Bobby Jindal thinks there is a lot of blame to go around when it comes to America's gun violence epidemic. In a blog post on his campaign website, the Louisiana governor and long-shot Republican presidential contender wrote a "sermon" on "something missing from this discussion" about mass shootings.
"What is the root cause of all these evil acts?" Jindal asks. "These people who go into classrooms and churches and murder innocent people? How did we get to this place? These shootings are a symptom of deep and serious cultural decay in our society."
He then lists off what he sees as signs of this decay:
- We glorify sick and senseless acts of violence in virtually every element of our pop culture, and we have been doing that for at least a generation.
- Our movies and TV shows feature a continuous stream of grotesque killing of every kind imaginable. And this is true of virtually every genre, from horror to drama to comedy.
- We celebrate and document every kind of deviant behavior and we give out awards to producers who can push the envelope as far as possible. Rape, torture, murder, mass murder, all are cinematic achievements.
- Our music does the same thing, we promote evil, we promote the degradation of women, we flaunt the laws of God and common decency and we promote it all and we flood our young people with it.
- We have generations of young boys who were raised on video games where they compete with other young boys around the country and the world to see who can kill the most humans. We make it so fun, so realistic, so sensational.
- We devalue human life, we have no regard for the sanctity of human life in any regard, from the unborn, to the old, and to every single person in between, we devalue it and act as if we have almost no regard for humanity.
- Our families are a complete mess, and we have raised tens of millions of young boys who will never become real men because they have no values whatsoever, they have no truth in their lives, and they have no regard for common decency.
Jindal fingered video games, absent fathers, music, abortion, and single mothers as the apparent reasons that Chris Harper-Mercer, like so many men before him, walked into a public place and killed people with guns. But he did not mention the easy and ready access to guns that made Harper-Mercer's killing spree possible.
The one thing that we know definitively about Harper-Mercer, who killed nine people and injured nine others after opening fire last week at a community college in Oregon, is that he had 13 firearms stockpiled before he went on a murderous rampage. It is arguably the only and most important thing to know about Harper-Mercer.
Because lose the small arsenal and the story of a 26-year-old man who planned to shoot and kill as many people as possible has an entirely different ending. Without the guns to carry it out, Harper-Mercer's plot remains a murderous fantasy, and nine people in Roseburg get to leave school, same as any other day.
Bobby Jindal is right about one thing, though: America's gun violence epidemic is an indication of a deep cultural decay. What else could we call the lack of action—and outright denial—in the face of such predictable violence?