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The Rushmore Report – The Funniest Answer to Gun Violence (By a U.S. Senator)

Gun violence is not funny. But the response of one United States Senator is. Appearing on CNN’s new “Cuomo Prime Time” last week, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) discussed the tragic shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper. Cuomo asked the Senator, “Are you aware of anything on the federal level that is being done to deal with these issues?” Gillibrand’s response elicited a collective “Huh?” from Cuomo’s anemic national audience.

Cuomo continued, “We know what the states are doing, but on the federal level, is there anything to give any hope for any kind of momentum?”

Gillibrand responded by praising leftist Parkland activists as she said the Democrats needed to flip both the House and the Senate to be able to do something about gun violence.

She said, “I am optimistic that when we do flip the House and Senate, our first vote can be on common-sense assault weapons and the large magazines, ban the bump-stocks, have a universal background check system where terrorists can’t get access to weapons, and then have the investments in mental health that have been needed for a very long time.”

Of course, Cuomo didn’t challenge the Senator’s solution to the Maryland shooting. Had he passed a high school journalism class, Cuomo might have said something like this:

“Senator, did you just say the solution to the Maryland shooting is to ban assault weapons, large magazines, and bump-stocks?”

Gillibrand: “Yes, Chris, that is what I said.”

Cuomo: “Are you aware, Senator, that the shooting was done with a shotgun?”

Now, we know that conversation would never take place, at least not on CNN. But aside from Senator Gillibrand’s apparent ignorance of the basic details of the shooting she went on the air to condemn, and the death of journalism in most corners, there is a bigger point.

There’s not a gun law on the books – or on the minds of even the most strident gun control activists – that would have affected the Maryland shooting. Or most shootings.

But even that is not the bigger point. The bigger point is that until America experiences a massive cultural change – brought about by a national spiritual revival – we can pass a million new gun laws and it will not matter. Crazy people do crazy things. And bad people do bad things. The problem is not that we need new laws. The problem is that we need new hearts.

And that is something that is beyond the reach of Congress.

 

The Rushmore Report – Are Guns the Problem? History Provides Irrefutable Answer

There have been at least 46 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in the first six months of 2018. No one challenges the assertion that gun violence on our school campuses is out of control and beyond anything we have ever seen in America. But the question that divides is, “Are guns the problem?” And, “Is gun control the solution?” Surprisingly, history – in our lifetimes – provided an indisputable answer to these questions. In fact, if you are over 50 and have any semblance of an open mind, you will almost have to agree with these conclusions – based on your own personal experience.

Let me ask you a few questions, so you can resolve the gun debate from your own experience. If you are over 50 years of age, think back to your own experience, growing up in public schools in the 1960s and 70s.

Do you recall any discussions about the need to hire armed guards to protect teachers and students from school shootings? Do you remember policemen strolling the halls of your elementary school? How many students were shot in your high school?

So what’s the difference between then and now?

Walter Williams offers sage counsel.

“The logic of the argument for those calling for stricter gun control laws, in the wake of recent school shootings, is that something has happened to guns. Guns have started behaving more poorly and become evil. Guns themselves are the problem. The job for those of us who are 65 or older is to relay the fact that guns were more available and less controlled in years past, when there was far less mayhem. Something else is the problem. Guns haven’t changed. People have changed.”

Williams concludes, “Behavior that is accepted from today’s young people was not accepted yesteryear.”

The data is clear. In Baltimore, for example, an average of four teachers and staff members were assaulted each school day in 2010. In Philadelphia, 690 teachers were assaulted in 2010. Over the last five years that already terrifying number has swelled to 4,000.

Yale University legal scholar John Lott argues that gun accessibility in our country has never been as restricted as it is now. He reports that until the 1960s, New York City public high schools had shooting clubs. Students actually carried their loaded rifles to school on the subway in the morning and then turned them over to their homeroom teacher or a gym teacher for the day. The rifles were retrieved after school for target practice.

