where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Quickest, Easiest Way to Fix Congress

The Quickest, Easiest Way to Fix Congress
or, The Real Reason Nothing Gets Done in Washington

This reminds me of the joke: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?  Answer: just one, but it has to want to change.
The idea that Congress has a problem and needs to change is not the thinking of a scattered few people in our country.  Congress has some of the lowest approval ratings of anything that the public is asked about.  One side in Congress sees the other side as blocking everything they want to do.  That other side almost feels powerless from stopping that first side from doing anything that they want to do.  And everybody else doesn’t see anything getting done, except maybe for that health care bill passed in the middle of the night, which apparently nobody read prior to voting for it.
Whatever your views are about that health care law, the whole point was to get insurance for 47 million uninsured Americans and make it affordable.   So they require everybody to get insurance, and about 7 million new people sign up.  That’s less than 15% of that 47 million, and the government (i.e. everybody else) is paying for part of those policies.  That’s the only reason some people found it affordable.  Millions more lost their plan or saw their rates soar, and this whole plan is praised as a success.  Success isn’t what it used to be.
The problem with Congress is usually attributed to the political differences between the two major parties.  One side sees the government as responsible for fixing every problem that the country has, to meet every need, to provide for the general welfare of every person.  These solutions all cost money, either in direct payments to people or in programs that provide services to people.
Another way of looking at this, albeit it a more critical and skeptical one, is that this party realizes that people who benefit directly from this use of money will most likely vote to continue to receive that benefit regardless of its overall effect on the country, the economy, or anyone else.
The other side, while not immune to this practice of spending money to help people and at the same time expecting that this will ensure their votes to keep these same people in office, believes (for the most part) that the level of debt this country has reached and the number of things that the government is doing in trying to manage people’s lives is putting the country, the economy, and the very people it is trying to help in serious danger.     
A big problem in fixing Congress is that the lawmakers make the laws.  All of them, including those that govern themselves.  It would take a religious revival in Congress for Congress to reform itself, but we know that religion has been banned from our government, thanks to a court considered supreme.
Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people.  Notice the evils that he names and doesn’t name.  He doesn’t mention killing or hate crimes.  He mentions behaviors more likely to be found in the highest places of our society than in the lowest, behaviors uniquely suited to people who have positions of power. 
Morality isn’t just about blacks killing blacks in Chicago, mass killers, people saying unkind things in private conversations or saying forbidden words out loud.  Morality is also about how people make the rules for other people and how they use the billions of dollars of other people’s money and whether they use it for noble ends in responsible ways without seeking personal gain from its use.  The temptations of power require more morality than average people can ever imagine.
Why rob banks when you can go into public office and control millions or billions of dollars legally.  People get rich being in Congress.  I would like to see a law where politicians declare their net worth before serving and at the end of each term of their service.  I use the word ‘service’ loosely here.  But don’t count on that law being passed, because, well, lawmakers make the laws, and why would they make a law like that?
