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. Data Driven

    Did someone on here actually suggest that the massacre was staged so that liberals could impose gun control measures?

    I think the wingnuts have completely lost it ...

    December 19, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. m

    The "lawmakers" are one of the main reasons FOR the MORAL DECAY!!!!

    December 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. Mark from Canada

    LIke republicans know much about morals. If morals are in decay, republicans are one of the primary causes behind it. The simple feeble minded obtuse thinking about issues of our time. They keep the world in the dark ages and in perilous threat from the real issues they mock for profit.

    December 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    What does 'moral decay' have to do with mental illness that goes untreated or the ability of any average citizen to get their hands on assault weapons? typical repug blather! he probably feels mental illness is a moral failing that we can just pray away. our country won't move forward until we get these neanderthals out of congress. i hope there are more sane people on congress who actually understand the issue and the steps that we need to take as a nation to keep assault weapons out of the hands of sick people and to help sick people before they get to the point of killing.

    December 19, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. mn moderarete

    Moral decay has nothing to do with it unless you're talking about how our elected Representatives treat funding for programs for mental illness in this Country.

    December 19, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Moral Decay caused by the Republican party. First they closed down mental institutions and made it impossible to get help for the mentally ill. Then they instituted "trickle down economics" causing families to need 2 and 3 jobs and leaving their kids alone. They start wars and teach our kids to kill, kill, kill. They teach hate, gun lobbiest violence, and now the first of the year they will be kicking grandma's out of nursing homes into the streets. It is a REPUBLICAN WORLD folks!

    December 19, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. fernace

    People continue to equate the gun to cars, knives & other potentially damaging objects! Y'all forgot "running w/scissors"! After all it's not the scissors fault! This analogy is ridiculous! NO inantimate object can operate w/out human intervention! The point is a car is made for transit & knives & scissors for cutting other inanimate things!. Guns, on the other hand, are made for no other purpose than maiming or killing! That's why the analogy doesn't work & why we need to control more effectively who gets a gun! We can't possibly be OK w/"collateral damage" as a trade off to keep the 2nd amendment "sacred"!? While politicians discuss whether it's "mental health" or "moral decay" that is the "culprit"!!

    December 19, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. cheis kempf

    After reading this more than 1 time, I became convinced that Mr Scott clearly equates moral decay (whatever that is.., not Christian, perhaps?) and mental illness. This leads to many disconcerting conclusions about not only Mr Scott but the person who appointed him.

    December 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  9. Robert Austin

    Very few seem to grasp that the issue is not moral decay, it is mental iillness. If there is moral decay involved it is the moral decay of the Republican party and it's position of "I've got mine, screw you". The basic teaching of Christianity is love one another and help the sick in body, mind, and spirit. The Repubilans say that everyone is responsible for themselves. I say everyone is responsible for themselves and those who cannot care for themselves.

    December 19, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  10. Andrew

    I agree. The NRA is moral decay. And the Republican Party is moral rot.

    December 19, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. jr

    The moral decay of whom? How does he reconcile the fact that the weapons used were owned by the mother, a gun enthusiast who most likely didn't intend any of this to happen? You hear time and again, "guns don't kill people – people kill people." Well, it's people with guns that kill. To be sure, deranged individuals are falling through the cracks in the mental health system and serious measures need to be taken to address this issue. It is difficult to predict with certainty whether an individual has the capability or will likely go out and commit such an unthinkable act, but if these weapons were not so easily available, they may direct their desperation in a less destructive way. Assault guns are weapons of war and have no place in the home. What use would anyone have for one unless they plan to kill someone? There are no easy answers, but reform is definitely needed. These heartbreaking tragedies will continue until our legislators have the courage to buck the weapons manufacturers and the control they hold over their vote.

    December 19, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. Realist76

    Whenever a conservative mentions "moral decay", it raises alarm bells for me. Much of what social conservatives consider 'decay', is actually "progress", as we do away with aspects of 'fabricated morality'. However, if he means the general disrespect that people give to one another because of race, culture, sexual orientation, or religious preference, then I would agree that it certainly plays a major role in the increasing violence in this country. I'd also add the income disparity that's been getting out of hand for decades. Our increasing greed is also an element of moral decay.

    December 19, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. Gene

    Speaking of Moral Decay – let's start with the Congress – we could dissolve the the higher house and never miss it. Then set term limits on the House. Term limits or limits on the amount of bribes; which ever comes first.

    December 19, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. Farrok

    America is full of Moral rot and is fast become a foul public toilet full to the brim, just wating for someother World Power to trip the lever and flush the toilet. I am not a prophet but I don't need a crystial ball to see the future of America if it does not clean up its act.

    December 19, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  15. brewgeek

    I blame the psycologists and media that hyped 'self esteem' for the whole Y generation. Obviously if you have no sense of cause and effect for your own actions it will take those that are a little off anyway and make them time bombs. Encourage parents to punish their kids when they do wrong, within reason, and they will not only make the cause and effect relationship they will also have a sense ofm personal responsibility, something else that is totally lacking.

    December 19, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. Informed

    Typical. 'Moral Decay' what a ridiculous claim. The killing of those Children and the adults trying to protect them was done by an unstable man who was destined to be locked up in a mental institution. The problem at its core is that a mentally unstable human could get hold of a weapon that is best used on a battlefield and march into a classroom and use it. There is no aspect of moral decay in that situation other than the US turning their backs on mental health.

    December 19, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. brewgeek

    And as for gun bans, can anyone here really define an 'assault weapon'? cause the ATF can't even do that. The gun that was used, an AR-15 is functionally the same as other sporting rifles with the exception of appearance. so if something LOOKS military we ban it??

    December 19, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  18. ED4

    "The recent crisis should prompt the country to engage an entire culture of moral decay and of violence."
    What on earth does this mean? Why do I have a feeling this guy is going to try and say that if people just say prayer in school mental illness would disappear and we wouldn't have these shootings.

    December 19, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. Flagship, NC

    The problem is not moral decay but Tim Scott's brain decay. Just put a label on the mass and be on your way.
    I don't even know how he made it this far. The people of South Carolina are getting ripped off by paying his salary.

    December 19, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  20. What?

    even if he's correct, you can't legislate morality. Why not try gun control......

    December 19, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. Anny R

    Really???? The 6 and 7 years old were morally corrupt?

    Or was it the hero teachers who were morally corrupt?

    Or are you saying that your god is one who sees to it that 6 year old's are murdered in their dozens as holy punishment? (If so, keep your cruel god to yourself. My God is love, not murder.)

    And would you say the same ugly nonsense if something kike this happened in your town?

    December 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  22. Jsd

    Did many of you just read the title and political affiliation and make your opinion? Mental health is absolutely at the top of issues that need to be discussed.

    December 19, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. Adam

    America has had guns, schools, and violence since its founding, but it wasn't been till the last decade or so that someone would walk into a school and start shooting everyone, and never has someone done so to an ELEMENTRY school till now. That tells us there is definatly something wrong with where this country has headed, and if you disagree and are nasty about it like most people here, then you are probably part of the problem.

    December 19, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Politicians decrying moral decay. Go figure.

    December 19, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. LIP

    Republican Tim Scott is absolutely correct. This country with it's liberal "protect all of my rights" Democrats and all those institutions that have destroyed all semblance of Protection from the violence spewed out by the liberal media in Television, Movies and the Games that have a rating, but as everyone knows, no one pays them any mind. This mentality to make a buck at the expense of this generation and future generations is a ticket to hell and from all appearances, we are well on our way.

    December 19, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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