In my childhood days, you could simply walk into a hardware store and buy a rifle. Guns were available through a mail-order catalog such as Sears, Roebuck & Co. Many of my friends got a .22-caliber rifle for their 12th or 13th birthday.

Our past confronts our present with a simple question. With greater accessibility to guns in the past, why wasn’t there the kind of violence we see today, when there is so much more restricted access to guns?

Williams offers this analogy. When a murderer uses a bomb, truck, or car to kill people, we don’t blame the bomb, truck, or car. We don’t call for control over the instrument of death. We seem to fully recognize that such objects are inanimate and incapable of acting on their own. We actually blame the perpetrator. But when the murder is done using a gun, there is outrage. We call for control over the inanimate object of death – the gun.

Clearly, guns have not changed – but people have. And until we confront the cultural and moral decline of America, we will just be kidding ourselves by pretending that we can control people by controlling their guns. Pacifying ourselves with new laws for the bad guys to break will do no more to protect us than the thousands of laws that have already been passed – and broken.

Walter Williams is right. When we were kids, guns were more available and less restricted. And there were far fewer shootings. So what’s with the constant outcry against guns in 2018?

I smell an anti-gun agenda.

The Rushmore Report – Three Ways to Combat School Violence

Like many, I am deeply concerned about school violence. A massive shift has occurred. Talking, chewing gum and making noise were the top three public school problems in the early 1960s. Currently, rape, robbery and assault could lead the list. Education expert William Jeynes correlates the decline in public schools with the Supreme Court’s 1962 and 1963 decisions to remove Bible reading: “One can argue, and some have, that the decision by the Supreme Court – in a series of three decisions back in 1962 and 1963 – to remove Bible and prayer from our public schools, may be the most spiritually significant event in our nation’s history over the course of the last 55 years.”

That decision had enormous implications that will continue unless we make drastic changes. Granted, how can we promote prayer in schools when prayer in the church is at an all-time low?

Tighter guns laws have some merit as long as law-abiding citizens are not restricted. However, guns are not the problem – sin is the problem. Will we outlaw pipe fittings to prevent pipe bombs and cars to prevent road rage? Of course not. Cain killed Abel with a rock. The human heart is the problem.

1. Bring God back into the schools.

I remember a time when we weren’t embarrassed about God. Teachers and administrators would willingly share their faith. Now, evolution is taught as fact, and God is portrayed as a fairy tale – when in reality, evolution is a fairy tale and creation is a fact. In the same sense that this article did not write itself, we are not here by random chance. Kids need to know that they are made in the image of God and that their Creator loves them and will guide them if they turn to Him. Bringing God back into the schools will reverse everything from violence to bullying to depression.

Secular groups have been pushing their agenda far too long. “Separation of church and state” is their battle cry. The courts have misused the infamous “separation” phrase to ban religious activities, primarily those promoting Christian principles. Thomas Jefferson used the phrase in 1802 in a private letter written to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut. The Baptists feared that the government might try to regulate religious expression. They were assured that this would not happen. Ironically, we are seeing this today.

In other words, the people did not want the government imposing a national religion on the people. Jefferson wisely agreed with them. His statement was intended to protect religious expression by building a wall of separation between the church and the state; solidifying the fact that the federal government could not strike down religious freedoms. Ironically, the public school system was first introduced in the 1600s to teach kids the Bible. Scholars were born through Princeton and Yale. God was embraced, not replaced. America, wake up! We can unapologetically acknowledge the sovereign hand of God on our campuses. Acknowledgment is not establishment. I pray that local school districts don’t cave in to political correctness; difference makers should make a difference.

2. Allow hope onto the campus.

When I inquired recently if pastors could help students after a local school shooting, I was told that they have many trained secular psychologists who can help. In short, pastors aren’t allowed on campuses. Remember, “separation of church and state.” The irony is that those who can offer lasting hope are not allowed on campuses. Granted, I’m not talking about being aggressive and proselytizing unwilling students. My recommendation is that (after a thorough vetting process), certain Christians are allowed on campus as encouragers and change agents, building up those who are bullied and offering hope to the hopeless.

