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lawsI don’t really want to talk about guns, mostly because I’m really tired of this debate and all the hyperbole and offense that often surrounds it.

I want to speak of the goodness of God, of the joy and beauty He brings to our lives…..

However, I have to get a couple things off my chest. First off, I’ve been writing about the meth and heroin epidemic for about six years now. It is so bad, it is a public health crisis unseen since the flu pandemic of the last century.  Our young people are dying from overdoses every single day, so, so many of them that the life expectancy for Americans has had to be downgraded a few years in a row now.

It’s kind of an invisible epidemic, so I really have to temper my frustration over what often appears to be people’s apparent indifference. Not everybody has seen 12 yr old girls all strung out. Not everybody has sat in treatment centers and seen the babies, our babies, so lost, so broken and confused, and been keenly aware that some of them are just not going to make it.

Not everybody has sat with parents trying to cope with their child’s suicide, their overdose death, the complete and total loss of all their hopes and dreams.

And so I’m a bit angry, a bit fed up with the narrative. An atrocity is an atrocity, and we should all care deeply and mourn with those who mourn, but why do we ignore the cries of all the people shot and killed in Chicago, in Washington DC, in East LA, every single weekend?  Why do not care about them as much? And what is it about the addiction epidemic that causes us to just look away?

School shootings are appalling, they are an atrocity, but they are simply symptomatic of a much larger cultural breakdown that has been going on for several decades now. Google the Bath School disaster of 1927 and gain some perspective. No guns involved there. No guns were involved a few years back when some evil people decided to fly airplanes into buildings, either.

No guns are needed to lead a young person from a good home into a meth and heroin overdose either.

If you genuinely want to solve problems in the world you must first identify the problem, find the root cause and proceed from there. Unless you pull the root out, your weed will just grown back. With a vengeance.

Guns are not the problem. Neither is meth and heroin, really.  The substance itself is never really the root cause of what ails us, it’s just the symptom.

America has always had this strange cultural paradox going on, one of repression at war with freedom. Much like we have a strange relationship with sex, this odd juxtaposition between puritan values, shame based systems, and yet sex culturally in your face 24/7. Sex to sell products,  gay pride parades, the porn industry. Repression, shame, perversion. Wash, rinse, repeat.

We do the same thing with drugs. Drugs are bad, shameful, just say no, but the moment we are sick, go get a drug. And we are sick a lot too, whether we just have too much energy or social anxiety disorder or bladder control problems. In case we aren’t really feeling sick at the moment we’ve got every imaginable pharmaceutical ad on TV reminding us we’re sicker than we think. Add in legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, and now for recreational reasons, and you’ve got one convoluted message going on. Repression, shame, addiction. Wash, rinse, repeat.

We do the same thing with violence. Anti-bullying campaigns, microaggressions, assault charges over simple fights, “toxic masculinity,” violence repressed, suppressed, and medicated, versus, violence endlessly romanticized by Hollywood, permeating all our music, our movies, our pop culture.  Repression, shame, rage. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Repression, suppression, medication, combined with glamorized ghetto culture, violence as entertainment, sex as recreation, is just a toxic cultural cocktail. It’s psychologically, spiritually, and biologically crazy making. People who have limited moral foundations and  inadequate support systems, are really vulnerable to our mixed cultural messages.

That’s part of the story, repression versus freedom, cultural breakdowns, shifting sand beneath our feet as mores and values are being lost, but that is only part of the story. The other part is that evil has always been with us and probably always will be. Back in the day we didn’t have social media and the news to bring us 24/7 coverage of the barbarian marauders who went out and slaughtered an entire village, nor all the people thrown into a pit of lions over some ruler’s whim.

Nor all the innocents nailed to crosses and left to die in as slow and tortuous a manner as possible.

That’s us. That’s who we really are as people. I’m sorry.

Those of us who aren’t trying to destroy other people are often to be found trying to destroy ourselves. It doesn’t have to be that way, there is another way, a better way, once called The Way,  in fact.

The truth is, we simply cannot eradicate all the world’s evil on our own. People are never going to “progress” to a higher level of being, no matter how many social programs we try to implement, nor how many laws we try pass. We can’t even fix our culture and totally solve the problem, either. It’s heart issue, an individual one. All it takes for evil to happen is for one person to choose it.

I’m a bit angry, a bit fed up with the narrative, because first of all we’ve once again let the media define for us what is important, failed to see the suffering all around us, and proceeded to jump in to fix things with solutions that don’t even address the root of the problem.