Twin Tragedies

7 minute read

August 5, 2019

This was a tragic and bloody weekend, with mass shootings at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas (at least 20 dead at this writing) and an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio (27 injured and 9 dead), as well as widespread shootings in Chicago. 

Despite all those who are denouncing the idea of prayers for the victims (do a Google search for “Thoughts and prayers are not enough” and see how many hits you get), I will continue to pray for the victims and their families and for an end to this mindless violence, and I hope you will, too.  In fact, amid all the finger-pointing and blame-laying and repulsive attempts to turn these tragedies to political advantage before the bodies are even cold, I would posit that the lack of thought and prayers is probably the single biggest factor in what is behind them.

Let’s examine all the things that politicians and the media are telling us are to blame for these sickening mass killings and see if they hold up to scrutiny.

“Beto” O’Rourke immediately tried to blame President Trump for the El Paso shooting, accusing him of being an “open, avowed racist” and “white nationalist” who is inciting racism and violence.  For example, he said Trump called Mexicans “rapists and criminals.” Except that Trump didn’t do that.  That story has been debunked repeatedly.  Trump called MS-13 gang members rapists and criminals, and that’s true.  I also don’t see how someone who has repeatedly denied being racist can be an “open, avowed racist.” 

Media outlets such as the A.P. and Newsweek also resurrected known fake news to push the “Trump is inciting racist violence” theme, like the claim that he said there were “fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville riots, implying that he said there were fine people among the white supremacists.  He was actually talking about both sides of the debate over removing Confederate monuments, as he made clear to a reporter at the time.  I could argue that these cynical attempts to interject divisive racial motives into comments where they clearly weren’t intended are worsening race-based violence, but the people who do that never seem to notice it in themselves.

Fellow Presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar also tried to jump on the “blame Trump” bandwagon in a less incendiary way.  At least she did place the responsibility where it belonged: on the shooters.  Both she and “Beto” got backlash for politicizing the tragedy. But that didn’t stop gun control advocates from immediately calling for a special Senate session to pass more gun laws before they even knew whether they’d make any difference.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/amy-klobuchar-accuses-trump-of-fueling-hate-in-wake-of-el-paso-shooting-criticized-for-politicizing-tragedy

So, were the killings motivated by President Trump’s rhetoric?  The El Paso shooter (I refuse to mention their names and glorify murderers) reportedly wrote a deranged “manifesto” in which he predicted the media would blame his actions on Trump, but he said he’d been angry over illegal immigration for years before Trump ran for office.  He wanted to segregate America by race, which is something the left is bringing back. And he thought illegal immigrants were using up resources that should be spent on universal health care and a guaranteed income, hardly issues favored by Trump supporters.

As for the Dayton shooter, he reportedly described himself on Twitter as a far-left Democrat and Elizabeth Warren supporter who praised Satan, was upset by Trump’s election, and was impatient for socialism to come.  Classmates described him as a bully who liked to threaten women.  One of his deceased victims was his own sister. 

https://heavy.com/news/2019/08/connor-betts/

And the tragedy that’s being largely overlooked by the media: over the weekend, 49 people were shot, six fatally, in various shootings in Chicago (Chicago gang shootings can't be blamed on Republicans, lack of gun laws or racism, so they tend to get little press coverage.)

So it seems pretty obvious that President Trump’s rhetoric was not a common denominator in the killings.  They happened in a red state with fewer guns laws, a blue city/state with strict gun laws and a swing state, so gun laws weren’t the common denominator. 

They happened in Republican-led Texas and in Chicago, where the last Republican mayor left office in 1931. And the shooters included a radical segregationist and a Democratic socialist, so politics wasn’t the common denominator.

They involved a shooter reportedly targeting Mexicans, a shooter who apparently targeted his sister and people at random, and young people largely committing black-on-black violence, so racism wasn’t the common denominator.  

And to those who try to blame it on the killers’ tool of choice – some particular type of gun – I’d remind them that in places that banned guns, knife attacks are on the rise. Some have been stabbing rampages, leaving many dead and injured.

So what do all these attacks have in common?  What has changed since the days when every pickup in my high school parking lot had a rifle rack in the back window, and nobody ever thought to shoot their classmates?

Leftists like to apply the term “toxic” to everything they don’t like.  But masculinity isn’t “toxic.”  What has become “toxic” is our culture. 

