Outside of country music and obesity, the only thing more popular than God in Oklahoma is the almighty gun. Conservative or liberal, religious or atheist, small penis or extra-small penis, people here just love them here.
With the national uproar about mass shootings and gun violence reaching what feels like a tipping point in the country, The Oklahoman went to members of our congressional delegation to get their thoughts on the issue. Surprisingly, Steve Russell, a gun manufacturer, blames mass shootings on video games and the godless, decline of Judeo-Christian values in American schools:
The question of what, if anything, Congress should do after 17 students were murdered at a Florida high school on Feb. 15 has divided the American electorate, as it did after 58 people were killed at a Las Vegas concert last October and 26 were killed at a Texas church in November.
For members of Congress from Oklahoma, all of whom are conservative Republicans, answers lie in slight modifications to existing gun laws, the healing of societal ills and religion.
Rep. Steve Russell, of Oklahoma City, owns a small rifle manufacturing company. In a newsletter to constituents a day after the Florida high school shooting, he wrote that “while it is important to discuss the implements and devices used to carry out these heinous acts, we cannot get to a solution simply by going after the tools."
Steve is kind of right. We can't get a solution to gun violence and mass shootings by simply going after the tools, but it sure seems like a great place to start. If Johnny Nutjob doesn't have access to a man-killing semi-automatic weapon, it's going to be harder for him to kill dozens of people at a school. That being said, Johnny Nutjob can still find other ways to lash out and take innocent lives. We need to figure out a way to identify and help these Johnny Nutjobs before they do it.
“It means Hollywood not getting a pass to condemn such acts while perpetuating such behavior on the screen. It means our video gaming industry admitting that they may have a role in altering mental abhorrence to violence and the harming of innocents,” Russell wrote.
Once again, Steve's kind of right. It would be naive of us to not think that something about our culture has led to a gradual rise in mass shootings and gun violence, but are video games and violent movies really to blame? At last check, those things are prevalent in just about every civilized country. Why don't losers and social rejects in England, Japan or Germany also go nuts and regularly shoot up people with AR15s? I think the simplest answer is crazy people over there don't have easy access to the weapons.
“It means our educators being willing to admit that resistance to our Judeo-Christian ethic in teaching respect and morality in the classroom has created untethered generations who struggle to identify what is right and wrong.”
Yes, if only we could go back in time to the 1950s when schools were segregated and indoctrinated, America would be a safer, happier place! Re-elect Eisenhower!
Seriously, what a nut. At least his other lame excuses were rooted in some form of misconstrued rationalism. First of all, you could argue the "Judeo-Christian ethic" and the exceptionalism it creates leads to more shootings than it prevents. Second, an internal struggle to "identify what is right and wrong" does not lead to school shootings. I'm pretty sure the Johnny Nutjobs know what they're doing is wrong. It's why they do it.
Anyway, those are just Steve Russell's thoughts on the cause of gun violence. Whether you think guns should be banned or that gun violence is the price for freedom, I'd suggest you let him know what you think by contacting his office. It won't change his mind, opinion, or loyalty to the gun industry, but at least you can say you tried to participate in a representative democracy.