Christian Counseling: Part 2: Grief, Gun Control and the Newtown Massacre

The story some writers should be penning during this time of national woundedness over the Newtown massacre should be about overwhelming grief, confusion and anger, not about gun control. But politicians and some on the Left can’t seem to help themselves. Their agendas wait in the wings for a good enough calamity to strike and then they follow the political conviction, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

I could just ignore the message and messenger, but the pied pipers are playing a melody of hope and solution to desperate and vulnerable hearts across the country. As with most people in crisis, they are looking for help with potent grief and to pin their understandable rage on something and/or someone, find a semblance of security and begin traveling the slow road of recovery to peace. Many look to leaders for that help and some of them are once again offering the same salvation message--Gun control will keep you from violence, evil and unnecessary pain. Let us find peace, pay tribute and begin healing by enacting new laws.  

On December 15, Nickolas Kristof wrote an opinion piece on the massacre in Newtown, CT for the New York Times—“Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?” He writes, “The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns... let’s treat firearms rationally as the center of a public health crisis.” Really, the failure to regulate and firearms are at the center of the Newtown crisis? That misdiagnosis leads to painful consequences. It leads to advice similar to prescribing Pepto-Bismol for nausea when the underlying problem is cancer.

If Kristof’s thinking was rational, I’d listen because I am want relief from my sadness. But his argument that new laws would make it more difficult to purchase guns and, thereby, make it safer for us all seems to be nothing more than a misguided stepping stone along the path to the destination of a prohibition against all gun possession. It is already too difficult to purchase a hand gun in many states, including New Jersey.

Gun control is not and never will be the answer. Consider the failures of alcohol prohibition and the war on drugs. Sensible laws help and are necessary, but in the end our safety and freedom from violence and evil are not attainable by more laws. Laws are not a savior. Violence and evil are both mental and spiritual health issues that cannot be resolved by politicians. People do not need to be changed from the outside in through external laws, but the inside out through internal laws that effect a change in heart, conscience and behavior. This thinking is the heartbeat of the Christian faith and the plan of God.

Christians know no one can keep the external law, we all fall way short. Christ came to fulfill the law and institute grace as the new way of life; that through our faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and as both God and man, we could be changed on the inside forever. Change is one person at a time. It is something that can't be legislated. I thank God for His abiding desire to help any and all in need with a treatment plan that works!

Political treatment plans are quite imperfect. Freedoms and rights are threatened whenever legislators or the general public clamors for more safety. Increasing our safety always results in decreasing our freedom. At the worst, it leads to the disregard of the Constitution and "original intent" of our forefathers. Gun control is one of those slippery slopes that has the potential to disarm American citizens from the right to bear arms and individual responsibility and give government more control. Gun control is not just about guns, it's about creeping us toward socialism, whether intended or consequential. Socialism, according to Karl Marx, is a required predecessor to a communistic society. Poignant are words of our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, 


Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

We can attempt to heal our pain and manage our outrage through gun control legislation, but it won't work. Those who want to do evil will always devise a way. Unfortunately, evil is a permanent resident of earth. At the last, those of us who believe in God painfully wait until He wipes away every tear, forever (Revelation 21:4). That's a promise that will be kept. 

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Doug Ziesse wrote:
True True True. If we REALLY want to do something to turn the tide of violence in America, instead of blaming guns and mental health we should blame the systematic removal of every vestige of Judeo-Christian moral instruction from our nation's schools and institutions. Let's put the 10 commandments in every classroom. Any other approach fails to address the root cause.

12/19/2012 @ 10:21 PM

2. Frank Mancuso, Ph.D. wrote:
Doug, Thanks for your good words. Like the "old gray mare," American education ain't what she used to be.

Education that leaves out instruction about values and moral principles is like preparing the intellect to meet life without preparing the soul and heart for discernment about what to do when we meet life.

01/02/2013 @ 7:24 PM

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