From this morning’s local rag:


People kill people. Transform hearts to prevent gun violence

The cycle is predictable. There is a tragic shooting. Guns take center stage once again. Aficionados on both sides emerge, one calling for more gun control, the other to push back against such laws. In the wake of the tragedy, minor changes are made to a variety of gun laws, buildings are made safer, and safety procedures are implemented and practiced. It is tragic beyond belief. And so the cycle goes – that is, until the next shooting.

While we tangentially address the mental or spiritual health of the shooter, we rarely deeply delve into this singular truth – people kill people. I have never known a gun, a knife, a bomb or any othproaches er means of death to act apart from human agency. The reason we avoid the issue of human agency is because it may prompt us to take a deeper look into the human condition, into our own souls.

People kill people. This statement is not an attempt to avoid sensible laws or to hinder sensible safety procedures. I’m all for them. It is to say that when we say that people kill people it requires us to acknowledge that inanimate objects do not kill people; people kill people. Further, it may force us to admit the notion that people are sometimes good, but inherently flawed.

It may even force us to resurrect and deal with such notions as the Judeo-Christian understandings of original sin, noting that humans are sinners by nature, choice and behavior, and are in need of transformation. Call it what you will (sin, mental health issues, psychosomatic issues); there is, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn hinted at in his June 8, 1978, Harvard Commencement speech, “A World Split Apart,” and explicitly noted in “The Gulag Archipelago,” “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, not between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.”

What does this mean? It means that while sensible safety laws of all kinds are important, addressing the essentials of the human condition – our souls – is necessary. What I’m speaking of is not more economic opportunity or even more educational endeavors. What I’m speaking of are those cultural institutions that shape and point the human heart toward that which is good, not bad, so that angry violence is not an option.

Sadly, while violence is on the rise, the very entities that could help us – a well rounded education that teaches people how to think rather than indoctrinate them in the shallow disciplines of deconstructionism, religious institutions that focus on spiritual transformation, and familial bonds of love that teach the highest of all forms of government (that is, self-government) – are all on the decline or are mocked as insufficient means of change.

Unless we address the spiritual condition of the souls of men and women, no amount of safety procedures or gun safety laws will stem the tide of violence we’re experiencing as a culture. Why? Because, in the end, people kill people. We can outlaw guns, but if it’s not a gun, it will be a knife, a bomb, poison, a hatchet, etc., that will end up being the means of the violence that comes out of a heart that needs transformation.

Kevin Shrum is a pastor and author. He serves Inglewood Baptist Church in Nashville.


People kill people. This statement is not an attempt to avoid sensible laws or to hinder sensible safety procedures. I’m all for them. It is to say that when we say that people kill people it requires us to acknowledge that inanimate objects do not kill people; people kill people. Further, it may force us to admit the notion that people are sometimes good, but inherently flawed.

How long have we been saying this? Decades!

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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

4 thoughts on “Maybe there is a sparkle of hope after all?”
  1. He’s not wrong.
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    But it’s still easier to blame the thing rather than the person wielding it. And it’s easier to declaim “Racism!” (or whatever “-ism”) than to say a culture needs to be fixed. Easier, and safer politically. Same goes when we talk about schooling … although educational success has much to do with parental engagement, bringing us right back around to culture.
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    I hope at least some people read this and stop to think about what is being said, rather than immediately excoriating and dismissing the author for what he’s saying.

  2. For the act of committing murder, “expediency” determines which tool of death will be selected by the murderer. And when a person determines in their own demented sense or thinking that usurping power over a person’s life to end it must take place, the means of accomplishment is a secondary consideration-choice.
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    The only deterrent in the mind of a murderer is that their life too will be taken from them when justice is served. Today with advances in forensic sciences, the possibility of wrongful murder conviction is extremely low to almost non-existent. And since murderers know this same fact, but commit murder anyway, it only serves to prove that the judicial system has eroded in its ability to achieve justice—no fear of being caught nor held ultimately accountable.
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    The reasoning used in the past to discredit the death penalty in any of its forms was ‘conviction error’. Today that has been reduced to the point of non-existence. If a state wants to reduce its murder rate, all it has to do is enact laws which mandate forensic evidence beyond a reasonable doubt threshold, then set execution dates within a ninety-day period, with no possibility of stays of execution granted for any reason.
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    The result will be that only the people who desire to end their own life, will be committing the murders. There is no stopping someone who wants to die when they chose to commit murder on another person.
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    In the spirit of this fine article posted by Miguel, a spiritual awakening can only begin to occur when convicted murders are escorted to the feet of the Creator for ultimate judgment. Today we can achieve a righteous conviction of any murderer, faster than ever. It’s time to fast track murderers to the hereafter. Murder rates will drop substantially as a result and since murder by firearm is at the top of the tool of choice list, firearm murders will drop along with it.

  3. This opinion was written without the heavy reliance on literary tropes America’s newpapers are known for. But the Knoxville News Sentinel printed it anyway. They will suffer repercussions from this.

    1. I thought the same thing JB. And the following section is what I think will trigger repercussions the most,
      .
      “…while sensible safety laws of all kinds are important, addressing the essentials of the human condition – our souls – is necessary. What I’m speaking of is not more economic opportunity or even more educational endeavors. What I’m speaking of are those cultural institutions that shape and point the human heart toward that which is good, not bad, so that angry violence is not an option.”
      .
      If, as many today say, “Silence is Violence” surely this being published in print in Knoxville will trigger a violent response. The article’s author and paper’s managing editor could be put in the crosshairs.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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