Gun Control: Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem

With their push for gun control, liberals are demanding that conservatives acquiesce to their solution for a problem they largely created.

But gun control is the wrong solution to the wrong problem.  The actual problem is the growth of mental illness in American society.  So the real question that must be answered before any realistic solution can be proposed is why mental illness is trending so noticeably upward.

One measure that shows this increase in mental illness is the significant rise in the number of suicides, which have been steadily climbing for the last couple decades.  There were over 47,000 U.S. suicides in 2017, and it is only getting worse

The explosion in mental illness is a manifestation of cultural rot.  Liberals gleefully turned America's culture into a death-celebrating cesspool and, in Saul Alinsky-like fashion, indicated that the only solution is the shredding of the Second Amendment, something they have always wanted to do.

Beto O'Rourke one-upped the traditional movie supervillain by not only bragging about the Democrats' secret evil plans, but then putting them on a t-shirt.  But seizing guns will only aggravate the mental illness trend while doing nothing to address it.

A recent clinical psychology study concluded that cultural shifts away from intrinsic goals, "such as community, meaning in life, and affiliation," are leading to an increase in mental illness.  No surprise that people need a sense of meaning in their lives. 

Americans previously grew up with multiple stabilizing forces that helped form their identity and instill that meaning; faith in God, trust in family, and a patriotic belief in the goodness of America.  We recognized the bad elements of our history but still believed that America is a shining city on a hill, as President Ronald Reagan framed it.

Those days have long passed, as all of these institutions have been under relentless assault by the Left.  Finding meaning apart from these institutions is a tough trek.

This problem starts when people are young.  According to a medical study, half of all serious adult psychiatric conditions start as early as 14, and three-quarters have shown up by the age of 25.  Fourteen, incidentally, would be about the time a high school student enters a biology classroom, where he will likely hear from a university-trained teacher that he is a random cosmic accident, no more significant than the bug he stepped on that morning.  That is bound to do wonders for kids' sense of meaning and worth.

Everyone is going to find ways to create some sense of meaning in his life, which largely explains the global warming climate cult.  But, joining a war on straws, no matter how earnest the conviction, is never going to restore the lost sense of purpose from casting off faith and family.

High school and college students are chasing a lie and are shattered when their commitment to the latest liberal lunacy fails to fill them with a sense of meaning.  Mental illness is the natural progression.

The family as an institution has also been under attack.  Almost half (40 percent) of all births in the United States are now out of wedlock compared to ten percent in 1970.  In some communities, it is far worse.  More than 72% of black Americans are born to single mothers.  That translates to whole generations of kids being raised with limited influence from a father, which is a terrible tragedy.

Through much of our history, we looked to the family to instill values, a sense of responsibility, and left and right limits.  But we adopted policies that unintentionally, and in some cases intentionally, damaged the family institution.  This is having a dramatic effect on escalating violence, particularly in areas where the destruction has been the greatest.

When you banish longstanding institutions to the margins of society, something will fill that void.

Building a Culture of Death

When liberals spend years telling people that life isn't sacred, should they really be surprised that more people treat life as not being sacred?  There have been more than 61 million abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973.  Every single Democrat candidate in contention is applying the Pete Buttigieg "breath" standard, meaning they all support abortion up to, and perhaps beyond, birth.  When you make an effort to devalue life in the interest of political expedience, people will be affected in tragic, horrible, and surprising ways.

Mother Teresa once said "the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?"  That's a mighty good question.

Destruction of Identity

We have also attacked our kids' very identity, leaving them confused and rudderless.  When you tell a girl that she is no more a female than the male lining up next to her at the local track meet, you are damaging that child's identity, even if she does not realize it.  When you teach that there are over a hundred genders and that nobody is particularly unique, but merely a construct of his own temporary wishful thinking, it is going to damage mental health as it further poisons culture.  Despite kids being encouraged and celebrated for embracing LGBT identities, their suicide rate is tragically off the chart.

Putting Mass Shootings in Context

To solve escalating violence, we must first address the poisonous cultural forces that are causing the rise in mental illness.  There are a lot of numbers that are trending up because of the rise in mental illness precipitated by cultural rot, such as suicide, drug addiction, and violent crime.  These numbers are trending together because they are all affected by the same cultural forces.

It is also worth noting that the mass shootings, even within this cultural climate, are far less common than most people realize.  The Washington Post ran the names of every victim of a mass shooting in American since 1966 in an attempt to pressure Republicans.  There were about 1,200 names.  They needed a 53-year time period to get that.  While each of those 1,200 names represents a terrible tragedy and many lives turned upside-down, that is a relatively small number — about 23 people killed per year.

For comparison's sake, we average about 40,000 automobile fatalities in the United States a year and are approaching 50,000 suicides annually.  Planned Parenthood, our nation's most efficient killing machine, kills over 330,000 babies in a year.

The bottom line is that if you really want to make progress addressing the issues that are growing out of the mental illness crisis, it is not wise to turn to the same people who created that crisis.  That's like going to Harvey Weinstein for dating advice.

Confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens will solve nothing, and compromising with Democrats on this issue will only make things worse by creating fertile soil for the election of more cultural-arsonist Democrats.

We must work to fix the cultural rot that has caused so much damage to America.  Rebuilding institutions that bring community and meaning and reaffirming the sanctity of life would be a good place to start.

Fletch Daniels blogs at and can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.

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