So how do you fix something when the people responsible for fixing it are the same people who created the problems in the first place? 
The system was originally set up so that the members of the House of Representatives would change frequently, as they would be voted out of office whenever the public didn’t like how they were running things.  But the lawmakers have been able to take much of that power away from the people by how they are able to draw up voting districts that reflect party loyalty and other laws and means that almost assure people retaining their positions once they are elected.
I would like to suggest one simple reform that the people can demand and shame their representatives into following.  This one simple procedure can do more for getting bipartisanship and results than any other course of action.  We can’t make Congress do this, but if the public backs it, talks about it, gets the media to talk about it, we can make it hard for them not to comply.
So what is this simple reform that will transform Congress?  We must demand that Congress do simple legislation.  They call it piecemeal legislation, as a derogatory gesture.
The way Congress normally works now (Both sides have done this in the past, but one side is recognizing more and more that this has to stop.) is that a problem is identified.  The apparent goal is to write a bill as large as possible, covering everything related to the problem and a number of unrelated.  If nobody actually reads the bill, so much the better.  They will give you the main points in a brief summary as well as to the public.
The bill will contain enough good that people will expect you to vote for it.  It will contain a lot of things that you won’t like and things that would never pass on its own.  And it will contain a lot of things that you won’t like but will never know about until long after the bill is passed.  So how do you vote?  If you vote no, you are labeled as a bad guy, putting partisan politics over the interests of the country.  If you vote yes, you will still be a bad guy, because you know you voted for a lot of things that you believe are just wrong for this country.
How do you debate a 2,000 page health care bill, an 800 page immigration reform bill?   You don’t.  And that’s the way they want it.  Certain people in high places want certain things done, and they will do whatever it takes to get it done. 
The people, that’s you, me, and everybody else, need to start demanding that every bill must be short enough to read, short enough that every part of the bill can be and is debated, and never, never rushed to a vote.  A declaration of war after Pearl Harbor could be an allowable exception. 
We need to demand that our reps know what they are voting on and not have to vote for things they don’t want to get what they do.  When bills are debated, then you can see and expose what people are thinking and they have to try to make the case for what they want. 
We can and should demand that Congress be honest with us and responsible with our money. 
We have people demanding immigration reform in our country.  But what would that entail?  There are questions about border security.  There are questions about people who were brought over as children.  People who have used forged identification papers, Social Security cards.  Questions about deportation, splitting families, children born here to illegal parents.  Questions about possible citizenship for illegals. 
How can all of these questions be addressed?  The only way is one at a time.  If you try to do them all at one time, the plans will not be debated, and you’re not going to like at least half of the answers.  Tell your reps to take their time.  Do one thing at a time.  Let them make their best case for what they want.  Then let them decide.
We can’t make Congress do it this way.  They have to want to.  But we can make it known publicly and loudly that we are tired of the way things are done and that they can and need to do them better.  We just can’t complain though.  We have to have an explicit proposal on what they need to do.  And this is it.
















Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Supreme Court and the State of the Nation

The Supreme Court and the State of the Nation
There are few things in life that we call supreme, but I know that, when the Constitution established and described our court system, it was not giving any court this name.  It was simply describing the relation between “one supreme Court” and “such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”  Now we don’t call our district and local courts the ‘Inferior Courts,’ and I am not so sure we should call that other court The Supreme Court.
The problem is that when you have three “equal” branches of government and one has the word ‘supreme’ in its title, it tends to give that one branch a little more equality.  However, I understand that President Obama wants to change the title of President to ‘Supreme Ruler’ or ‘Supreme Being’ to better reflect his understanding of his role.  Now if we were to just call Congress ‘the Supreme Lawmakers,’ then maybe our three branches would again be a little closer to being equal equal branches of government.
We are told that the reason this court is supreme is to serve as a protection for minorities, and not just racial ones, since majority rule isn’t always right or fair.  The fact that most people might want the same thing doesn’t mean that what they want is right or fair to everybody else.  This is what is the called the tyranny of the majority.  The majority can be filled with hate, and so we would need the sensibility of an impartial court of justices with no political agendas to counterbalance that and provide justice for those who otherwise would be disenfranchised.
But then the expression ‘tyranny of the minority’ has also been used for when the laws of a nation can be changed or nullified by a tiny group of people or even one person.  Our current supreme court is a case in point, as it is generally considered to be divided into two very different camps, liberal and conservative, with, I believe, one considered a swing vote. 
Now we can never predict the outcome of any one court case with certainty, but the political landscape today is such that a lot of people often feel safe in trying.  Distinct political philosophies are now seen as more determinative in court decisions than any particular merits of a case.  
We even have the situation where one justice is considering retiring in the near future, because he wants to be sure that the current President chooses his successor, as this would ensure that the new justice is of the same political bent as he, so this would then ensure that future court decisions are decided in a certain way.
In other words, the fate of certain laws and the overall direction of our country, commonly called a democratic one, can now rest in the hands of just one person.  Something is not right with this picture. 
Of course, there have always been disagreements among people.  That just shows the uniqueness of every human mind.  But what has changed are the very basic foundational views of life and government that give direction to all of our decisions, such that any kind of compromise between them has become next to impossible.
For example, if your spouse had maxed out all your credit cards and you say this has to stop, what would a compromise look like?  A new credit card with a lower spending limit?  The choice is either to continue borrowing or to stop borrowing.  There is no middle ground. 
Politically and culturally, our country has the same problem.  Two sides are going in opposite directions, so a compromise means either nobody goes anywhere or you go in a direction you don’t want to go.  One side spends money as the solution to every problem with no regard to whether the money borrowed is paid off.  The other side sees this borrowed money as a drain on the economy and the human spirit.  Again, there is no middle ground.  You’re either still borrowing money you never expect to pay off, or you stop.
So how did our country become so polarized?
Well, it was that court we call supreme.
It made a ruling in 1947 that changed everything.  The case was about school buses and public money, but the court felt it had to make a ruling on the bigger picture of the relationship between government and religion, or, we could say, our public and private lives.
"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.  [emphasis mine]
It redefined the most basic principles on which our country had been founded and on which it had been running since its beginning and the almost two hundred years leading up to our founding.  It took one sentence out of the Constitution, separated it from its historical context, and built a system of practices that divided our nation in half, reminiscent of medieval Europe, where there was the State and the Church, each with its respective sphere of influence.  The establishment clause of the First Amendment was for prohibiting the establishment of a national church like they had in Europe.  The first action of the new Congress was to call for a Day of Prayer.   
Religion is a worldview that governs far more than explicit teachings about God.  It involves our entire moral code.  When you remove religion from a government, public life, our schools, you actually are replacing one moral code for another. 
So we have become a country of two basic moral codes: Christianity (often referred to under the word ‘traditional’) and secularism, which is another word for ‘making it up as we go along.’
Our country is polarized, because there are those who either still remember how we used to be or know from their reading that our country is not on the path set forth by our founders.  The other side is in a mad dash to reinvent our country through massive government spending to acclimate more and more people to government help while raising generations of children who only know the new rules about how to live, rules made up to make everybody feel good, like children growing up without parents, who eat what they want when they want, never disciplined or taught how they should live apart from these barest of principles.
A state untouched by religious (read: Christian) influence breeds corruption.  There is just too much power and money for the taking to be used however best serves one’s own interests. 
A government without God becomes God as it assumes responsibility for the success of its people where previously this was considered the individual’s responsibility.
Shouldn’t we assume that the people who wrote, debated, and ratified the First Amendment would know what it meant?  It should be noted that when the Constitution was written, there was no plan to have a bill of rights or First Amendment in the first place.  Alexander Hamilton, who worked on framing the Constitution and who wrote some of the Federalist Papers that made the case for our Constitution, wrote the following:
