Moral bearings lost

I feel sorry for and pray for those who were affected by the terrible situation which occurred in Connecticut last week. We as a nation have lost our moral bearing as a result of disregarding God and His laws and by promoting violence in movies, television, video games, etc.

Nationally, seven of 10 movies and 60 percent of all video games (New York Times) promote the reckless abuse of guns to destroy people.

It’s not a problem with guns, as many anti-Second Amendment liberals would blame, but with a society that has lost its moral bearings through liberal practices.

I pray for our nation and the return to a sense of godliness and respect for human life.

Richard Redden

Settlers Rest East

Mount Pleasant

Stand up to the NRA

I am horror-struck following the Dec. 14 shooting in Connecticut. How many more innocent lives must be lost in the protection of our Second Amendment and our right to bear arms? This amendment was included in our Constitution centuries ago for militias and families to protect their families and properties during the Revolutionary War.

I am quite certain our forefathers didn’t anticipate the invention of and misuse of assault weapons available to practically anyone and everyone. Public officials and the press offer prayers and condolences every time this sort of mass killing occurs, but nothing ever changes.

No one in leadership will ever stand up for what’s right in fear of the all-powerful National Rifle Association, which I believe fundamentally controls our government.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a recent interview with Piers Morgan that he owns something like eight guns for hunting and protecting his home. How many guns does one need to shoot defenseless animals for sport?

I’m not saying we ought to take away all guns from their owners, but I do demand that we curb the number of guns allowed each person, and put serious sanctions on assault weapons and semi-automatics. What circumstance would ever require one to own such a weapon anyway?

What a corrupt and sad, sad society we live in. My family and I want to make a difference and help reform gun control laws. Please let me know if there is something — anything — we can do.

Just out of curiosity, how much does the gun lobby contribute to each of our politicians’ campaigns on the state and federal levels? Will our “leaders” stand up and be counted? And if not, why not?

Sarah Rose

Rutledge Avenue

Charleston

Safeguard marriage

I find it ironic that two articles ran concurrently in Saturday’s paper. One, an analysis of murderer Adam Lanza’s life and possible motivations, notes, “The separation (of his parents) hit the children hard, Kraft recalled, the kids seemed really depressed by the break-up.”

A guest column on the Commentary page asserts that making divorce in South Carolina quicker “will ensure happiness, liberty and life by allowing couples to choose when they want to end a relationship, to end a bad marriage without further financial strain, and to move forward from a devastating marriage without the state holding them down.”

I need not state the overwhelming statistics about the destructive fallout from divorce.

But if we ignore the roots of our children’s anger, of their depression, of the disruption and destabilization that divorce creates in their lives in our attempts to “move forward” from our marriage and pursue life, liberty and happiness on our terms, we risk leaving a sea of anger, pain and hurt in our wake.

Marriage is not simply “a contract between two adults.” It is the primary source of stability in children’s lives and, by extension, the culture. Mess with that, you end up cracking the very foundation upon which our civilization is built.

Margaret Mattox

Hydrangea Trail

Johns Island

Video games spawn evil

The events in Newtown, Conn., are profoundly sad and deeply troubling. Even more upsetting is the disturbing frequency of these types of mass shootings.

In an attempt to identify the “why” of this senseless act, many journalists and commentators have raised the issue of gun control.

I would like to raise an additional issue: video games. Empirical studies of the effects of violent, first-person-shooter video games have clearly shown that exposure increases aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, and physiological arousal and decreases helping behaviors.

In addition, studies show that developing brains view violence in video games differently than adult brains. Children and adolescents with mental health problems are likely to be even more vulnerable to impact.

Virtual technology is incredibly realistic — so much so that it is one of the primary means by which the military trains and desensitizes soldiers for combat.

How can we expect to raise caring, empathic and healthy adults when many are consistently and routinely exposed to and active participants in the glorified, realistic killing of humans via violent video games?

C. Anne Gutshall Ph.D.

Rice Hope Drive

Mount Pleasant

Return God to schools

I’ve watched the countless news reports of this horrible tragedy that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Yet another mass killing has taken too many innocent souls.

During the very moving memorial ceremony on Dec. 16, I couldn’t help but notice how God was brought up many times by the various speakers to include our president. I heard our president say he would do all in his power to make changes to try to stop these terrible things from happening again.

So I say to all, “Maybe now our great government will see fit to first and foremost put God back into our schools.” You call on God to help us all through this, yet you won’t allow him in our schools?

I find something terribly wrong with that picture.

Russell Dowdy

Ceva Drive

Hollywood

Help the mentally ill

As we grieve for the innocents whose lives were tragically ended, I pray that we as a nation will finally admit that we have an enormous problem. No, I am not talking about guns. The problem is the treatment of mental illness.

In its “wisdom,” governments closed state-supported mental institutions in the 1970s. Patients, some of whom had been institutionalized for over 30 years, were discharged, often to places where no follow-up treatment was offered. This succeeded in creating our legions of mentally-ill homeless persons.

States were supposed to build community mental health facilities that would care for these patients. That has largely not happened. What has happened is that families are supposed to care for children and siblings who are dangerously ill.

Families hold their breath, hoping that their mentally ill family member will agree to take his medication. Families are virtually powerless to enforce treatment as these mentally ill people reach adulthood. Few have the funds to pay for private hospitalization, and few are trained to deal with aggressive, truly crazy behavior. And, as we have seen, murderous behavior can be triggered with horrible, tragic results.

Gun control will not solve the problem. A person intent on murder will find a way, whether with guns, knives, pipe bombs, bare hands, dynamite or a truck loaded with gasoline to drive into a building. We can’t ban every potential weapon.

For once, we need to treat the problem. We must have facilities to care for those who cannot function in open society. We should not expect aging parents to control dangerous adult children.

Those who can be treated effectively should be, and those whose illness makes them a threat to both society and themselves should have in-patient care available on a long-term basis. Then we might not have a repeat of the horror in Connecticut.

Betty Norman

Water Turkey Retreat

Charleston

Media glorify killers

You want to know whom to blame for this horrific event? Well, instead of pointing your fingers at the gun lobby (which does need a dose of reality), or the health care industry (which does need to address mental health treatment), let’s look at the real culprit— the national media.

Why do people commit these terrible crimes? Because the media turn them into national and international celebrities. Overnight some sick, egomaniacal wacko gets 24/7 coverage.

All of a sudden everyone wants to know everything about him, and the media feed this frenzy by interviewing everyone who ever came in contact with him, including the family dog.

Then there’s the insensitive audacity and disrespect displayed by the media as they scramble to interview the survivors or the relatives of the victims. So what can you do? It’s simple: Stop watching.

John Manzi

Fairway Drive

Hollywood

The light in the darkness

There is one solution to the Connecticut school shooting: Christianity.

Ron Davis

Darlington Avenue

Charleston

Tighten gun controls

When is enough enough? Are 20 children not enough? The gun violence must stop. We must have strict gun control in this country. The elimination of all handguns and all rifles except in the hands of licensed hunters is an absolute.

President Obama must declare war on the NRA and the gun lobby. He is not going to run for elective office. He does not need their money, support or votes. This has to be a national priority, second only to fiscal policy and national security.

It is time to stand up and be counted.

Harvey M. Spar

Concord Street

Charleston