My View on Gun Violence

Used by permission of Bruce Chester

Bruce Chester is an educator and entrepreneur with 20 years prior experience in the United States Army.

Bruce is also a professional actor and performer, having graduated from Salem State University with a degree in Theater, minor in music. He regularly performs the acclaimed production, ‘Hold High the flag, Sgt. Carney’ recounting the life of William Harvey Carney (February 29, 1840 – December 8, 1908) of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

Bruce is also active in politics, currently running for his second campaign to represent the Massachusetts 2nd Worcester District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. 

Guns. A very polarizing topic in 2022.  To many of us, this is puzzling since guns have been a part of American life since the Revolution.  For some, guns are a means to protect family and property; for others it is a sport or used in the sport of hunting.  For outlaws they represent power and dominance over their adversaries; for law enforcement, they are tools of the trade.  For a select few they are viewed as a great equalizer, the paintbrush used for artistic expression in their hellish isolation.  They are the disenfranchised, the mentally ill loners.  They range from children as young as eleven to the elderly.  They all have a myriad of reasons for their murderous rampage, but why does there seem to be a rise of deadly shooting in the 21st century? What’s changed?

Many may blame heavy exposure to violent video games.  Others may find blame in mental illness and/or years of abuse or neglect. The media, entertainment or blatant racism have all been listed as the cause of the creation of the modern-day villain known as the school shooter. But the most erroneous and impossible culprit is the gun itself.  Many people believe that if there were no guns then the problem would miraculously disappear. Others believe that restricting access to guns overall would somehow cause criminals to repent of their evil ways and voluntarily give up their lust for power. At the risk of understatement, blaming the gun for violence is like blaming your car for road rage.

The truth of the cause of school gun violence is simple.  We refer to it by many names but to be brutally honest we need to call it what it is: pure, unbridled evil.  Evil acts are what they are because of what they are.  If you give a good person a gun, then they will do good things with it, hunt for food, when necessary, protect life and property and most importantly, stop evil.  The good guy with a gun is not a myth.  I was a good guy with a gun for 20 years. As a US Army officer deployed to a war zone, I was charged with the responsibility that, if necessary, I would need to take up arms.  Fortunately, since I was not a war fighter, that moment never came.

As a constitutional conservative, I firmly believe that the Constitution is a solid, firm document.  That does not mean the changes can’t or shouldn’t be made, but rather it should take a significant amount of effort and debate to do so.  The people must have the final word.  The Second Amendment was built into the Constitution in order that the people do have the final word.  Not make gun ownership something that is part of our culture but to establish the idea that the people would never lose all their other rights. It’s to prevent the government from subjugating the people, much like England did during colonial times.  There is a faction of our society that would have you believe that that is no longer necessary. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the truth. Just ask Venezuela.

But back to school gun violence. The evil that spawns these events are difficult to pin down.  Parents are allowing their children to surf the internet unchecked.  They even allow their kids to view highly inappropriate material and engage in it themselves.  This must stop. The only thing that has a real chance to affect this trend positively is for people to regain their spiritual health and well-being.  Yes, yes, I know. People don’t want religion pushed on them.  But think of it this way: are we any better off than when half a century ago we thought it was weird when people didn’t go to church? Ignoring our spiritual health and condition has had a consistently negative effect on American life.  It started in 1963 when Madelyn Murray O’Hair, a socialist/communist and devout atheist, lobbied successfully to have mandatory prayer completely removed from Baltimore public schools.  Once prayer in school was deemed unconstitutional (due to the erroneous misconception that the First Amendment mentions ‘separation of church and state’), the downhill slide of morals in high school began exponentially.  Teenage pregnancy, drug use, violence all rose to dizzying height over the following decades.  The loss of our cultural common sense was in full swing.

So now we have minors taking guns into elementary schools.  When was the time to intervene? Why did no one see indicators or if they did, why didn’t they do enough to prevent this?  I am talking about the parents.  Ultimately, it falls to the people who knew him best to figure out if they knew him at all.  My father had a saying that is so apropos: “A child is only as good as they are taught”.  This includes the lesson that their emotional support starts in the home. 

Bruce Chester 

Bruce Chester
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