3. Bring God back into our homes.

As the family goes, so goes the nation. Violent video games and movies do nothing but foster violence. For example, in Grand Theft Auto, kids can have sex with a prostitute, take back the money, and set her on fire. Parents, for the love of God, wake up! Turn off the media and invest in your children.

Ironically, the missing element that few want to talk about is the fact that most shooters are taking psychotropic drugs to deal with emotional pain. Therein lies one of the main problems. Homes resemble a volcano ready to erupt rather than a loving, nurturing environment. And our media choices instill fear, violence, and sexual perversion. In short, we are reaping what we are sowing in our homes.

Parents should be the spiritual leaders in our homes; our absence has caused an epidemic. The majority of youth suicides, runaways, rapists, and high school dropouts are from fatherless homes. Also remember, we don’t have to leave home to be absent; we can check out mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and lead our family astray. If we fail to train our children, society will do it for us.

Many who have been interviewed after a suicide attempt talk about feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. They see no way out. By bringing God back into our homes and schools, we can impact the next generation at a very deep level. Parents must repent of their apathy and turn completely to God to be changed from the inside out, which, in turn, will change the atmosphere of our homes, schools, and country.

We are witnessing the tragic results of people dying spiritually. We must point people to the true source of healing, or violence will only escalate. Xanax, OxyContin, and Vicodin will never replace repentance, renewal, and restoration through Jesus Christ. We have sown to the wind and are reaping the whirlwind. In addition to violence increasing, SAT scores have sunk to the lowest level since the college admission test was overhauled in 2005. Unless the Lord builds the house, he who labors, labors in vain. Unless the Lord builds the school, he who labors, labors in vain.

About the Author

Shane Idleman is a contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com.

The Rushmore Report – Texas AG Gives Quick, Excellent Response to School Shooting

After a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, Friday morning, where between eight and ten people were killed, CBS News interviewed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is a gun rights advocate. The interviewer resorted to the usual media attack, slamming Paxton for responding to the terrible event by offering thoughts and prayers.

The interviewer stated, “You tweeted out that your thoughts and prayers were with the victims, and just sort of being online, you’re getting a lot of reaction for that. You know, thoughts and prayers, we hear that every time there’s a shooting. And you have been a gun rights advocate; you’ve supported carrying guns on university campuses, even churches. How do you respond to people saying ‘Something’s gotta be done? Our children need to be safe, in of all places, their schools.’”

Paxton refused to buy into the idea of some gun control advocates that guns should be outlawed, saying, “Well, I couldn’t agree more; it’s the method of doing that that there may be some disagreement on. People like this are not going to follow gun regulations; law-abiding citizens will. And so disarming law-abiding citizens doesn’t actually protect our children; it puts them at a greater risk.”

Then Paxton continued by pointing out, “The more we regulate, the more time we lose and the more people we’re going to lose. So I would prefer to have people in place to protect our children, not leave it open for somebody who’s not going to follow a gun law to come in and kill as many children as they want to.”

Paxton’s response was perfect. There are ways to avoid future school massacres. Passing more laws for murderous thugs to break is not one of them.

Every school needs beefed-up armed security. Every parent needs to lock up his or her guns so their deranged children can’t use them, as was the case in Texas. But sadly, there aren’t enough laws to be passed, security to be installed, or officers to be in place to address the real problem – bad people do bad things.

And sadly, we have a lot of bad people in the world. And they aren’t much for obeying our old laws. My guess is they won’t be too impressed with new laws, either.

The Rushmore Report – Evangelicals from Max Lucado to Pat Robertson Urge Action on Guns

Though white evangelicals are less likely than average Americans to push for stricter gun laws, the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has promoted pastors to advocate for “sensible” gun restrictions to help prevent more attacks. Count Max Lucado and Pat Robertson among those speaking out.

Robertson spoke out in favor of banning automatic weapons and bumb stocks, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly.

