A time of national tragedy is a time to come together as Americans, a time to heal, a time to put aside partisan differences and seek common ground. For instance, it is a time to remember that no man is an island, that we are all connected by bonds of community and love, and that one madman’s meticulously planned killing rampage may well have its roots in the Supreme Court’s decisions in Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), and for good measure maybe Roe v. Wade (1973). Echoing the “thoughts” of weasel-faced hate spigot Louis Gohmert, another prominent member of the Party of Personal Responsibility, Mike Huckabee, has come forward to explain that while James Holmes (whom Huckabee would not name, on the Voldemort Principle) had his finger on the trigger, he was urged on by millions of aborted fetuses and by the judicially mandated stifling of schoolchildren’s prayers.
Ultimately,” Huckabee concluded, “We don’t have a crime problem or a gun problem – or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we ordered God out of our schools and communities, the military and public conversations, you know, we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.”
In a similar vein, Fred Jackson, leader of the American Family Association, explained other aspects of the massive group effort that made the lone gunman’s slaughter possible:
I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.
Huckabee and Jackson appear to yearn for the halcyon days prior to the banishment of God from the classroom, when children prayed in school, most Americans went to Judeo-Christian churches and Judeo-Christian Synagogues, and there were almost no mass killings, but tens of thousands of people died from polio (The Almighty seems to like ironic coincidences: the oral polio vaccine was licensed in 1962, the same year as Engel v. Vitale “banned God from the classroom”).
In other news from the evangelical world, The Rev. Jerry Newcombe, of Truth in Action Ministries, made it absolutely clear that, even if many other sinners were responsible for the moral decline that made the Aurora shootings possible, victims of the massacre who ended up in hell have only themselves to blame:
If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.
Newcombe did not specify whether he actually meant Hell, or possibly the GOP National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Also, just so someone, somewhere, can feel justified in whining “but both sides do it!” here is a really badly written collection of cut-and-pasted theologibabble by an atheist that attempts to argue that “James Holmes’ rampage is the result of the teachings of Christianity.” Where most of the fundamentalists take the cartoonish position that fear of divine wrath is the only thing keeping people from going on murder sprees, this blogger takes the cartoonish position that if Christians believe Jesus takes away their sins, that encourages them to go on murder sprees for which Jesus will forgive them. So there you have it — full equivalence, insofar as some idiot on a blog is equivalent to the idiot head of a huge tax-exempt organization that influences national politics.
But enough about the relationship (none) between Americans’ religious habits and the actions of a guy who bought thousands of rounds of ammunition online — what about the easy availabilty of large amounts of increasingly lethal technology? One might think that is at least materially related to the Aurora shootings. But one would be very, very wrong in thinking that, according to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who recognizes that freedom’s just another word for nothing left to shoot:
People will talk about unusually lethal weapons, that could be potentially a discussion you could have. But the fact of the matter is there are 30-round magazines that are just common. You simply can’t keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals who want to do harm. And when you try to do it, you restrict our freedoms.
Any restrictions on magazine sizes (for instance, the Clinton-era assault weapon ban that expired in 2004) would just make matters worse, because criminals would no longer fear responsible citizens packing a 100-round clip, adding that “If a responsible individual had been carrying a weapon, maybe, maybe they could have prevented some of those deaths, some of those injuries.” As Fox News would put it, there are those who say that additional guns would only add to the chaos and bloodshed in such a scenario, but maybe it’s worth some empirical testing. If anyone can identify any locations where death and suffering is reduced by well-armed citizens putting up resistance to armed aggressors, please forward that information to the Wonkette offices in Kabul, Baghdad, Belfast, Sarajevo, or Mogadishu.