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.  Federalist no. 84
In other words, he is saying that a bill of rights would suggest that the government had power to restrict or grant rights in the first place, which it didn’t.  It had been also noted previously in the those Papers that
[t]he powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.
The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government.  Federalist no. 45  James Madison
After the Civil War, when Amendments to the Constitution were approved guaranteeing blacks the same rights as others in all the states, that same court saw this to mean as well that the Federal government could make laws regarding almost anything that then could be applied equally to all the states.  So amendments ratified to rectify matters related to slavery ended up giving the federal government more and more power over the daily lives of the people throughout the country.  I think the people who ratified the 13th – 15th Amendments would have done things a little differently if they knew how this court applied them to many different unrelated issues.
Four years prior to the ratification of the Constitution, the U.S. government approved The Northwest Ordinance, which outlined the rules for a number of pending new states, which reads in part:
"Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
So what does public education have to do with religion and morality?  Schools were considered vital in teaching young people about life and how to live.  The First Congress of the United States, the one that ratified the First Amendment, had Bibles printed to be used in all the public schools.  John Adams said that “we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”  And it was the schools that did this, with the help, of course, of strong families.
But schools dealt with the life issues of truth, how to live, and the foundations of Western Civilization.  Let’s assume, hypothetically here, of course, that there is a God.  Shouldn’t this be information that every human being should have?  This would change everything about how a person, or a country, lives its life or conducts its affairs.  How can schools not talk about God or pretend that there is none?  How can schools talk about human origins or the value of human life without talking about whether there is a God who made all this.  Schools are the places you should learn truth.  How can you learn truth if you already omit certain things. The conclusions one would reach would be vastly different, yet we aren’t allowed to even have this debate in school?  And we call this education?
George Washington, in his farewell address, warned, "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion... Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." 
That court that likes to call itself supreme stripped our country of the one thing that guaranteed our future as a nation.  Essentially the court said that the government could not have any connection with anything religious.  Later rulings worked to remove any last vestiges of religion.  Certain practices that have been around forever they have allowed because they are considered only symbolic, like their recent ruling on prayer before public meetings.  They don’t think anybody is praying because they believe that Somebody is actually listening to this prayer and might answer it.  They think the prayer is said only for our own psychological benefit, perhaps to calm the people before discussing the issues at hand.
Religion is no longer considered as something that is true or false.  They don’t think it corresponds to reality but is merely an expression of culture and personal taste.  No one is asking the question of whether there really is a God.  The government must act as if there is not.  People who work for the government, while they are “on the clock” must not show any semblance of a religious faith, lest it may seem to somebody that the government is somehow endorsing a particular belief about God.  Anything religious, whether it’s talking about God or doing something in His Name must be untouched by government money or association.
This ruling actually created the establishment of a new religion: secularism.  A religion is a system of beliefs about life.  Yes, we usually reserve that word for a belief system that includes (a) God, but when a court tries to separate anything governmental from religion, it replaces a system of beliefs about life that include God with a system of beliefs about life that does not include God. 
 There are those who believe the court’s action actually protects religion by keeping it from the influence of government.  But a government uninfluenced by religion must create its own value system, and we are seeing the fruits of it today in the massive government debt, corruption at every level of government, the disvaluing of human life as seen in the number of abortions and killings, the redefinition of societal norms contrary to our entire previous history, the breakdown of the family to give the government more control over the raising of our children, the shift from self-responsibility to government dependency, and a nation that used to lead the world by just about any standard used now becoming below average by most of these same standards. 
Where our society used to recognize The Ten Commandments, now we have only three: equality, fairness, and tolerance.   Love, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, honor, responsibility, and self-sacrifice didn’t make the cut.
We began by noting that we have three equal branches of government in our country, though actually in the beginning this court called supreme was considered the weakest of the three.  Now it has incorporated that word into its name and rules over the other two branches.  It certainly doesn’t create its own cases to rule on, but there are so many cases they are asked to rule on, they get to choose which ones.
Our country has lost its way.  Nine men closed down the road our country was on and told our country to forge a new way without the light and direction of God.  The nation that used to be the world leader, a light to the nations, is hardly a leader in anything anymore.  We let nine men remove the foundations on which our country was built, and the country is floundering.  They were wrong, and it is time to say so.
We don’t have a formal procedure for correcting mistakes like this.  And too many people accept the supreme decisions of that court as being the final word.  For now, it starts with people saying individually, no, the court was wrong.  There is a God.  And He needs to be at the center of life, my life, and the life of my country.  We cannot go on longer living as a country thinking that we don’t need God, His direction, His laws, His protection, His blessing, and His mercy.



