Gary Varvel: Why new laws, gun bans won’t stop mass murders

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Gary VarvelWhy did two shooters kill 31 people and injure dozens in less than 24 hours?

The Democrats and the media blamed President Trump. The president blamed mental illness and Hollywood’s violent movies.

But Jesus blamed evil actions on evil hearts. In Matthew 15:19, Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders … .”

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee voiced this sentiment on Fox News. He said, “The common denominator in all of this is not the particular weapon. It’s the hate inside the heart. It’s the loss of morality. It’s that disconnect from a God who values all people who would never let me do that to another person because I would basically be doing it to God and to myself—to just destroy another human life. That’s just not how we’re hardwired from the Father above.”

He’s right.

According to media reports, the El Paso shooter’s manifesto spelled out the hate in his heart. And the Dayton shooter “exhibited a fascination with the devil, using such hashtags as “#selfie4satan,” “#HailSatan” and “@SatanTweeting.”

Is this evidence of mental illness or a spiritual problem? No one knows, but I wonder, how did these two killers get that way? And how can parents keep their children from following in their deadly footsteps?

But that won’t be discussed. Instead, we’ll debate meaningful background checks and common-sense gun control laws, whatever that is, and nothing will change.

In the past 50 years, as America has become more secular, we have seen the devastating results: broken homes, wasted lives, drug-related deaths, violence and more than 60 million abortions.

As we have turned our backs on God, we put our trust in government. That is why the public, the press and politicians are demanding a political solution to end gun violence.

But I am reminded of the words of John Adams, the second president of the United States, who said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Wholly inadequate? Yes, because laws can’t change people’s hearts.

The Brookings Institution estimates that there are close to 300 federal and state gun laws already on the books. Let’s be honest: Passing more laws won’t stop lawbreakers, because lawbreakers break laws.

Just four days after the Dayton shooting, a man in California killed four people with a knife. That story got almost no attention. I suspect it didn’t fit the gun-control narrative.

According to the FBI, in 2016, 1,604 people were killed by “knives and cutting instruments” and 374 were killed by “rifles.”

And need I remind you of 1978, when 909 people died at Jonestown—all but two from cyanide-poisoned Kool-Aid.

Robert Winthrop, the 18th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives said, “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”

Since so many people can’t control themselves by a power within, we have been forced to increase our police force and build more prisons to control them from without.

The real cause of mass shootings lies in the hearts of the people pulling the trigger. Government can’t change the human heart. Only God can do that.•


Varvel is a political cartoonist and illustrator who retired from The Indianapolis Star last year. Send comments to

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