the now all too familiar motions. This happened because guns are too accessible. This happened because guns aren’t accessible enough and regular citizens can’t defend themselves. Gun rights is an important issue, but in the case of shootings like this it is also an irrelevant one. This is not an issue of accessibility; this is an issue of morality.

Average people like the Connecticut shooter, described as “quiet” and “bright” and with no arrest record, commit mass homicide, seemingly on a whim, because we live in a morally dead society that can’t even label an act “right” or “wrong” anymore. This tragedy will be labeled insane; that is, it will be accused of mental deficiency. It will be called vulgar or disgusting; that is, it will be accused of a lack of manners. Finally, it will be condemned as loathsome and revolting; that is, it will be accused of a deficiency or destruction of aesthetic beauty. The shooter may have certainly have had a mental breakdown, the act was certainly disgusting and the scene, I’m sure, revolting but what makes this incidence evil is the simple fact that it was wrong.

A hundred years ago the great English journalist, G.K. Chesterton, said the following, “If the modern world will not insist on having some sharp and definite moral law, capable of resisting the counter-attractions of art and humor, the modern world will simply be given over as a spoil to anybody who can manage to do a nasty thing in a nice way. Every murderer who can murder entertainingly will be allowed to murder. Every burglar who burgles in really humorous attitudes will burgle as much as he likes.” Perhaps humanity has grown since then, maybe we’ve evolved – but I don’t think so. In fact, I believe that the future that Chesterton warned about is now.

Kill a human being with a scalpel and it is your right; kill a human being with a knife and you’re a murderer. Shoot innocent bystanders with missiles from a drone and you are defending democracy; shoot innocent bystanders with missiles from a gun and you are a monster. Deprive your dying uncle of food and water in the hospital and you are merciful; smother him with his pillow and you are a villain. Our society picks and chooses which of these acts to condemn and which it will embrace – all based on the most trivial superficialities – but they all possess one common characteristic: they are all intrinsically wrong.

Society, however, seems to have regressed into such an infantile state that it cannot even label an act evil anymore, simply on the basis that it is wrong. The younger generations of America have been brought up under the sentiment condemned by C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man, that when “we appear to be saying something very important about something . . . we are only saying something about our own feelings.” Right and wrong is only a matter of sentiment and when we make a value statement we are only valuing our own, subjective feelings. The modern educators seek to abolish these sentiments because America is “too diverse” to adhere to any one moral code. Instead, our society has tasked itself with the impossible burden of adhering to all creeds at all times – which is to say that we adhere to no creed ever. C.S. Lewis’ response? “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defence against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For famished nature will be avenged and a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head.”

The shooter in Connecticut was a crude and violent person but only by the enabling hands of a crude and violent people did he become so. We have ripped out our children’s hearts through years of conditioning; We have bred a nation of men without chests. Thus, it becomes our task to restore America’s heart. As the rebounding gun control debate rages in politics let us foster soft hearts and hard heads in schools. Let us act: that is, let us act with morals. Let us call an evil thing wrong because it is wrong and a good thing right because it is right. Let us teach our children to do the same.

May the victims of the Connecticut shooting,

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47; Mary Sherlach, 56; Lauren Rousseau, 30; Victoria Soto, 27; Emilie Parker, 6; Rachel Davino, 29; Anne Marie Murphy, 25; Charlotte Bacon, 6; Daniel Barden, 7; Olivia Rose Engel, 6; Josephine Gay, 7; Ana Marquez-Greene, 6; Dylan Hockley, 6; Madeleine Hsu, 6; Catherine Hubbard, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Jesse Lewis, 6; James Mattioli, 6; Grace McDonnell, 7; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Jack Pinto, 6; Noah Pozner, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Jessica Rekos, 6; Avielle Richman, 6; Benjamin Wheeler, 6; Allison Wyatt, 6.

Rest in Peace.


Gun-Owners: Almost as Dangerous as Doctors (But not Really)


All gun-related fatalities in the United States total less than 32,000. Over 60% of those are suicides which don’t really fit as well into the “guns are dangerous” narrative as homicides and accidents do. Either way, whether your number is 32,000 or 19,000 its still both proportionately and absolutely far smaller than accidental deaths per physician.

It makes me wonder, is the anti-gun movement about preserving human life or is it about assigning blame? Guns must be controlled because they are “designed to kill people.” In contrast, medical errors are accidents. But does this make them less deserving of our attention? Do you think it matters to the person who was killed whether or not it was an accident?

The fact remains that medical errors take a far more catastrophic toll on humanity than gun-violence does. So why do guns get so much more attention?

Are Guns Risky?

