The Right Opinion

Conscience, Not Guns

By Dennis Prager · Dec. 18, 2012

From the moment Americans learned of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre last Friday, the entire left – editorialists, columnists, broadcasters, politicians – used the occasion to promote one idea: gun control.

For the left, the primary reason for just about all American gun murders is the availability of guns.

I have no interest in debating gun control here. I only wish to ask the left one question: We have a massive system of drug control laws. Yet, the left is the first to argue that the war on drugs has been a failure. And whether or not one deems it a failure, the war on drugs surely hasn't prevented tens of millions of Americans, including teenagers, from obtaining drugs illegally. Why, then, does the left believe that a war on guns would be any more effective than the war on drugs?

That question aside, what matters most here is the left's preoccupation with guns as the root of the murder problem in America.

It explains a great deal about the left's worldview. The moral values and the conscience of nations as well as individuals seem to play almost no role in the left's understanding of human behavior.

That is why the left wants all nations, including the United States, to destroy their nuclear weapons. The problem for the left is not the moral values nations hold, it is the weapons nations hold. American nuclear weapons were just as troubling to the left as Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War and just as troubling as Iran having nuclear weapons today. So, too, the problem of gun violence in America is not the moral values of gun owners, it is gun ownership.

And because leftist thinking dominates American society – from elementary through graduate school and in virtually all the print and electronic news media – there is one view that almost never gets a hearing: that the primary reason for gun violence in America is not gun ownership, but the lack of a functioning moral conscience.

Lack of conscience is the problem both for individuals and for nations. Among nations the problem is nuclear (and all other) weapons in the hands of bad regimes. And among Americans the problem is guns in the hands of bad people.

This is so obvious that one has to be propagandized his whole life by leftism not to immediately understand it. But leftism is the religion of the west, the most dynamic religion in the world for the last century. It is as hard to reject leftism in the west as it was to reject Christianity in Europe during the Middle Ages or Islam in the Arab world today.

Does one reader of this column – including individuals on the left – fear being massacred by a decent person? Of course not.

Then why isn't our emphasis on character development and the teaching of right and wrong?

Why is this never mentioned on the left? Why are guns, not the conscience, the root issue for the left?

We are lead to believe after almost every massacre that the murderer “snapped” or had mental problems. Why? Because it implies that the murderer was not morally responsible for what he did. We are told, for example, that Adam Lanza, who by all accounts was a brilliant student, suffered from a form of autism. Even if true, why is that important? Statistically, I would bet that those with autism commit far fewer violent crimes than the rest of population. Autistic people, like everyone else, can be taught the difference between right and wrong. My stepson is autistic, and is not capable of attending regular school (much less honors classes) or driving a car, things that Adam Lanza did fully normally. But my stepson is keenly aware of right and wrong, and believes that God punishes people who commit evil.

On some rare occasions mental illness may be the only possible explanation for evil. But when American schools emphasized character development, and when nearly all Americans believed that there is a God who forbids and punishes murder, such massacres rarely took place. When people “snapped” during the Great Depression some of them did kill … themselves. Surely some European Jews who survived the Holocaust “snapped” after seeing their families murdered. Yet I know of no survivor of the Holocaust who massacred innocent Germans or Poles or Hungarians, or Frenchmen, let alone Americans. Why not?

Because until the contemporary period, religion and/or conscience development were ubiquitous.

Instead of teaching young Americans self-control, thanks to leftist influence, we now teach them self-esteem – which has been worse than morally useless. It has been morally destructive. According to professor of psychology Roy Baumeister, one of the leading criminologists in America, few Americans have the high self-esteem that violent criminals have.

Want to know a major cause of criminal violence in America? Try leftism's denial of the importance of moral values among nations and individuals; its systematic destruction of character education; and its elimination of God as the source of moral law.

Not guns.



Dioneikes in Colorado said:

The author makes a very salient point. Due to the secularism of the left, and the shutting GOD out of the schools - we now have a generation of kids who have no problem with killing and feeling good about themselves after the event. However, I think that perhaps somewhere in their minds, GOD might just be able to get through and tell them they sinned in the last seconds before they take their own lives.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 8:12 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

It explains a great deal about the left's worldview.
The pathology of the left, an inanimate object is the cause, not the delusion that lets the sociopath walk freely, and allowing insanity to be a defense for murder. Murders are insane, and should be locked away, not medicated into "normal behavior". Maybe marxist staist traitors should be locked away as well?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Stuart (Austin, TX) in Austin, TX said:

There’s a bar graph available (at URL that compares the various types of accidental deaths counted in the last decennial census.

Interestingly, accidental gun deaths rank far down the list of most common causes. If you want to make an impact against accidental deaths, then your time would be better spent going after poisons that are ingested with fatal results before going after guns. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer. But nobody is talking about banning automobiles, though they kill — Or is it their drivers who kill? — 33,608 Americans each year, which is far more than the 606 accidental gun deaths occurring over the same period.

Of course, I am naturally suspicious any time someone starts promoting an agenda by saying something like “Every year _____ people die as a result of ________,” because it’s obvious manipulation. It’s even worse when they resort to “Every year _____ children die as a result of ________.” In both instances, there are relevant questions that must be addressed before we can say whether there is cause for concern.

For example, when talking about the sheer number of “people” who have died, it is misleading because all people eventually die of something. So the fact that a certain number of them die of a particular cause doesn’t mean anything, unless they are dying prematurely, which the statistic ignores.

Secondly, in the example involving “children,” it just gets downright morbid. Children aren’t supposed to die of anything. The fact that they are included in the statistical field alone is cause for concern, irrespective of how they got there, which is secondary. The entire field could consist of only 100 children killed out of 100 million total children. So when someone tells you that drunk drivers, artificial sweeteners or out-0f-control-kites are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 5 and 16, you have to ask, “Would you be happier if those kids had drowned instead?” It’s a tragedy that they’re in your statistical sample at all, so quit trying to manipulate me, Dr. Kevorkian.

Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital.


Source: URL

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

The Newtown crime is a sad event for the country and every American should be alarmed. Guns in the hands of crazy people should never be tolerated nor defended. However, from the start the media and the politicians have referred to the Newtown killings as a "shooting" obviously as a means to refocus the attention to the instrument, not the perpetrator. The reason is politically obvious. If they were honest, the crime in Newtown should be referred to as a "mass murder" and the perpetrator as a "murderer", not a shooter.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

JJ in WV said:

If that is the case then why are we still driving cars? Drunk drivers use them to kill people as about 1/3 of the auto accidents - involving about 10,000 people per year are caused by drunk drivers. Easy solution! - ban cars! The object is evil and the cause - not the person involved..

Never punish the tool for the acts of the holder.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

Left Logic: Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, & Chicago cops need guns.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming replied:

A few months back a nut case killed his boss outside the Empire State Building. Two police showed up and shot 6 innocent passers bye. So why doesn't BloomingIdiot disarm the NYC police. .

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

It was worse than that Howard. It was 9 by-standers.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming said:

There is a substance that is extremely dangerous. A pile of it an inch high can kill you. It is strong enough to destroy steel. When it gets cold it causes numerous car and truck accidents. If you get this substance on your clothes on a cold windy day you can die from hypothermia. At high temperatures this substance has enough energy to severely burn or even kill you. When heated in a closed container the energy released can cause an explosion. The substance should be banned. BTW the substance is Oxygen Di Hydrogen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 7:53 PM

wjm in Colorado replied:

Over consumption will case death by drowning

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming replied:

If you fall asleep face down in a puddle one inch deep you will drown.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM