To many the answers for mass gun violence land squarely on the shoulders of the decreasing moral compass of a secular world pushed by mass media, academia and the entertainment industry. It is as if every man does what is right in his own eyes and as is prophesied in the Bible it leads to death. See The Holy Bible King James Version. Judges 17:6.
Recently my local newspaper, The Capital Gazette , published a guest article mainly about guns and violence . The author, Rev. Stephen Tillett, was trying to explain and understand the reasons for the terrible tragedy of the Violent and Senseless Killing of Five Capital Gazette Employees – even though it is probably a futile venture to explain an irrational violent event with reason and logic.
The columnist attributes the violence to several factors including the traditional – mental illness, enhanced bump stocks, automatic weapons of war among others. But then expands his theory to ” one groups different values against another’s’ – domestic terrorism is his theory. Apparently, it is his theory that this one group against another group syndrome is attributable to – “that it was outsiders from Europe who came to the “new world” and committed genocide against millions of indigenous persons already living here. And now those outsiders deign to claim “insider” status and want to keep everyone else out … at the point of a gun, if they have to.”
My view is quite different based on my 50+ years as a criminal defense lawyer (15) and Circuit Court Judge (36+) and the changing demographic culture in which I and my family have lived. During this time many different groups and cultures have successfully assimilated with each other. I was born and raised in College Park, MD in 1942 and grew up in segregated schools. My father was a professor at the University of Maryland. I am married and have three children all products of the Prince George’s County Public Schools and now, gratefully, 5 grandchildren.
After attending the University of Maryland (BS-1964) and American University Washington College of Law (JD- 1967), I traveled out to the rural Prince George’s County Circuit Court to clerk for Judge Ralph W. Powers in sleepy Upper Marlboro , Md – the Prince George’s County Seat (1970 Pop. 650,000 – 2017 Pop 910,000)
When I was appointed in 1982 as the 13th Judge, there was 1 African American Judge. There are now 24 judges and 6 are white. In 1999 I completed my 15 year term and I moved to Anne Arundel County and took the status of Senior Judge where I sit every Wednesday in the Anne Arundel Circuit Court and 4 days a month in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County.
As a criminal court lawyer and judge, I have presided over tens of thousand sentencings’- reading a detailed report of the background of each individual to be sentenced. 98% of the individuals have broken homes, drug and alcohol abuse and crime recidivism – even the violent gun related offenders.There is rarely evidence in the reports which points to any religious or spiritual activity. Over my 50+ years there are very few in the criminal court who escape the patterns of a broken family led astray by a secular worldview.
The one pattern that leads to the successful escape from those deadly worldly patterns is the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that Gospel of Love that transcends the battles of generational bitterness and lack of forgiveness, restores families and leads to a peace “that passes all understanding”. You see the Gospel provides me forgiveness of my sins and offenses, but requires me to forgive the sins and offenses of my neighbors. If these lessons and the Commands of Christ are shared around the kitchen tables of our homes, progress will be commonplace. A wise bible teacher once said – “Please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet !”
Over the last 50 years as biblical values have been systematically removed (even ridiculed) from the public dialogue, schools, government – legislators, governors, judges and the workplace – the violence has exponentially accelerated. It is time for our leaders to dramatically change course and return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – to speak of its transforming power in every conversation. As the plaque that President George H.W. Bush gave his Pastor says – “at all times Preach Christ , if necessary use words”
In this Holiday Season that is why the CENTER of Merry Christmas is CHRIST.