December 19th, 2012
09:58 AM ET
5 years ago

Tim Scott points to 'moral decay' after school shooting

(CNN) - Republican Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the new appointee to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, indicated Wednesday he may oppose any gun control legislation in the Senate next Congress, saying instead the larger issue is one of "moral decay."

"I think the solutions are not necessarily in new legislation. Perhaps the solution starts with us examining the mental condition of the person and the persons in the past that have had the desire to create the atrocities we have seen recently," he said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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He added that "mental illness should be a major part of the conversation."

Several Democratic senators and the president have underscored a renewed sense of urgency on gun control legislation in the wake of last week's Connecticut school shooting that left 26 people dead, 20 of them children. Among those voicing a call for change are a few conservative Democrats who have good standing with the National Rifle Association, signaling the latest dust-up over gun rights may translate into actual policy changes.

In addition to addressing mental illness, the South Carolina congressman, who starts in the Senate on January 3 after DeMint officially resigns, said the recent crisis should prompt the country "to engage an entire culture of moral decay and of violence."

But as Washington looks for solutions, Scott cautioned that if conclusions are drawn quickly, they may be "flawed."

"I know that we've heard lots of conversations about what we'll be facing in the 113th Congress," he said. "I look forward to that debate."

Scott, a favorite in the tea party movement, was elected to the House in 2010. He'll fill the remainder of DeMint's term, and signaled through a fundraising email Tuesday night that he'll likely run to keep his seat in 2014.

Filed under: Gun rights • South Carolina • Tim Scott
soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. Barbara Cooper Benbow

    It is to easy for Tim Scott to blame the Hook Elementary shooting on "Moral "Decay" it is the quickest way to simplify and quiet the opposition. But ask Tim Scott, how does he reconcile the words of the Bible, when the WORD says "it is nothing new under the Sun." Tell Tim Scott for me, don't describe or explain it just fix it.

    A South Carolinian

    December 19, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  2. eyesalve

    Jesus, referring to the time of His return said: "as it was in the days of Noah". Genesis 6:11 describing those days has this to say: "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. "Moral decay", might actually be an understatement...

    December 19, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. Kahuna

    Ah yes. The old "Let's talk about vague, nebulous concepts to avoid actually doing anything to really address the problem" ploy.

    Glad to see you're following the GOP party mantra, Scott.

    December 19, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Just a thought ( or 2 or..)

    Please don't start with, "when I was younger we didn't have this or that." As I am sure you are aware that the NRA was not around or strong until the late1980's.

    2nd – many of these types of guns were not around until the last 20-30 years

    3rd – many places where family sent their problem children – to have the devil beat out of them – are no longer around or allowed to beat the kid to death.

    4th – mental health is a problem. One that most people do not want their tax $ spent on.

    5th – more guns does not equal better protection. Look at most of these killing sprees. Done by people with no criminal record and in less populated areas – aka rural or newly metro areas. In these areas, many people have guns and know how to use them, but these people are not there to stop them.

    6th – Tired of bravado from many males, "If I had a gun with me I would have stopped it." Wow, you play a video game and you're tough. Doubt it. I've seen many of these same males on a softball field. We need 1 more out to win and they botch the play. If you choke on a ball field, then I guarantee that you'll wet yourself if someone starts shooting near you. Either that or you'll kill innocent people while trying to take out the shooter.

    7th – people say that they are good Christians but they exclude and judge others who don't look or act themselves. This is picked up by their kids who then exclude people for the same reasons. To get notice sometimes these mentally unstable young males think that by shooting people they will be accepted as tough. Not saying what they do is right, but how many have stopped to think about this aspect? You probably see it at work, don't you?

    8th – I'd pay more in taxes if it meant a fulltime security guard at my kid's school, rather than teachers carrying guns. Think about it. If your kid's teacher had a gun and a kid surprised them and took it, then you'd have a kid having easier access to a gun when they want to do something like this.

    9th – ban automatic guns. If you want a semi-automatic then you give up all rights to the Dr Patient privacy privilege -mental and health. And have to follow the rules similar to what they have in Japan in order to get a gun.

    10th – ban high capacity clips. Really, you need one to take down that dear? How about you go practice more with your gun?

    1th – my right to live is greater than your right to carry a gun. It comes first in the Constitution. Do you stop to wonder if these guns have killed someone who could have found a cure for a disease?

    ( ) was a moment of silence for those whose lives have been forever changed by these tragedies
    God rest their souls and help their families cope

    December 19, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Who Said That

    Isn't like there is a need to rush to judgement. How many times do mass killings need to occur before something is done?

    December 19, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Sal

    Violence is pervasive throughout human history. It has little to do with moral decay but everything to do with human nature. We have people like Mike Huckabee telling us that the reason for violence is because we don't fear God and yet even recent history is full of violent atrocities committed in the name of God, which renders his argument untenable. We can ponder about it and make grandiose soapbox statements and fund studies ad nauseum, and yet, fundamentally, the answer is quite clear: there are those among us with violent tendencies; always have been, and always will be.

    December 19, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. PDBmama531

    Why can't we ever do more than one thing at one time in this country? Our politicians are constantly making us choose between one side or the other. Why can't we have gun regulation AND improvements in mental health monitoring and helping those with issues????? It's either one or the other with these guys. We need it all. And while we're at it, with parenting skills being piss poor, we probably have to get rid of uber violent video games too. Those have become babysitters for these loners and if mom and dad won't do anything, we have to. Everything is on the table now. This cannot happen again!!