“I’ve got no opposition whatsoever to shooting, but for heaven’s sakes, I don’t think that the general population needs to have automatic weapons,” said the Christian Broadcasting Network founder, himself a politically conservative gun owner and a defender of the Second Amendment. Robertson also voiced support for tighter background checks.

Meanwhile, Max Lucado, Joel Hunter, and Lynne Hybels were among 15 evangelical leaders who launched a petition for gun safety in America days after the latest shooting.

“We call on our fellow Christian believers, church leaders, and pastors across the country to declare that we will decisively respond to this problem with both prayer and action,” they stated.

The petition cited a “biblical responsibility” to lobby for common-sense gun legislation, to encourage gun owners to secure their own firearms, and to help those with severe mental illness get professional help.

Other initial signers include Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute president Rob Schenck, author Preston Sprinkle, Texas Baptist leader Guy Reyes, and Murdock Trust director Romanita Hairston-Overstreet.

Most Americans believe that stricter gun laws (58%) and better health services (77%) could have prevented the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Additionally, the Pew Research Center reports that evangelicals are the only religious group “in which a plurality (40%) say that putting more emphasis on God and morality in school and society is the most important thing that could be done to prevent future shootings.”

About the Author

Kate Shellnutt writes for Christianity Today.

The Rushmore Report – Here’s How We Can Protect Our Children If We Really Want To

The tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is a deeply painful reminder of how much we have failed to honestly confront the problem of school shootings in America. Putting up “Gun Free Zone” signs is not a solution. It is an act of self-deception. Killers are not slowed by community sentiment.

America is not going to become gun-free. Firearm-specific bans such as on semi-automatic rifles won’t have an impact because the majority of mass shootings in the United States are committed with handguns. Case in point: the deadliest shooting in our history, in 2007, at Virginia Tech. The killer used a handgun.

Mental health-focused “solutions” are incompatible with civil liberties. America is not going to adopt laws to apprehend or restrict every person who might become dangerous. The fact is, each killer’s threat is much more obvious after the killings.

Make no mistake – evil people with guns must be stopped by good people with guns. Furthermore, the faster good people can respond, the fewer innocent people will be killed.

Every school in America should have several teachers and administrators trained in firearms who are permitted to carry concealed weapons. The number of these “protectors of the innocent” in each school should be determined by the number of students.

Agreeing to serve in this role might be encouraged with an appropriate monthly stipend. After all, in Georgia, teachers who agree to serve as coaches are paid stipends ranging from $150 to $400 per month.

Because these protectors would have concealed weapons and not be in uniform, would-be killers would have no idea who might be capable of ending their threat by ending them.

This idea is the same principle behind the Federal Air Marshal Service, which was rapidly expanded after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The marshals provide countervailing force to stop terrorists. And these marshals are unidentifiable, so the terrorists don’t know who they are. Do you ever hear of anyone who feels less safe getting on a plane because they know an armed air marshal in on board?

If we are really serious about protecting our children, we must have trained and equipped protectors prepared to handle this type of situation whenever there are school activities. The Parkland school had an armed officer assigned to the campus, but the officer never encountered the shooter and was not able to respond in time.

Dramatically increasing the presence of uniformed, visibly-armed security guards, however, might create an environment ill-suited for learning.

Instead, teachers and administrators serving as protectors could complement and support the dedicated officer or security personnel who are already serving in many schools.

This combination of using uniformed police officers to handle standard school security challenges – while also having responsible adult protectors who are already going to be working in the school prepared to provide additional force in the case of a catastrophic emergency, like a mass shooting – is the most effective and practical way to protect our children.

About the Author

Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Rushmore Report – Rick Santorum: ‘What All These Shooters Have in Common’

In an interview with CNN host Jake Tapper, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said the public debate after the Parkland mass shooting should not be focused only on gun control, but also on the real problem. Santorum identified the number one problem that is leading to all these mass shootings across the country.