In response to Bob Costas’ “anti-gun speech” on Sunday Night Football a friend of mine stated that “there is way too much gun violence in this country.” I’m inclined to agree. However, will there ever be a point when we don’t have too much gun violence?

When it comes to public policy, to determining what should be done to address the problem of gun violence,  how do we determine what an acceptable amount is and when public intervention is no longer necessary? Is our goal to reduce the number to 0 which, if even possible, would require invasive national intervention on a massive scale or would we be content with reducing the number of gun deaths from 31,672/yr to 21,672?

What about the fact that 19,392 or 61% of gun deaths are suicides? Would more gun control really stop people intent on killing themselves or will they find another means? Or, are we only interested in reducing the gun-related violence even if it leads to an increase in alternative methods? What about drugs? Both gun-related suicides and homicides are often linked to drugs and economist Milton Friedman argues that ending our war on drugs could eliminate 10,000 homicides a year, to say nothing of what could be done to reduce suicides by drug abuse prevention and treatment.

To put the numbers into perspective, while 31,672 deaths in 2010 in the United States are gun-related, preventable medical errors kill as many as 195,000 people per year in the United States. If our objective is to reduce loss of human life then it seems that our time and resources would be better spent reducing medical errors than controlling guns (or on suicide prevention since suicides are responsible for as many as four times as many deaths as homicides in the US).

I think that bigger issues like medical errors are ignored, however, because guns are dramatic. Its a better news story, it evokes more emotion, guns are noticeable. However, perhaps we should really think about endorsing a public policy driven by evidence rather than emotions.

So, are guns risky? Of course, but then what doesn’t involve some level of risk? Preventable fatalities caused by medical errors, suicides and accidents have all proven to be more dangerous than guns. Looking at the statistics it seems that you’d be better off around a gun than in a hospital.

Do I believe that gun-violence should be ignored? Of course not. However, our attention to gun-violence seems to risk being out of proportion when compared to significantly greater killers like medical errors which receive little public attention.

Dear Republican Establishment

This is the face of conservatism:


And this is the face of a conservative:


Rand Paul is promoting a bill to “end abortion on demand once and for all.” It will probably fail but at least this man is doing something. Meanwhile, old-guard Republican leaders like John McCain look at our nearly 40 year history of abortion on-demand which has killed over 53 million pre-born children and says, “meh.” The Republican Party increasingly views abortion as an unnecessary and, frankly, damaging issue to their platform. Thus, for years, they’ve taken the tactical response of down-playing the issue, repeating “I’m pro-life” to their base and then turning around and whispering to independents “sometimes” or hinting that, hey, while I gotta say that I’m pro-life, I would never actually try anything to ban or restrict abortion if elected. Or they just avoid the issue completely. Really inspiring.

Now, establishment leaders are contemplating dropping the issue altogether.

So, who’s really conservative here? The quixotic Republican who wants to defend the defenseless? Or the Republican political elite who want a “bigger tent”?

2012 Election Post-Analysis: What Are We to Do?

The 2012 presidential election is over and Republican candidate Mitt Romney lost. That means that it is now time for conservatives to reevaluate the Republican platform. Conjecture and plans for reform abound among the establishment GOP about why the GOP lost and what to do about it. Republican leaders at the very top believe that Republicans must accept Obamacare as the law of the land and drop social issues like abortion, adopting Democrat positions on these issues. All we need to do to win,  suggests McCain and other establishment Republicans, is to make ourselves more like the winners.

But isn’t that precisely what Romney did? Didn’t he abandon social issues when he stated his opinion on abortion but then left the issues alone, stating that he was against it (sometimes) but that he would not pursue any legislation whatsoever? What about when he compromised on same sex “marriage” and supported civil unions? He was silent on Obamacare’s HHS mandate and its violations of religious freedom much like Boehner is now, instead opting to focus on “the economy” and “national security” as McCain suggests.

Romney seemed to have foregone principle for political expediency, abandoning core conservative values in an attempt to establish a “bigger tent” as McCain put it, and now the party leaders want to double down on this proven failure as their path to victory.

But making the Stupid Party more like the Evil Party will not guarantee victory and it definitely won’t guarantee any positive change should such neoconservatives actually succeed. What it does guarantee is a party that is both stupid and evil.

For true conservatism based on Christian moral principles we must look outside the party establishment. For anyone looking for an election post-analysis and who might be wondering where the Republican party should go from here, Front Porch Republic columnist Jeff Taylor takes a long hard look at the GOP and gives it some tough love in his excellent analysis, What’s Wrong with the Republican Party?