We wonder how children could have grown up with no respect for human life.  I wonder why anyone thinks they would respect the sanctity of life.  They’re told from an early age that it’s a basic human right to rip a baby from its mother’s womb and dismember it for “convenience.”  If anyone tries to post the words “Thou shalt not kill” in a school or other public place, there’s a lawsuit to remove it.  Mass media promotes violence without consequence as entertainment.  Just last week, Newsweek, the same magazine that’s trying to blame mass shootings on Trump’s rhetoric, ran a ridiculous defense of Antifa, excusing their violent tactics as simply an expression of their passionate beliefs.  Punching someone for wearing a MAGA cap, or setting fire to property or bashing someone in the skull with a bike chain?  Hey, man, people who disagree with me are fascists, and fascists have it coming, right? 

All of this amorality and dehumanization of others is amplified by social media, where anything you disagree with is reason to make death threats (an EIGHT-YEAR-OLD child had to leave the Internet because her family received death threats, just because she was poking fun at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…and I guarantee you those threats didn’t come from Trump supporters.)  The anonymity and distance of the Internet first encouraged people to say horrible things they would never say to another person’s face…then over time, people became so disconnected from others that they started saying and doing such things to other people’s faces because they no longer even know how to relate to other human beings.

Think that’s an overstatement?  A new YouGov survey found that 22% of Millennials said they have “zero friends.”  Another 27% said they have “no close friends.” The younger Generation Z group wasn’t surveyed, but other polls have found they also report extreme loneliness, so I doubt the results would be much better.

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/8/1/20750047/millennials-poll-loneliness

The mayor of El Paso was right when he described the attack in his city as “pure evil.” 

https://www.foxnews.com/media/el-paso-wal-mart-shooting-mayor-evil

The bottom line is this: you can pass laws, blame the tools, ban free speech, point fingers and argue politics from now until doomsday.  But you’ll never legislate the evil out of people’s hearts.  This is never going to end until we have a reawakening of morality and values, and until kids are brought up once again to believe that we are all made in the image of God, that life is sacred and superficial differences like skin color are meaningless. 

That won’t happen until we once again accept that children need to be raised by parents and guided in moral instruction, to be taught the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments, to treat each other with respect and decency, and to work and socialize together, in schools, community organizations and places of worship, not just online.  They need to learn to care for each other, respect each other and watch out for each other - in person! - so that when one starts to go astray, to feel bullied or alienated, or to start down the wrong road, someone else is there to notice it and care enough to say and do something about it. 

Until then, passing more laws and pointing more fingers is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  That’s why I will keep ignoring the scoffers and saying prayers and urging everyone to join together and do the same. 

It’s not a meaningless gesture.  It’s the only thing that’s ever really going to help. 

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Comments 1-25 of 226

  • Julie Singer

    08/15/2019 03:18 PM

    Thank you Gov. Huckabee for speaking the truth!! God Bless you and your family and loved ones!!

  • Silas Arch

    08/13/2019 05:56 PM

    Why not ban all guns, and when the gun nuts get upset, just send them prayers? If prayers are good enough consolation for people whose children were murdered, then prayers are good enough consolation for people who miss their guns.

  • Karen Bryant

    08/12/2019 09:04 AM

    You are so 'right on". Our family units have fallen apart, with 'parents' more interested in their own comforts, money, and their time, than spending time with their kids and conveying morality. The Ten Commandments still stand. Loving your neighbor as you do yourself, and loving God above all else would make this a better world. Prayer for each other changes our view of others and places a godly perspective on our value of them.

    Thanks so much for your commentaries. They make sense.

  • Russell Richards

    08/11/2019 11:48 AM

    This is the only thing I have ever read by Mike Huckabee.
    It seems a little vague. Maybe You mean by "we" christians? If not, then words like these are hopeless. The lost are lost and don't know it. The great commission is for believers only. It seems clear the railing against "thoughts and prayers" is actually calling out the failure of believers to act, not just talk.

  • Deborah S Stahl

    08/10/2019 05:22 PM

    What he said here is absolutely true. Every last word and unless Congress and all Americans believe it and do what he has said we are doomed.

  • Natalie Milligan

    08/10/2019 02:01 PM

    'For example, he said Trump called Mexicans “rapists and criminals.” Except that Trump didn’t do that. That story has been debunked repeatedly. Trump called MS-13 gang members rapists and criminals, and that’s true.' Nice try, but here's the EXACT transcript of trump's words: "The US has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems. Thank you. It's true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." (And, of course, by your logic, it means that trump thinks some MS-13 gang members are good people?) What a joke.