The Fair Tax

The Fair Tax
We have been hearing a lot lately here in Illinois about fair taxes, but I question the use of the word ‘fair’ to describe what is being promoted.  What’s so fair about wanting to take 70, 80% of one person’s income while taking maybe 5% from somebody else, or nothing at all as in the case of many with federal taxes?  Is it because some can afford to pay more?  Maybe grocery stores should charge for food based on one’s ability to pay.  Bring your tax returns, and the store will have a multiplier based on your gross earnings.
No, the fair tax is not fair.  It’s exploitation.  What?  Can rich people be exploited?  Certainly, by greedy people who want their money, who shame them into keeping quiet, because they are told they should feel guilty for being successful, I mean rich.  There are always enough people to vote to raise taxes on other people, because there aren’t enough rich people to vote otherwise.
It’s coveting.  That’s a Bible concept, like the Ten Commandments, You shall not covet.  Coveting is wanting something that somebody else has so much that you try to take it from them.  In this case, it’s somebody else’s money that you want to be able to spend it on what you want.
The governments, state, federal, and many locals, don’t really need more money.  They don’t know how to spend the money they already have.  Because they are not spending their own money but ours, they feel free to spend as much as they can for whatever it is they want. 
Government certainly has many legitimate functions, but government and politicians use your money to buy favors, to win loyal voters, and to increase their own and other’s personal wealth.  They spend according to what they need to get what they want.  They don’t have to have the money, because they can always borrow it.  Then they keep looking for new ways to get more money, because the size of the debt makes for bad press.  But they then have good reason to raiser or create new taxes.
And, lastly, it’s stealing.  Like people who take things from companies and businesses, because they figure they’ll never miss it, or they can afford it.  They have so much money already.
No, I am not one of those rich people, but I am tired of the government wanting and taking more and more of my money.








If children grew on trees

If children grew on trees

If children grew on trees, there never would have been such a thing as marriage.  Women would just be lifelong sex slaves of the men and servants.  
Of course, after everybody started dying off from incurable venereal diseases, they may have rethought the whole thing and maybe put some rules into place.
It was Christianity and Judaism which ennobled marriage, teaching husbands to love and cherish their wives and to cherish and train their children.
Whether you believe that God designed the whole thing or evolution (natural causes) put this thing called life together, both ended at the same place: it takes a man and a woman to create new life.  And by implication, the mother and father together are what it takes to raise the child right.  They don’t always succeed, but this is how the system was designed and overall is the best plan available.  You may not want to use the word ‘design’ in describing evolution, but let’s just say that through trial and error, this is what evolution has come up with, fathers and mothers.
Now in the space of a few short years, we as a society have decided to change the whole program and say that children don’t need their mothers and fathers.  We can and will intentionally separate one out of the equation and declare this is just as good as if we had left the one in.
When we have programs for troubled youth, we talk about giving them role models, yet when it comes to gay marriage, we say it doesn’t matter.  Two men can raise a young woman, and two women can raise a young man, and role models are no longer important. 
We are conducting social experiments on our children, and it will take a generation before we will get meaningful results.  Personally, I don’t think this is fair to our children.


adoptee rights and gay marriage

adoptee rights and gay marriage
a letter to a news columnist

Hi Mark
I appreciate your comments about the right for adoptees to be able to see their birth records. 
I would like to add that this is one of the biggest reasons I oppose gay marriage.  As per the Iowa Supreme Court, though I am not sure how the rest of the country is doing it right now, the birth certificates for children born in a gay marriage will have the gay partners’ names on the certificate. 
So a child ‘born’ to a gay couple will never know who one of its parents are and may never really know which of its other ‘parents’ is the real parent.  . 
There are many reasons children end up needing adoption, all of them we would regard as less than ideal circumstances.  But now our society is promoting this as just as good as children born the old fashioned way.  Children deserve better.
Thank you

Larry Craig

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Global warming and snow in May

Global warming and snow in May

Global warming has now become climate change, apparently to draw attention to all kinds of other changes to the weather, usually the more dramatic changes. 
Yet the basic premise behind both is that greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide, which humans exhale and plants inhale (?), trap heat in our atmosphere. 
So it would seem to me that, regardless of however our weather changes, more hurricanes, stronger storms, etc., the one constant should be warmer temperatures, consistently warmer temperatures.  If these greenhouse gases are trapping heat in our atmosphere, then I see no reason for the unusually cold spring we are having this year.  (It was snowing on my way to work yesterday.) 
To say it only would have been colder without the greenhouse gases, I think, is making it clear that we are not dealing with science here.  If everything is a proof of the hypothesis without showing why it does, then we are begging the question and not following the evidence.  If a science experiment only works most of the time, then it is not proving causation but correlation.  It’s the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc, thinking that because one event follows another, the first event caused the second.

