To The Herald-Whig:
Abbie Youkilis, whose niece Jamie Guttenberg lost her life in the Parkland, Fla., shooting, writing in what she titled "A Letter to America," laid the blame for her niece's death squarely at the feet of gun owners and the National Rife Association, insinuating that if you own a gun, you are complicit in the death of the 17 young people.
Having never lost a loved one in a senseless act like this, I can't feel the pain and anguish Youkilis and the other families of the murdered students are feeling. I understand that she is speaking from emotions that are still very raw and painful. But if I may, I'd like to offer a dissenting opinion.
The problem is not guns. The problem is a society filled with violence, from video games to movies to music -- especially rap -- which glorifies murder, rape and hate. Children are becoming desensitized to death and violence at an increasingly younger age.
The problem is not guns. The problem is an epidemic of drug abuse, homelessness and mental illness that society ignores. We are a country of laws. But laws only work when they are enforced. A mentally disturbed teenager should not be able to buy a gun.
The problem is not guns. The problem is children growing up in broken and dysfunctional homes. It's not been so many years ago that we had two and three generations living under the same roof, encouraging and supporting each other with love and understanding.
The problem is not guns. The problem is the absence of God in our country, our homes and our lives. Some on the left make fun of conservatives, including Vice President Mike Pence, who speak of their faith in God and his influence in their lives.
No, America, the problem is not guns. The problem is the darkness in our own hearts and souls and a reluctance to encourage and lift up our brothers and sisters who share this world with us.
In the words of the late Rev. Billy Graham, "Self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle." Amen.