Appearing on State of the Union, Santorum said the most consistent problem among the school shooters is that “these kids come from broken homes without dads, and that is not something we’re talking about. We want to talk about things we can work together on. How about working together to try to see what we can do to get more dads involved in the lives of their kids?”

Santorum continued, “The idea that we’re going to ban these guns is never going to happen and the idea that we’re even focused on this when there are so many other issues that are much more relevant to the systemic problem we have in this country of the breakdown of the family and father – we need to be talking about these things.”

Sen. Santorum has hit on the real issue. Messed up families produce messed up kids, and messed up kids do messed up things. The only real solution is not to control the guns or to arm the schools (though some legislation in these areas may be appropriate). The real issue is to clean up the mess – the mess created by fathers who are not present in the lives of their kids.

The Rushmore Report – Answer to School Shootings, It’s Not that Complicated

It has happened again. Fifteen students and two adults were senselessly murdered by a madman. It was the 15th school mass shooting since Columbine – on April 20, 1999 – and the most deadly ever. When the shooter (we don’t give shooters’ names here) took the lives of 17 innocent victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, he re-ignited the national debate on gun control and how Congress should respond to this growing madness. Are there arguments to be made on both sides of the gun debate? Absolutely. Will Congress finally do something? Probably not. But it’s really not that complicated.

First, there are several legitimate criticisms and things that need to be done – though none of them will really go very far to solve the problem. For example, in Florida it is legal to buy a gun at age 18, but not legal to buy alcohol until age 21. Should that change? Sure, it should. Congress should pass a national law restricting gun ownership to those age 21 and above.

Mental illness is a real problem. Should those who are mentally ill be restricted from buying guns? Or course, they should be. But keep in mind that about 70 percent of the American population is on mood-altering prescription medications. So determining who should be disqualified from gun ownership based on mental illness will be an unsolvable quagmire.

Should certain types of guns be banned? Or course. There is no need for Citizen Joe to have a high-powered weapon. But again, this will not solve the problem.

Here’s the reality – bad guys, by definition of being “bad guys” don’t obey the laws. Gun restrictions will be ignored or bypassed by those intent on committing such unthinkable crimes. More gun laws will do for gun deaths what prohibition did for alcoholism – nothing.

So what is the solution? Let me state one simple, indisputable truth, and then the solution will become self-evident.

Here it is – public schools are the most gun-free zones in America. Period.

In Florida – and across America – it is illegal to bring a gun on campus. When the crazed madman stepped onto the Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School campus Wednesday, he knew one thing was 99 percent likely – he would be the only person there with a gun.

What followed was three minutes of shooting. Three minutes. That’s all it took. Meanwhile, someone called 911, and the police were on their way. But here’s the thing – it takes three minutes to kill 17 unarmed citizens, while the average emergency response time for the police is five minutes. So the madman, on average, has all the time he needs to take out 17 innocent lives with two minutes left over for his escape.

So here is the painfully obvious solution. Allow school personnel to have guns – under very strict guidelines. For example, ex-military men and women should be allowed to bear arms. Teachers and administrators who complete a very rigorous testing process should be allowed to carry concealed handguns.

No one should know who has the guns, except the principal. But every would-be killer needs to know that schools are no longer gun-free zones. Right now, when the madman shows up at Campus X, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. But by arming those who pass background checks and rigorous training, a deterrent will exist that is not there now.

For any readers who oppose this idea, let me pose this question. If it was your child in a classroom, with only unarmed teachers and students, and you knew a madman was headed for that room with the intent of shooting everyone in sight, would you rather the teacher be able to defend your child or not?

Again, it’s not that complicated. We have tried gun control. Our strictest gun control zones – public schools – have become killing fields. Not allowing school leaders to be armed has proven reckless. Why not actually do something to protect our innocent children’s lives?

This very suggestion is being made this week in Tallahassee, before the Florida State Legislature. What state and federal politicians will do will rest largely on this question: Do we want to look serious about stopping the carnage, or do we actually want to save lives?

