Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
In a recent letter, Scott McComas sets up skewed comparisons between the realities of the “believer” (supposedly most conservatives) and the “non-believer (apparently most liberals). He then asks, “which reality do you want to live in?” I’ll answer that question. I’d like to live in a reality where people recognize that rarely is life starkly black or white, that nuances exist in backgrounds, experiences, morals, and beliefs. I’d like to live in a world where people are capable of acknowledging that those who think differently than they do, or practice different religions or customs, or who have other ways of solving social issues or problems, could still be respected, even if they don’t agree with them. In this reality, people could recognize that those with different political beliefs or attitudes still have morals, families, and lives of value. I think that, despite our differences, people do have certain common values and shared core beliefs.
McComas espouses a simplistic “us-against-them” mentality and sets up false straw man arguments. In McComas’ perception of reality, most liberals don’t believe in the concept of good and evil or the basic moral guidance of the Ten Commandments. He makes the puzzling statement, “morality is determined outside of man’s control”. I honestly don’t know what that means. Does he think man has no moral choices or accountability for his actions and that we are all just puppets of God? As a liberal and a Christian who tries to follow the tenets of the Ten Commandments, McComas’ “reality” and the twisted assumptions he bases his reality on, offend me. For McComas to state that most liberals are non-believers and further assert that if one doesn’t share his Christian or religious beliefs, then they can’t recognize the existence of good and evil and have no moral guide is patently false. McComas makes declarative statements that actually betray an ignorance of the subject he pretends to understand. With his sweeping generalizations, he maligns non-Christians and atheists as supposedly having no moral compass. He asserts that “in the non-believers’ world, people are basically good”. So would the flip side be that so-called believers (most conservatives, according to McComas) think people are basically evil? Then logically, wouldn’t we need more laws to control this inherent evilness of man?
McComas speaks glowingly of believers finding “ solace and comfort in God “ and that “to rid the darkness of evil, they must fill the world with the light of truth and love”. That is very inspiring. I wish that he would give these ideals more than lip-service. Instead, he has to demonize what he apparently considers “the other side” and dismissively ridicules “non-believers” as trying to combat evil by changing “the laws of Man”. He states that “Man has thousands of laws that have not stopped even the simplest of crimes”. So what this all boils down to is his opposition to gun restrictions. The trouble with McComas’ arguments is that he bases them on faulty “either/or” scenarios. In McComas’ rigid world, you must either be for all guns or against all guns. He leaves no middle ground for respecting the 2nd amendment, but also expecting responsibility and accountability from gun owners. Obviously, there are extremists on both sides of the gun issue. But common sense tells us there is no need for machine guns ( already outlawed ) or semi-automatic weapons like the AR 15 in the hands of regular citizens. They should be restricted to police and military personnel. To be concerned about the proliferation of semi-automatic weapons does not make one automatically anti-2nd amendment. Hunters have the right to own rifles and citizens have the right to own hand guns for self-protection. No one needs an AR 15 in daily life.
McComas noted that “thousands of laws have not stopped even the simplest of crimes”. That is true. People are flawed and make mistakes or use bad judgment. However, laws and rules do help curb crime, accidents, and deaths. McComas uses drunk-driving laws as one of his examples asserting that, even with these laws, “drinking and driving is all too common”. So what is his solution besides filling “the world with the light of truth and love”? Should we have no drunk-driving laws? There are still many car accidents and deaths, so should we get rid of seatbelts and airbags and throw out all driving regulations? These safety devices and rules don’t stop all car accidents and deaths, but they certainly minimize them. Common sense gun responsibility laws that are actually enforced (banning semi-automatic weapons, stricter background checks) won’t eliminate all gun deaths, but they can reduce the potential for them.
Lastly, he was very critical of the CNN town hall meeting of teen survivors and families of the Florida high school shooting massacre, saying that “ not one person at that town hall recognized evil”. He berated them for not acknowledging that “laws can’t stop every tragedy or that guns have saved people from being murdered”. For this Christian spreader of “the light of truth and love” to ignore the searing anguish and trauma those teenagers suffered and to instead callously condemn them, to lack the compassion to recognize the pain underlying their words of anger or raw emotion is, in my opinion, decidedly un-Christian.