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News Opinion

Mass shooting points to problems, including a culture of violence

I agree with Professor Jeffrey Ian Ross that new laws against guns are not enough to end the mass shootings ("Ending mass shootings: It's not just about more or better laws," Sept. 22). We do have to figure out what actions, values and moral standings are supporting our culture of violence and the belief that a person has the "right" to solve his problems by taking the life of another.

We need to have a real, deep and truthful dialogue in our country about the violence within it, all the violence. We need to not only look at the expressions of this culture of taking human life at the drop of a hat. But we need to look at the amount of violence the average person sees on TV, in sports, in electronic games, in movies, on our cities' streets, in the abortion industry and in war. If most of what we see and hear and experience in our lives is the daily bombardment of the taking of human life, that does affect our moral reasoning, especially if we are mentally or emotionally sick.

We need the guts to stop the political rhetoric on this issue. We need to strongly challenge those who say that the fault for recent mass murder is not some combination of the killer, the mental health system, the lack of proper security at the naval base, the government procedures for security clearances or the standing down of the police response just when it was most needed, but want to see it all as the gun's fault. At the same time, we need to equally face down those who believe that our right to bear arms means that everyone should have a weapon of mass murder to go hunting or to be ready if the government tries to take over and abolish our system of rights.

We need to have the courage to ask hard questions about the gun lobby, the entertainment industry, the abortion industry, the war machine and the increasingly warped and extreme sense of individual rights. It is becoming clear in everyday life that more and more people in our country believe that they have rights without any responsibility and that their rights give them permission to violate the rights of others, be it a babe in the womb or the people having a snack at a courtyard of the Navy Yard. There will be no easy answers. The unattended sickness of mind and morality of the shooters is only a symptom of the undiagnosed sickness of our society.

I pledge to start the honesty. I'll give up any pretension of having the need of a gun that spurts out bullets faster than one can read this sentence, if you will give up your right to kill the unborn, watch graphic violence and play games with un-countable killing.

Rev. Michael T. Buttner, Bel Air

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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