    December 19, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. Paul

    I think is is great all these Republicans calling for more/better access to mental health services. Are they ready to pay for it?

    December 19, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Smoke and Mirrors

    You are the reason so many of us left the R party! Give me back my party!

    December 19, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. Joe

    Well I beleive Moral decay has contributed to this problem. Look at Hollywood all the movies that promote killing, all the money they're making off them. Look at all the video games being played by millions of young children, the most popular ones are the ones with the assault rifles used to hunt down the enemy and fill them with bullets. You don't think that doesn't influence young minds? Byt bigger than that is the assault on God. He isn't being taught in our public schools any longer. Matter of fact He isn't allowed in our public schools and is being taken out of any public converstation. Because humans have come to think that their smarter that Him and don't need his advice. So what we have now is a human standard dictating our morals and this is what happens when humans run things. It gets all messed up. Because it is humans who develop these games that are bent on killing, it is humans that are developing movies that protrayings murdering people as being good and it is people that are spending their money alot of money buying these games watching these movies and because of the great profits more are made and more money is being made and more minds are being influenced and becoming addicted to this type of violence and then when it is carried out in real life. We blame the guns and want them banned. But the pieces to the puzzle, they are just fine. That is Moral decay and we're too blind to see it, or we just don't want to see it.

    December 19, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. manyote

    Psychiatric problems have nothing to do with "moral decay".

    December 19, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. LCSWquilter

    It won't take long for him to realize he's been appointed as a minority figurehead and he'll get the same amount of support as Michael Steele did as the minority chair of the GOP - exactly zero.

    December 19, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. Mark

    Ignoring the ill and not providing the help they need is the real moral decay. And these shootings are in part the price we pay for running this country on the cheap. We reap what we sow. So what does he mean? Not what I wrote-he talks the code of the right-religion in the class room. The history of mass murder around the world. Have not seen too many religions that would pass the moral test. Jesus is nauseous at what Christianity has become, a political tool. Help the sick.

    December 19, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. volks

    Could not agree more. Moral decay is at an all time high in America. It's in every nook and cranny. Used to have such a high regards for Americans. It's dwindling fast. All talk and no action. Politics and unchecked bureaucratic strangleholds and bumbling has contributed a fair amount to the growing American moral decay.

    December 19, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. Mark

    seems to be a case of parents not taking their kids problems seriously-columbine: the 2 were building bombs in the basement, Sandy Hook: Mom left guns for her son to get at; I was admitted to the hospital and the first thing they asked was if I had guns at home and if so they would get them-only to prevent me harming myself. Virgina Tech-very sick man. It looks like parents, schools, communities do not take the threat amongst us seriously. Until this happens again.

    December 19, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. MaryM

    Oh timmy, timmy, Talk about anything but guns, eh? Thats a good little GOP token. You will soon join the ranks of Michael Steel

    December 19, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. Tom

    Finally common sense Can anyone here really say that there is not a moral decay in this country? Interesting how school shootings and mass shootings are way up under this presidential administration and does anyone remember that assault weapons were banned during the Columbine shooting and it did not work

    December 19, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  18. mike s

    Let's face it after reading these comments doesn't it make sense that its a little of everything not just guns-lets face it assault rifles have no purpose!moral decay is an issue divorce rates are 50 percent-what ever happen to mario video games its nothing but graphic violence – no religion in school- no disiplining our children its just time out!let's face it we're not as good as our parents(post ww11 pArents) and all of this party line politics is for the birds vote for what's right regardless of party!

    December 19, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. Harris

    I am from SC. I listened with great disappointment as I listened to newly appointed Senator Scott defend gun rights that cater to the worst of mankind. The 2nd amendment should live and live well. Assault weapons should be banned, and gun shows should be required to follow the law of the land regarding background checks. Senator Scott, do you hear the children's voices? They are calling. Let's just take a CHANCE that strengthening gun control COULD make a difference.

    December 19, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. gijames1225

    Undeniably this is a problem of moral decay; but as someone else pointed out we only know for sure from this the moral decay of individuals, not the moral decay of the society as a whole. It would be unjust to rashly start changing or forcing society because we find microcosms of evil in it, which seems to be a given for any society.

    December 19, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. bmkinz1510

    How to combat evil? After the horrific tragedy in Connecticut, many people will be scurrying about seeking ways to protect our children. Ban assault rifles! Lock the children in like a maximum security prison! People will shout and protest! But evil will still be there! Some people will look to politicians! Some people will look to legislation! Some people will look to police departments and local schools! Man has failed us time and time again. And evil is still abound! We have but one Hope!

    December 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |

    Let me translate his statement for you: "My kids weren't involved so there is no need to take action".

    December 19, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. Chuck

    Its obvious its Moral Decay, but since Liberals have no Morals they dont get it

    This Shooter was an Anarchist his political leanng Communism what does that tell you?

    December 19, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. rick

    I'm am a democrat and I agree with him.

    December 19, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. deb

    He's right, I was left alone after school, while my parents worked... Did I go ballistic on little kids...of course not. Parents are not teaching kids right from wrong. Its okay, not your fault, you are perfect. Not my child, no way! Idiot parents make irresponsible kids.

    December 19, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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