The conclusion to be drawn from Jeff Taylor’s analysis and my own should be plain: unless the Republican party reverses the precedents set by Romney, McCain and other recent establishment Republicans then Christians will have little choice but to throw their support behind third-party candidates as their only viable option in defending and promoting Christian moral principles. Contrary to establishing a “bigger tent” we must make it clear to the GOP that by abandoning some of today’s most critical issues like abortion that pro-lifers will be forced to abandon it.

The Republican Party Continues to Self-Destruct . . .

. . . as its party leaders  “drop social issues important to conservatives” – in this particular case, abortion. Its necessary, according to John McCain, to stand down on peripheral issues like our government’s endorsement of the murders of over 50 million pre-born children so that the Republican Party can win and effect change where it is really needed: in the economy and national security. Unfortunately, not only are these issues of lesser importance, but Republicans have shown themselves to be increasingly bad on both over the years. Far from promoting a free market and protecting everyone’s rights equally, the Republican Party has chosen instead to embrace a corporatist agenda with bailouts for big business, tax-cuts for the rich (I think any federal tax cut is a good thing but, really, there are bigger economic issues than protecting those who are already the most equipped to protect and take care of themselves) and by expanding Medicare. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has even pledged to stand down and cooperate with Obamacare as the law of the land. On national security, Republicans have been even worse, systematically stripping American citizens of their rights, most notably with their support of the Patriot Act and then again with the NDAA. Furthermore, the GOP has embraced a foreign policy that violates Just War Doctrine and has oppressed millions around the world, Romney endorsed President Obama’s drone strike program and executive kill list, and the GOP has been obstinate in increasing our military spending despite our already bloated military budget and insane debt – all in the name of “security”.

The result of these changes in the Republican party over the decades is that the line between Republican and Democrat has blurred making any possible distinction largely irrelevant. Let me repeat that, by abandoning pro-life and pro-family values and by embracing economic central planning and using war as a tool to spread Americanist ideology around the world the Republican party has rendered itself irrelevant. When John McCain states that the GOP needs a “bigger tent” the underlying mantra seems to be, “we’re all Democrats now.” This message is made even clearer by the fact that, while Republican leaders like McCain talk about establishing a “bigger tent”, the GOP has worked very hard to shut out some of the most staunchly conservative people in this country.

Don’t get me wrong though, if you are pro-life McCain and others like him still want your vote. In fact, they’ll tell you that you absolutely must vote for them if you care at all about protecting innocent children and if you don’t vote for them then your actions actually support abortion. Meanwhile, don’t expect McCain to actually do anything to help defenseless infants other than “state my position on abortion, but other than that, leave the issue alone.”

Contrary to rising to the challenge of a second Obama term the GOP has thrown in the towel and taken the lukewarm stance of “we need to be more like that guy – but just a little! We don’t want to abandon our party principles.” But is stating your personal opinion and then willfully cooperating in practice with an administration that diametrically opposes those beliefs really going to inspire anyone to vote Republican? Perhaps worse, even if this limp-handed and, frankly, duplicitous approach gets the GOP results can we actually expect any kind of real positive change from those who are so eager to give up on principle for the sake of political expediency? Can the GOP save us, even if they do, by some miracle, win next time ’round? Or can we expect abortion to remain the law of the land for another 40 years, perhaps with obamacare and maybe even “gay marriage” added to the list?

Object to Birth Control? Congratulations, You’re Guilty of Violating Human Rights, Says UN.

UN report: Religious objections to contraception and abortifacients violate human rights.

So in other words, according to the UN, the basic human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech violate basic human rights – and by “human rights” they mean ingesting particular chemical compounds. Making sure everyone is on a pill is more important than protecting their rights to say and believe what they want.

This development should disturb everyone, including supporters of birth control because what this means is that the UN is willing to protect your rights only insofar as you agree with them and that represents the beginning of the abolition of all rights. If you’re rights are only granted protection under selective conditions then they cease to be “rights” in the eyes of the State and become mere privileges granted to some and withheld from others.

What really scares me is that the UNFPA’s 2012 annual report, which declared birth control a “human right,” states that UN general comments are “the authoritative interpretation of the standards” that “help translate the right to family planning at the abstract…level into policies and programs.”

When human institutions like the UN declare themselves the ultimate moral authority on what constitutes a right and what actions or even thoughts violate those defined rights then all genuine rule of law has broken down and all that remains is an advantage of the stronger: whoever is in charge makes the rules. Anyone who objects is guilty of crimes against humanity.

It is the role of the state, not to continually redefine our rights in some attempt to “evolve” our understanding, but to recognize human nature as an unchanging thing, to view our rights as “self-evident” and to protect our rights universally. Contrary to viewing objections to contraceptives and abortifacients as a “violation of human rights” it must be recognized, regardless of personal disagreement, as the free exercise of our rights, and therefore these objections must be acknowledged and dutifully protected under the law.