The Valentine’s Day tragedy in Parkland, Florida – in which 17 innocent people, most of them high school students, were murdered by a mass shooter – has dominated the news ever since.

Predictably, the media and liberal activists have come together to create a false narrative and advance a dangerous cause. In this case, their push for more gun control is not based on logic or evidence; it is an emotional, gut-level reaction that “guns are bad,” people who own guns are “bad,” and that Americans, as a whole, should be more dependent on government and less reliant on themselves.  

When it comes to gun control, the facts are in, and they are not kind to gun control supporters.  For any fair minded-person, the issue was largely settled by economist John Lott, whose 1998 book, More Guns, Less Crime took a statistical approach to the gun debate. His conclusion?  Gun control does not reduce crime; it actually makes crime worse.  Communities that make it relatively easy for law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns are safer.

Liberals, because of their worldview, cannot conceive that “more guns” equals “less crime,” because that would mean self-reliant Americans don’t need bigger government.  What liberals propose instead, is a trade-off: Give up your gun rights and the government will protect you.

This is a dangerous bargain if you care about civil liberties. There’s a reason people say, “it’s the Second Amendment that makes all the other amendments possible” – because it’s true.  History is full of examples of emerging dictatorships that disarmed their citizens before committing atrocities. But even if you think something like that could never happen in America, a closer look at what happened in Parkland reveals a massive failure of government – a failure that never should have happened.

Consider:

  • Since 2008, the Broward County Sheriff’s office received between 23-45 calls about Nikolas Cruz or his brother.  At least two of those callers specifically mentioned Cruz’s weapons and that he could become a school shooter.
  • The FBI received at least two warnings about Cruz, including a detailed call about one month before the shooting.
  • The school’s armed School Resource Officer (SRO) didn’t enter the building during the shooting. Neither did three Broward County Sheriff deputies who arrived on the scene but then stood behind their vehicles, according to the Coral Springs police.

These are just some of the facts that don’t fit the media narrative, and inevitably, more will come out.  We can conclude, however, that too many government employees were negligent in carrying out their duties. Instead of imposing more gun control, we should do a better job of enforcing the laws we already have on the books. 

Now is also the time to do some soul searching - looking at the societal factors that make disturbed young men like Cruz increasingly common. This is a complicated subject and there are no easy answers. However, we shouldn’t be afraid to look at all facets of this issue, and not just the ones that are politically convenient. For example, David Kupelian ofWND.com points out that “a disturbing number of perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on — or just recently coming off of — psychiatric medications.”  Cruz, too, was on medication for emotional issues. 

As Selwyn Duke of The New American observes, “the human mind is complex and not wholly understood,” and so, “taking mild-altering drugs is a risky proposition” – especially for young people, and especially when taking drugs whose side effects include “suicidal ideation” and “homicidal ideation.”  “The media have little appetite for exploring this issue,” Duke says, because “unlike with guns, legal drugs aren’t a sexy issue that can be used to scare people.”   

Peter Hasson of The Federalist also makes an important observation: Of all the shootings on CNN's “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings in U.S. History" list committed by young males, only one was raised by his biological father. Cruz, too, had no father figure.

“Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled," Warren Farrell wrote in USA TODAY. "The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness…At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well-channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces.”

We clearly have a growing problem with young men who feel alone in the world and have no parental figures in their lives. We need to figure out how to reach these young men and help them become productive members of our society.  New laws won’t do that. But if each and every one of us chooses to expand their circle of love and attention – especially to those who don’t have that many people in their lives to begin with – we could make a real difference, one person at a time.