I note with real anger the display by various politicians and other commenters, who've jumped on the tragedy in Texas yesterday (sometimes literally within minutes of the news breaking) and used it as yet another excuse to promote their views. Some of the comments, particularly from non-religious or anti-religious perspectives, have been sickening:
They were in a church that was full of prayers. They need a government who will enact common sense gun laws. #GunControlNow https://t.co/M1wTIe4G01
— rosanne cash (@rosannecash) November 5, 2017
thoughts and prayers for people who were mowed down in a church sounds especially hollow.
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) November 5, 2017
They were in church. They had the prayers shot right out of them. Maybe try something else.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) November 5, 2017
“Thoughts and prayers” again, @realDonaldTrump, idiot? These people were in CHURCH. They WERE praying. pic.twitter.com/AABiR7Jnfo
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) November 5, 2017
The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they'd still be alive, you worthless sack of shit. https://t.co/iGHxPrYrLN
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) November 5, 2017
There are many more at the link.
One thing to note about those who rail against religion, and try to debunk it in the case of a tragedy like this: they're all arrogating to themselves the right to tell God how he/she/it must conduct him/her/itself. They aren't asking for explanations - they're providing them, according to their perspective, and more or less explicitly rejecting anything that doesn't fit their preconceptions (including the existence [or otherwise] of God, the operation of grace, and so on).
I'm not out to convince anyone of God's existence. I believe He does; but talking about it won't persuade many people. It's my job to live my belief, so that others may see in my life (rather than hear about) the fruits of my faith. That's why, when people want to tell me what they believe, I respectfully say to (or of) them I'd prefer that they showed me. (As the famous quotation, wrongly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi but undoubtedly based on his teachings, says: "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.")
Another aspect is the issue of gun control. Yes, the gunman was aided in his violence by the possession of an AR15-type rifle; but if he hadn't had access to it, there are many other ways in which he could have killed as many, if not more victims. For example, the worst school massacre in America didn't involve firearms, except for the perpetrator's suicide; explosives were the weapon of choice. Some of the worst nightclub disasters around the world (e.g. Happy Land in New York, USA; Blue Bird Café in Montreal, Canada; Whisky Au Go Go in Brisbane, Australia; etc.) involved arson using gasoline, not firearms. In almost all the incidents mentioned, casualties were higher (sometimes much higher) than they were in yesterday's shooting.
As I pointed out after the Winnenden school shooting in Germany:
You can't stop criminal actions by banning things. You can only stop them by stopping the people who commit them. The tools used are basically irrelevant.
I said something similar a couple of years later, in connection with another incident. Those words remain as true today as ever they were. The tragedy in Texas yesterday won't change it.
Back in 1925, H. L. Mencken skewered gun control proponents in his usual inimitable style. Kevin, over at The Smallest Minority, offers one of the best debunkings of gun control that you'll find on the Web. Barry Snell has another excellent perspective on the gun control debate. Finally, the late Weaponsman calculated that there may be as many as 660 million firearms in circulation in the USA. Just how does anyone expect a gun control law to confiscate them all - particularly when those of us who value our Second Amendment rights have no intention of surrendering them?
I won't say more about the Texas shootings yet, because information is still coming out. Those who are using it to attack religious faith, or agitate for more gun control, know no more than the rest of us; yet they're gleefully piling on with their attacks and their insinuations. They're dancing in the blood of the victims. I don't know any other way to describe their behavior.