God bless those people who perished in the mass shootings this past weekend and God bless and comfort their families and friends. Bless the injured that they may heal quickly. The shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, were terrible acts committed by two individuals with free will. The two young men who pulled the triggers were responsible for the heinous acts. You can try to place blame here and there, but in the end, they were responsible.
In the case of the El Paso shooting, this man was a racist and he was very likely supported and fed in his views using the internet and social media to hate foreigners from south of the border. He thought that what was happening was a conscious invasion of people from another country. Before the internet and social media there was not as much support to be found for deviant points of view. There were deviant points of view, yes, but you can find fresh new thoughts and ideas supporting any ideology (extreme or not) literally every second of the day now.
If you want mass shootings to end, taking guns away from people is not going to help. Legislating access to guns is not going to help. Legislating or controlling the internet is not going to help, either. The only thing that will help is the message that we are our neighbor’s keeper. People are beings with souls, hearts, loves, dreams, and families. Not unhuman entities that it is okay to kill, to slaughter as if you’re walking through a video game and trying to increase your kill count as these mass shooters tend to do.
There needs to be more love taught and shown to young people. The way that these murderers view other human beings needs to change—needs to stop. That people can get to the point where they can see another human being as just a target for their gun to kill and not a living breathing member of a family of loved ones is the thing that we must fix.
How do you do that? More love needs to be taught from early on. The sea of media that we live in today needs to change from hate to love, needs to change from devaluing human life to valuing human life. The value of human life needs to be taught. Video games that allow the user to participate in killing people do not teach the value of human life, they devalue human life, turning what looks like a human onscreen into an animal, or less. I know people tend to blame video games and movies after mass shootings, but it is because there is truth there, there is devaluation of human life in these popular media. Pilots, doctors, fork-lift operators, ship captains, astronauts and many others are trained with video games (simulators). They are trained with them because they are an effective learning tool. They're like real-life. Aren’t killers trained to some extent too? People with a moral foundation and a strong psychological make-up are not trained as killers by video games because they know right from wrong, because they recognize the sanctity of life, because they have a moral foundation. I don't know if either of these killers played violent video games, but it is more the norm than not in today's world.
Killing is glorified in movies as well. Look at a hundred movie posters or DVD cases. How many of those that you see have a guy or a gal holding a gun “on the cover”. Many, if not most of them. I’m not suggesting we legislate video games or movies, just as we should not over-legislate guns. America is about freedom after all.
The one commandment delivered by Jesus says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. And he meant everyone, not just your proximate neighbor. All people on Earth are your neighbors. If people just followed that one commandment it would be impossible for mass killings to continue; people would value other people’s lives. This can be taught in schools. It doesn’t even need to be religious, but love does need to be taught, it needs to be displayed.
A mind is not right that wants to do this to his fellow human beings. It’s not the gun, or the knife, or the bomb, or the car doing the killing. It is the brain of an unhinged (or indoctrinated) individual with free will. But perhaps in an environment where there is more valuation to life, where there is more love, even unhinged people will think twice about taking such actions.
But after we discuss all the things which may influence a person, the responsibility for murder lies in the murderer’s hands and heart. Justice will and should come down on him here and in the hereafter. If the person is deemed crazy or mentally unstable that person needs to be detained for the rest of their life to keep the population safe. President Trump said that the trigger was pulled by mental illness and hate. Well if it was mental illness then I do not agree that the death penalty should be pursued.
There will always be unhinged people but perhaps if the social climate is one of love (less toxic) and one where human life is valued (and our opponents not dehumanized) these things won't happen so often.