After any tragedy the somehow involves someone else, be it personal - the death of a loved one due to a drunk driver or horrible sexual abuse - or corporate - the massacre in San Bernadino not too far distant - the cry always comes up for more laws. "We need laws to outlaw the things that made this possible" is the chant that is always brought up. "We need to prevent this horror from happening again and making more things illegal is the only way to do it."
The point is correct. We do need to prevent these horrors from happening again. Unfortunately, making things illegal will never really do it. It misses the mark completely.
Oh, it might accomplish something. Perhaps something will be prevented - although laws against alcohol for minors has been entirely successful and laws to keep weapons out of hands of criminals have equally cut down on the crime rate. But the change will be slight at least.
What is needed is a change of the human heart.
The human heart - or more familiarly for the religious, the soul - drives all our decisions. It makes evaluations about what is good and bad, what is acceptable and non-acceptable. It restrains us when we are violating the bounds of what we consider ethical and hounds us when we are not doing as we should. It is the core from which all of our actions spring.
Yet strangely enough, we seem to spend less and less time as a society or even a civilization working on the human heart.
We (and by we, I mean the general society) seek to create a non-judgmental, all-encompassing supportive society - but are constantly surprised when "all inclusive" turns out to mean that anyone can view their behavior as acceptable. We struggle back to redefine - no, not every behavior, just those that do not hurt people - but then find that without creating clear definitions inside the human heart - "redeeming it", as at least Christianity would have it - results in "my way" being the most important thing in anyone's life. We have raised the ego to its greatest height - my lusts must be slaked, my pains must be dulled, my hungers must be filled.
Without acknowledging the importance of the human heart and working to change that, we ultimately change nothing. And so the horrors happen.
I am not one for predictions but I predict this one thing at least: until society decides they want to stop this foolishness of believing they can they can legislate the human heart (as opposed to legislating morality) and turn their attention to the true root of the horrors that happen, the horrors will continue to happen. No matter how many laws are passed.
"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?" - Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)