I repeat – it’s really not that complicated.

The Rushmore Report – President Trump’s Message to Democrats

President Trump went on a Twitter rage on Saturday night. His subject was mostly the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, that took 17 lives. While addressing the shooting and expressing his opinions on what could be done in the future, the president had a very direct message to Democrats – one they don’t want to hear.

This was the president’s message:

“Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration? Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!”

As is usually the case, Mr. Trump’s tweet could have been toned down. But does he have a point? Sure he does. Under former president Barack Obama, Democrats passed the most sweeping reform to health care in American history – without a single Republican vote. They could do this because they had a filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60-40, plus the majority of the House.

For two years, the Democrats passed every single law they introduced. But what was missing? Gun control.

On the heels of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, which left 26 dead, the Democratic Congress did nothing. They could have passed a ban on assault weapons, but they didn’t. They could have passed universal background checks, but they didn’t.

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich (who is running for president in 2020 – ignore his statements to the contrary) said on Sunday that he has no confidence in Congress to do anything on guns.

“Do I think they can do something on guns? I hope they prove me wrong, but I have no confidence in them,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

This Congress can act, but it won’t be easy, as neither party can get what they want without buy-in from across the aisle. But there was a day – not that long ago – when Democrats had the votes to do whatever they wanted (as they did with Obamacare). They had a chance to pass gun legislation, and they whiffed.

On this point, President Trump is right.

The Rushmore Report: Mike Pence Responds to Texas Church Shooting

Vice President Mike Pence has responded to critics who have questioned the usefulness of prayer following last Sunday’s mass shooting at a church in Texas which left 26 people dead. “Right now, I truly believe that covering those families in prayer is making a difference in their lives, and it will continue to support those families and that community in the days ahead,” Pence told Fox News in an interview.

Online debate has unfurled across Twitter and other platforms in the wake of the massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, with some suggesting that prayer does not work if it can’t protect Christians at church.

“I’m a believer. I believe in prayer and I know that at this moment of such heartbreak and loss in that community that what most Americans are most able to do is pray for those families,” Pence said.

The vice president added, however, that prayer takes “nothing away from our determination to get to the bottom of what happened, to understand the why, to determine whether or not there were errors along the way.”

Authorities are investigating if and in what way existing laws and background checks were not properly applied to shooter Devin Kelley, who illegally purchased the guns he used in last week’s attack.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News in a separate interview that he stands by his offers of prayer, even though he was specifically targeted for his tweets.

Former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Stand By Me” actor Wil Wheaton lashed out and wrote in response to Ryan’s prayer tweet earlier this week: “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of [expletive].”

Wheaton later apologized and explained he wasn’t trying to attack people of faith, though prayer continues being criticized in debates online.

“It’s disappointing. It’s sad, and this is what you’ll get from the far secular left. People who do not have faith don’t understand faith, I guess I’d have to say,” Ryan told Fox.

He added, “And it is the right thing to do – to pray in moments like this because you know what? Prayer works.”

The House Speaker blamed the “secular left” for much of the “polarization and disunity” in the country due to sentiments like that.

Prominent pastors, such as Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, California, told The Christian Post that while it is hard to understand God’s role in tragedies like church shootings, prayer is far from ineffective.

“The Bible does not promise anyone a pain-free life. In fact, Jesus himself said, ‘In this world you will have tribulation’ (John 16:33). Here is what I do know: these people that were gathered for worship at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, believed in and loved Jesus Christ,” Laurie added.

He said that the victims are now in God’s presence, “where there is ‘fullness of joy’ and ‘pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11). All of their questions are answered; our questions will have to wait.”

Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of National Day of Prayer and senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, separately told CP: “In this fallen world when the spirit of evil is raging, all things that happen are not good. Yet, our faith and hope remain in God alone. When we pray, we are depending on God for strength; when we do not pray, we choose to depend upon ourselves, which always leads to unbelief.”

About the Author

Stoyan Zaimov is a writer for The Christian Post.