  • Bonnie Parvino

    08/09/2019 10:05 PM

    THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF VIOLENCE IN THIS WORLD TODAY.>>>I DO NOT FEEL THE "ANGRY VERBAGE" THAT IS ESPOUSED BY SOME JUSTIFIES THE TOTAL LACK OF RESTRAINT BY OTHERS.>>> NEITHER DO I FEEL IT IS A NECESSITY TO JUMP ON THE "GUN CONTROL BANDWAGON." I WAS QUITE HAPPY TO FIND THAT THE CHURCH IN SOUTH TEXAS WHERE MANY WERE SAVED THAT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SAVED IF A NEIGHBOR HAD NOT HAD "GOOD EARS" & A "GUN." >>> WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE MUST BE ABLE TO TALK AND FIND SOLUTIONS. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY WE ARE CHRISTIANS. I LOVE THIS COUNTRY. AND I PRAY AND I URGE EACH OF YOU TO DO THE SAME. BONNIE PARVINO

  • Ann-Morgan Krueger

    08/08/2019 03:01 PM

    Absolutely one of the best articles I've ever read. You have nailed the true problem on the head and addressed it beautifully. Thank you!!!

  • J. Lopez

    08/08/2019 09:21 AM

    Wow. I guess you've been living under some kind of mental rock for 50 years. Thoughts and prayers have done absolutely nothing for anyone ...ever! With all of the billions of T&Ps suggested since ANY tragedy the world has experienced, they have have yet to prevent the deaths of anyone. They are about as useful as your god. All these so called X-Tian prophets running around claiming to have predicted the Trump presidency, but where were they on these shootings? Yeah... con artists, the lot of you.

  • Silas Arch

    08/07/2019 06:38 PM

    If prayers work, then why do mass-shootings still occur? Over 70% of Americans are Christians. Presumably they can be counted on to pray sincerely for no more shootings to occur. Yet shootings keep happening. Come to think of it, if prayers work, why does cancer still exist?

    Mike, you're making the same old fear-based argument that peddlers of superstitious faith have been making for thousands of years. You claim that society’s ills are attributable to lack of faith in the "god" you're trying to push on your audience. But the facts of history and current reality prove otherwise.

    The Medieval Period, when Christianity held sway over all of Western Civilization, was not a good time to be alive. Plague, war, famine, slavery, ruthless monarchy, no civil rights, no human rights, rampant injustice and oppression, crude healthcare, short life expectancy, raging brutality, dreadful unchecked poverty, suffocating ignorance... That’s what life was like when Christianity was running the show. And judging by the political actions of today's Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians, you all can't wait to drag society back to those lovely Dark Ages.

    In the present day, secular countries far outshine religious countries in every measure of human well-being. Repeated studies have shown that countries with a high percentage of atheists/agnostics are more peaceful, free, generous, and healthy than highly religious countries. Moreover, religious countries have significantly more homicide, crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, abortion, poverty, and disease than non-religious countries do. These are facts that superstition-pushers like you don't want people to know.

    And yes, there is a direct line between the Republican Party's hateful, divisive, racist, xenophobic rhetoric and the rise in homegrown white supremacist terrorism. Your support for the "President" amounts to support for hate, terror, and murder. The blood of the victims is on your hands.

  • Nancy Jordan

    08/07/2019 06:05 PM

    Amen! So true

  • Silas Arch

    08/07/2019 05:52 PM

    If prayers work, then why do mass-shootings still occur? Over 70% of Americans are Christians. Presumably they can be counted on to pray sincerely for no more shootings to occur. Yet they keep happening. Come to think of it, if prayers work, why does cancer still exist?

    Mike, you're making the same old fear-based argument that peddlers of superstitious faith have been making for thousands of years. You claim that society’s ills are attributable to lack of faith in the "god" you're trying to push on your audience. But the facts of history and current reality prove otherwise.

    The Medieval Period, when Christianity held sway over all of Western Civilization, was not a good time to be alive. Plague, war, famine, slavery, ruthless monarchy, no civil rights, no human rights, rampant injustice and oppression, crude healthcare, short life expectancy, raging brutality, dreadful unchecked poverty, suffocating ignorance... That’s what life was like when Christianity was running the show. And judging by the political actions of today's Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians, you all can't wait to drag society back to those lovely Dark Ages.

    In the present day, secular countries far outshine religious countries in every measure of human well-being. Repeated studies have shown that countries with a high percentage of atheists/agnostics are more peaceful, free, generous, and healthy than highly religious countries. Moreover, religious countries have significantly more homicide, crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, abortion, poverty, and disease than non-religious countries do.

    These are facts that superstition-pushers like you don't want people to know.

    And yes, there is a direct line between the Republican Party's hateful, divisive, racist, xenophobic rhetoric and the rise in homegrown white supremacist terrorism. Your support for the "President" amounts to support for hate, terror, and murder. The blood of the victims is on your hands.

