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Shifting of responsibility

by Ed Lewis

There is a facet of freedom that must be addressed in regards to school shootings, the latest being the Santee, California case. That is responsibility, not who is responsible but what.

Is it guns? No, since I have said it before and I will say it again - mine have never shot anyone even though they remain loaded at all times. So it can’t be guns.

Is it a society maddened by the violence seen on television and in movies? One might believe this to be a factor but violence has always been in movies, though not as graphic. Even cartoons of old are now considered as being too violent for kids to watch and never mind the fact that the new games and cartoons are nothing but blowing other people apart. 

Why, my friends and I even mimicked the violence in the movies. We had (my God, what a tragedy) six-shooters and learned how to draw them rapidly so we could ‘shoot’ more of our friends while playing “cowboys and Indians.” After a John Wayne or other war movie, we even imagined ourselves shooting straighter when playing war with our B-B guns or sticks imagined to be 30-caliber carbines.

We even went so far as to learn how to throw knives and hatchets so we could kill the cowboys that were bent on putting our people (Indians) on reservations and the like. Of course, the victims were trees and banks of creeks and, occasionally, a rabbit or fish if we got hungry while playing these games in the woods.

We also took up archery and, of course, a goal was to shoot straight as we imagined our targets to be people. This blooming expertise, though, was not used against people but against frogs, rabbits, squirrels, and, later in life, deer. It was also used all through the years in competitive shooting.

Then, of course, there were the great epics, such as “Gone With The Wind”, “The Ten Commandments”, and gladiator movies (sorry, can’t remember any of their names), in which swords, axes, the mace, spears, cross-bows, and so on were used not only to kill but effectively butcher other people.

When not actually hunting or fishing, play time was usually related in some manner to violence and the imagined shooting and killing of other people. That was what we did as boys, practice in the event we had to go to war and defend this country. We, as with all animals, learned to defend ourselves as best we could.

But, you know what - excepting those of my friends who shot other people in Viet Nam and died at the hands of what we then believed to be the ‘enemy’, not one of us has used a firearm to kill a fellow citizen(s) even in a fit of rage. Not one failed to become a citizen in good standing living our lives without interfering with the rights of others.

All have now raised their families and, even though many have passed on their love of firearms to their offspring, none of the offspring have raised a weapon and intentionally shot another human being. We are now in the third and approaching the fourth generation in our lineage. 

What are the differences -- as it must be the differences that are responsible? Somehow we learned that human life is precious and must be protected. We also learned somehow during all of our violence-based play that that was all it was - play; that it would only be real if we were forced into a real situation requiring a weapon for protection.

We had few laws concerning weapons, mainly ones about not shooting in town and others like that. Shooting in town was never a needed rule for us, anyway, as we were safety-conscious, and shooting in town could result in accidentally hurting another person. 

Guns were not locked up, nor taken apart for storage, nor fitted with any sort of locks. Why? A gun by itself is no different than a knife in a drawer - neither can harm another person without a person causing it to do so. Even at age 3 or 4, I knew that. One has to be really ignorant to think otherwise. As I write, one of my rifles sits here, just as it has on every other occasion, calmly although fully loaded. It does nothing. 

There are a few things I know that are "different," the first being that we believed in the Ten Commandments. Not being an organized religion person, I still behaved according to the Commandments. I did have enough formal training in church to learn these as a means of living with my fellow man. 

Second, my parents passed along a solid work-ethic and did not spare the rod. Mom left physical punishment up to Dad and, he never hesitated when it was necessary. And, in my case, it was often necessary since I was a young person not above pranks and doing “wrong” things. 

Was I psychologically damaged? I don’t think so. I recognized the need and that the fault was mine. Actual real physical abuse is something else, but getting a spanking was (is) not abuse. Punishment, since most parents are not expert at manipulating children through positive reinforcement procedures, is necessary to establish behavioral patterns. 

And, yes, as a psychologist, I know punishment is non-directional and has the potential of unwanted side-effects. But, if so damaging, why is it that I now hold no malice towards my parents for punishing me with whippings? Never, ever, did it result in even an inkling of using a firearm to defend myself against deserved physical punishment. 

More times than not, the misery I went through while waiting for Dad to get home, served as my punishment (excepting when I did something exceptionally bad). In fact, my worst punishment came from Mom when she said, “Oh, Eddie” in a thoroughly disgusted and disappointed tone.

The truth of the matter is: I am glad I was punished by them as it helped develop my value system, including my respect for other people and their property. 

I was also often physically punished in school. I can’t remember how many swats I received as it numbered way up there, like 20 at a time. The paddlings, believe it or not, didn’t really hurt. What hurt was the fact I was up there in front of a girl I have loved all my life. In other words, the embarrassment was really the punishment, and it sure did serve its purpose. 

Now, and for the last 40 years, I would not consider disrupting a group. I must say, though, when drinking and losing part of my societal inhibitions, I did on occasion disrupt groups but, for the most part, so was everyone else. I quit drinking a decade ago, so that took care of that.

There is another very important difference we see today. When growing up, the government did not have much control over education. (It isn’t supposed to have any, other than perhaps to help establish standards.) One wasn’t ostracized for bringing up religion, for example. But now government has essentially complete control over education -- as unproductive and even counterproductive as is their forcing firearms controls. 

Actually, however, the government's Education Control and their Firearms Control only appears to be stupid. You see, the government knows the facts concerning education and firearms. It knows it does not want people with well-rounded educations with the ability to read and think independently. It knows it wants undisciplined people so that it may create new laws and use these unconstitutional pieces of garbage to punish its enemies (the People) -- and to create other new tyrannical laws.

Governments use the lack of discipline to help create people who might go off the deep end and begin taking out their fellow men. This allows for more gun laws and other unconstitutional acts. Government must control guns in order that the People do not rise up and change the government back to its very limited powers. This is easier to do with an illiterate, unarmed society than it is with a well-educated, armed society.

The government further supports and even demands that kids who are disruptive be put on drugs. And the drugs aren’t just any drugs; they are drugs which have a high potential of resulting in extreme violence from those taking them. If you believe the government did not study this characteristic of depressant, behavior-controlling drugs, you surely have your head buried to the truth concerning the malice and forethought of the government.

For another thing, it is easier to control by drugging up than it is to teach proper respect for other people and their rights. So, parents leave it up to the schools which are controlled by government and, under mistaken beliefs and maybe even a bit of laziness, allow their children to be drugged. In fact, many parents play an active, ongoing role in controlling their children through unnatural chemicals.

Their responsibility for teaching their children has been lessened by shifting responsibility to government entities. How often have you heard: “Boy, I’ll be glad when the kids go back to school.” when people’s kids have behaved badly?

The result is: schools get kids who have not been taught any responsibility for their own actions. And the parents and schools cannot punish them or establish parameters of behavior. Thus, they drug them using the government’s demands.

So, where do I place the blame? Well, the biggest difference between now and then is the degree of government’s (all levels) interference in our lives, from the time a child is born and parents turn them over as government property (the Social Security number people have been led to believe can be required) to the day they die.

In other words, the fault is the shift of responsibility from those most responsible, the parents and immediate society, to those who are by law established in the Constitution of the united States of America and Judaic-Mosaic law, least responsible, the government.

Therefore, Folks, if you want to halt the types of violence we have seen emerge, get back to the basics - the home, churches, your fellow townspeople, and, above all, the principles that made this country originally. 

Put simply, get government out of areas it has no business being in.

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Tyranny is always better organized than freedom. —THOMAS PAINE

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