As a state legislator representing HD 52, I have been asked by a number of my constituents over the last few weeks for my opinion on the events that have taken place across this great nation. I have been very guarded in my response as I have a distrust of the national media and have always believed that reacting to something as horrific as these events should take time, making sure we have all the facts.
I can’t imagine what the families of Buffalo and Uvalde are going through or what the families of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook went through and are still living with all these years later. Losing a loved one in the manner these lives were taken is unimaginable. I have been heartbroken and at the same time disgusted when individuals try to use these tragic events to advance their personal or political agenda.
What would cause someone to be so angry or have such a lack of a conscious that they would commit such an unthinkable act? What has happened in their life to cause them to hate and want to kill? Could the answer be that we live in a broken and sinful world? Some in our society want to only focus on the gun and not the life of the individual that plans the event, loads the gun, maps out the destination, and ultimately pulls the trigger.
In the last 10 years, Americans have been buying guns at a record pace and today we have more guns than we do people. This is not surprising as President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, and many others like them have said repeatedly they have full intentions of coming after our guns. At the same time, the people of Ukraine are begging the U.S. to send them weapons to arm their civilians in an effort to fight off the invasion of the Soviet Union.
Throughout history, what has caused the downfall of the world’s greatest civilizations? The answer is they all went through a moral decline. In my humble opinion, morals in our country have declined and continue in a downward spiral. A few years ago, we started giving participation trophies for showing up and winning, which became secondary. Children experience trauma at the hands of adults like no other time in history, drug and alcohol abuse, the demise of the family unit, mental health issues, fixation on social media, lack of respect for authority, and the easy access to pornography to name only a few.
Children as young as pre-school are being encouraged to take on the form of another gender. Some
even believe that life inside a human body is a choice and not a creation of GOD. But we seem shocked when someone is so angry or mixed up that they would choose to kill innocent people, especially children.
The most important role we have as a parent is to care for our children, protect them as best we can, help them deal with failure, and hold them accountable when they mess up. Believe me, I know that I have made my fair share of mistakes, but I also know that the love of a parent can and will change lives. As we look to the government to put a bandage on — and in some cases, it has encouraged the cancer that has infiltrated our society — maybe, just maybe the answer can be found in society itself.
We live in a broken and sinful world and everyone wants to find someone to blame. Blame the politicians that truly believe we should have a right as law-abiding citizens to purchase and own a firearm. Blame the media for their constant coverage of these tragic events that might be encouraging an individual with a grievance and feeling like they have nothing to live for so they try to leave their mark in history. Blame the violence we see every day on TV or in some video games. Blame law enforcement for their slow response. Blame the school for not having a full-proof safety plan. (A safety plan is only as good as its weakest link). Blame the gun manufactures and the retail stores. It could go on and on.
Governing is hard work and not everyone will always agree as to what should be the answer to gun violence and mass shootings. We have and will continue to discuss expanded background checks, red flag laws, magazine size, and changing the age to buy an assault rifle. Hopefully, a bipartisan answer can be found.
However, the question remains, would any of these changes make a difference? Would any of these changes have made a difference in the latest tragedies? Chicago has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, and its homicide rates are at the top of the charts. Experience tells us that someone determined to do damage will find a way to achieve their intended goal. Some say we need more mental health funding. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, but after social programs and K-12 education, mental health is the third largest expenditure in our normal Missouri state budget.
I agree with my friend Nicole Cooke, editor of the Sedalia Democrat, when she said, “Whatever we do, the problem will not be solved overnight.”
I also agree that we need to treat each other with a little more respect and kindness. I don’t agree that the gun is the main problem, nor do I believe the car being driven by a drunk driver is the problem.
It is time for Americans to wake up. It is time we put prayer back in our schools, the Ten Commandments back in our courthouses, and restore respect for authority, especially for law enforcement. More than ever, it is time for more parents to take the responsibility of teaching their children right from wrong and that failures are a part of the growth process in becoming respectful contributing adults in a society that is in desperate need of the love of a family and the love of a forgiving God.
Rep. Brad Pollitt is a Republican who has represented HD 52 since 2019. He is the chairman of the Rural Community Development Committee.