  • Diane Wipf

    08/07/2019 05:28 PM

    Praise God for your wise perspective Mike! Yes, it's a much deeper problem than the media and politicians would portend. It's a spiritual issue which affects our relationships, our homes and our communities, and yes, our nation. Come Lord Jesus, come. Bring truth so people can repent; soften hearts so change can happen; make us bold but tender towards those in our sphere's of influence. Let us be peace-makers today!

  • Kevin

    08/07/2019 05:14 PM

    "More thoughts and prayers"? Really? How's that worked out since Sandy Hook? How did all your religious upbringing and praying work to keep your son from having so many run ins with the law and becoming an animal abuser and torturer?

  • Mary Hare

    08/07/2019 04:53 PM

    Yes, we need to become better people in many walks of life. However, having a leader who fires up and feeds the existing hate and evil does not help. He is beyond belief in his rallies and his tweeting. A leader has to weigh words and emotions. It is sad that we have come to a place where people support his immature behavior and join him. Very sad!

  • MAGA 2020+

    08/07/2019 03:14 PM

    I am continually impressed by how stupid you can be. As a matter of fact, I'm impressed at how evil and stupid we MAGA-ers are! Let's vote for Trump again because we're stupid and beyond help! MAGA 2020!

  • Charlene Irish

    08/07/2019 01:39 PM

    AMEN!!! I totally agree with your comments today...How sad many do not see the slide to a society where anyone will "do what is right in his own eyes"..

  • Carole Weaver

    08/07/2019 12:40 PM

    This is a spiritual problem. The farther our county gets away from God, the more problems we will encounter. We must turn around!

  • Jeanette Porter

    08/07/2019 12:32 PM

    Excellent article, Governor. Too bad that NOT EVERY AMERICAN will read it. Thank you for
    your leadership , and effort in writing. Thanks to Sarah for her humility, and patience,

  • Bill Taylor

    08/07/2019 11:49 AM

    I think we would agree that there is moral decay in our world and there are broken families, there is ‘bullying’ and there is loneliness and isolation and we need to work hard at finally addressing these issues. I agree too that we can never legislate a ‘changes of the heart’. However, solving these issues would not be a ‘return’ to morality as you seem to suggest e.g I dont think we have ever accepted, in our hearts as a con try, that “superficial differences like skin color are meaningless” or that ALL are made in the image of God. I think we need to realize that it would take a new and even more difficult moral and ‘heart change’ effort in our country than even the civil rights era work of the past to ‘change our hearts’. This is why our leadership needs to say more than just ‘non racist’ things. They need to say things that are ‘heart changing. We also need to be willing to look for and consider legislation that may be needed. While having a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy may keep the victims down to 2.5 vs. 14, it will be 0 victims if we can find/help/stop the shooter before the shooting starts. I look forward to your feedback.

  • Veta McCoy

    08/07/2019 10:59 AM

    Please pray for your POTUS! God knows his thoughts better than you do. His words are hurtful to people and his rhetoric is giving to okay for hate out there to cause harm to a group of people.
    So you tell me What Would Jesus Do????

  • John Donovan

    08/07/2019 08:41 AM

    Gov. Huckabee,
    As a result of prayer an idea came to me about how to reach mass shooters prior to their becoming mass shooters. Scientific research indicates the typical alcoholic/addict has 50 interactions with an authority figure of some sort before they realize they have a problem with the addictive substance/behavior. With alcoholics or drug addicts those interactions happen in public with police, etc. With compulsive video game addicts (many of whom use first person shooter games) there is no public interaction with an authority figure. Video game addicts (per the U.N.) use their drug in private. We can't visit the bedroom or basement of every potential mass shooter, but we can place information about video game addiction in the video game environment. We place surgeon general warnings on alcohol, tobacco, etc. We can do the same with violent video games. And the warning label can serve as a portal to sources of help for their addiction (describing the problem they have, others who suffered, but now are living better lives, links to therapists or counselors, etc.). The casual user, and the addict, will ignore this warning label for the most part, but when the addict is sick and tired of being sick and tired of playing the games to avoid their problems - he or she will click on the label/hyperlink and learn how to become free. This is akin to having a recovering alcoholic visit an active alcoholic and share his story. And every time the addict starts to play again, the warning label comes up. What do you think of the idea?

  • Glennis watermsn

    08/06/2019 11:26 PM

    Great idea. Look how well it’s worked so far. (Dumbass).

  • tobias flatow

    08/06/2019 07:19 PM

    All the prayers in the world couldn't stop a smurf car. What a nation of dolts & credules we are to still be thinking in such terms.

  • Christy Okeeffe

    08/06/2019 06:59 PM

    Thank you Mr. Huckabee for bringing light and reason into the dark and terrible events of this past weekend. You always stay the course and I very much appreciate you sharing your perspective and insight. Once again I just wanted to say thank you.