No explanation is given why greenhouse gases that trap heat would cause wild fluctuations in the weather.  Are wild fluctuations only a recent phenomena? 

Friday, May 2, 2014

How to Stop the Killing

How to Stop the Killing

A letter to the editor

Another child is tragically killed in Chicago, and people look for answers to this senseless violence.  Your editorial focuses on the two parts of this problem: the children and the guns. 
The emphasis seems to be on the guns, the need for more laws.  I think we forget the fact that we already have a law against killing people.  The gun used in the murder in question was stolen.  And we have laws also against stealing.  The gun used in this killing jammed, and the killer’s friend even fixed it and gave it back to the killer to shoot with.
The problem here is a lot bigger than guns.
You pointed out the need for a parent to teach their children.  I found it interesting and significant that you referred to “a parent’s responsibility to raise a child right” and not to ‘the parents’ responsibility.’  You implied correctly that most of the children involved here only have one parent close at hand. 
In our efforts to rid our society and culture of outworn tradition (viz. religion, specifically Christianity), we have separated sex from love, commitment, and marriage in the name of freedom and equality.  We have separated children from marriage in the name of personal autonomy.  And we have separated women from the home, again, in the name of equality. 
We laugh at and ridicule what we call the Ozzie and Harriett lifestyle as symbols of an unenlightened past where women are seen as serfs in a male-dominated society.  We’ve destroyed the home, which was always the primary source of teaching our children how to live.  We have taught our daughters that it is more important to have a career than to have a family.  And to be sure that we have as few women as possible left in the home, we sent millions of our better paying jobs overseas to ensure that everybody would have to work if a family wanted to afford a middle class lifestyle.
So there is no home to speak of anymore to raise our children and to teach them how to live. 
So you tell us we need to hire “more school social workers and counselors” to make up the difference, and “invest in the teaching of core social skills, such as anger management and conflict resolution.  . . . [because r]esearchers have long known that an emphasis on social skills in schools yields impressive gains in classroom performance and school culture.”
So we destroy the home and the answer is to hire more and more government employees, trained in teaching children how to adapt and get along but not how to live.  As the state assumes more and more responsibility for the lives of its constituents, it goes deeper and deeper into debt, as it costs the people more and more to pay for these services.
Teaching students “core social skills, such as anger management and conflict resolution” does not teach students to value human life or to know right from wrong.  It does not teach them to actually love or care about their classmates. 
Our schools and society used to embrace values from a Christian perspective.  The Bible used to be a part of the school curriculum.  Christianity teaches people to love one another, love your neighbor.  Now we teach our children to tolerate each other.  That means to put up with, or, in practice, to ignore each other.  It is only religion that teaches love.  There is no basis or reason in secularism, evolutionism, or science to love your neighbor.  Even social compact theories, while valuing the collective body, give no incentive to actually love anybody.
We have promoted diversity in the theory that we would learn from each other, but it often only widens the gulf between people, highlighting and even encouraging the language and cultural differences that emphasize how much we don’t have in common rather than what we do.  There is less and less glue to hold our society together as more and more people are seen as parts of smaller distinct groups.

As we have destroyed the family in the name of freedom and rid ourselves of our traditions (read: Christianity) in the name of progress, we find we are destroying our freedoms from another direction as the state assumes more and more control over our lives, which we seem to be no longer able to manage by ourselves.