In the wake of recent mass-murders/shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, a lot of my friends have been debating gun control vs. no (or less) gun control (for obvious reasons). I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but the below captures one of the most important parts of my “gun philosophy”:

A recent study showed that mass shooters in the past decade or so all have one thing in common – not race, not terrorist ties, not mental health issues, none of the usual bugaboos. What the study showed is that all were disenchanted outsiders looking for a cause. In some cases that need was sated by extremist religious beliefs. In others, it was met by the belief that “a statement must be made” (and the fact that the media’s reporting DEFINITELY impacts and foments mass shootings is a whole other ball of goo), and the statement was going to be made via mass murder.

I think that the arguments over gun controls, the extents of the second amendment, etc. are all useless in the end. Because no matter what, more and more people WILL find a way to commit these atrocities. There has never been a law so perfect that it could mandate sanity or even common sense, or that absolutely prevented evil from occurring. Often, indeed, such laws just feed the fires of the ill they seek to prevent (if you don’t believe that, think about whether or not you think at least SOME of the United States’ foreign policy decisions lead to increased anti-American sentiment abroad).

So legislation is not the answer. Sorry.

What we need is to look at ways to increase connectedness and faith. Not “I believe in Jesus” faith, necessarily, but rather faith in larger purposes. A life where the only human interactions are electronic (as was the case with many of the shooters) strips any sense of connectivity to the tribe of humanity, and increases selfishness. If our community encouraged more selflessness instead of self-promotion, service instead of self-satisfaction, then I think we’d see a dramatic drop in mass shootings.

Unfortunately, as long as we continue to steer ourselves toward a place where we look to help ourselves to more more MORE things things THINGS, we are going to lose sight with the non-things (i.e., “people”) in our lives and will thus view those non-things as unimportant and, ultimately, expendable.

It is not religion or hate that guide many of the shootings, I think. It is the absence of humility, the pervasiveness of selfishness, and the lack of belief in things greater than ourselves.