December 19th, 2012
09:58 AM ET
2 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. bp

    I would expect no less from a token representative of the Tea Party. Cook is a disgrace to humanity.

    December 19, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  2. Clarke

    People who commit these killings are very disturbed, and have no regard for life. Regardless, I feel there is no need for assault weapons, not even for hunters. IMO!

    December 20, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  3. stevetall

    It starts right at the top with our elected officals, Tim. You should know about moral decay–Your party has been the biggest impediment to reality that this country has ever seen. You should try something other than trying to pin the blame on everyone else and take some well-deserved personal responsibility.

    December 20, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  4. Name jamieska

    He is 100% correct

    December 20, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. norma jean

    HAS IT OCCURED TO THIS MAN THAT IF THIS YOUNG MAN WITH "MORAL DECAY" HAD NOT HAD A GUN THAT THESE CHILDREN WOULD ALL BE ALIVE DREAMING ABOUT CHRISTMAS ??......It would be very difficult to police the people with major emotional problems but at least we can make an effort to take away some of the ways they can ruin other lives.....There is not one....not one....reason in this world for anyone to own an "assault weapon" with extended clip of ammunition except to kill someone...they are not for hunting. nor home protection...they are weapons of distruction..!!
    !

    December 20, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  6. yogi

    Another tea party clown joins the republican circus. Leave it up to them to talk about moral decay.

    December 20, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  7. jeff

    logic of the gun grabbers: It's not a society in moral decay, it's an inanimate objects fault.

    December 20, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. akdkf

    It has nothing to do with 'mental illness'. Persons with a mental illness have the same rate of violence as persons that don't have a mental illness.

    December 20, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  9. kamanakapu

    The poorly written 2nd Amendment is what the problem is not 'moral decay' whatever thats supposed to mean.

    December 20, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  10. jane

    So, apparently the Republicans have picked their newest 'token'. They expect Scott to be so pathetically grateful that they've picked him that he'll do and say whatever garbage Demint would have spewed, and I'm sure they've told him they'll support him when the special election arrives. Of course, we all know (esp. Michael Steele) that they'll use their 'boy' and kick him to the curb when they're done.....

    December 20, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  11. Truth Partner 12

    Automatic and semiautomatic guns have been around for over 100 years, and why is it that mass murders have only taken place in the past 15? Mr. Scott definitely has the answer. It isn't guns, its our Truth denying society and the embracement of the biggest failure of a religion, Humanism, and taxpayer funded too!
    If it isn;t guns killing our youth, it is drugs, drugged driving, drunk driving, suicide, abortion. God please help us by waking us up.

    December 20, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  12. Dennis

    Tim Scott is simply using the GOP playbook - When you're losing an argument, change the subject.

    I'm surprised he didn't mention the Pledge of Allegiance and flag burning.

    The subject is machine guns. They shouldn't be available. Hunters don't need them. The only people who want them have gun fetishes or fantasize about shooting it out with "big government liberal tyranny," which happens to be equipped with aircraft carriers, drones, stealth bombers, missiles and thermonuclear warheads. In other words, if there's a mental health problem connected with massacres like Newtown, it's mental illness being spread by fear-mongering Bible-thumping conservatives like Tim Scott.

    December 20, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  13. ma & pa

    These massacres nearly always are done where the killer knows he can control and kill people without anyone having a gun to protect their defenseless selfs from him. How often does he shoot where he thinks someone might have a gun to shoot back at him? The answer tells us his lack of character, or courage, or empathy, or self direction to do good rather than evil. Maybe some people do not WANT to accept goodness and peace and sharing, no matter how much effort is spent on them. If they don't WANT to self-direct to a harmless lifestyle, if it doesn't come from their own mind, no law can control them when they intend to do harm rather than good. And we gentle people need to have a way to defend our gentle lives, and the lives of those who are dear to us.

    December 20, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  14. G

    "moral decay" does not shoot children. Guns do. Even if we have complete moral disintegration if there is less access to guns there will be less likelihood of gun violence. Also, I like the comment above about 300 million people and only a very few who are going to wreak violence on us...not really "decay" more of a pimple.

    December 20, 2012 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  15. san

    Moral decay is reflected by lack of responsible parenting lack locking up your guns in a safe when you know you have a mentally ill child living with you. The shooter's mom and dad knew their younger son was mentally ill and they both had the finances to get their mentally ill son help. The shooter's dad never should have let his mentally son live with his gun-enthusiast mom who foolishly never put her guns in a safe or at least locked her bedroom door so he wouldn't be able to touch the guns.

    December 20, 2012 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  16. Rob

    A politician talking about moral decay is like Santa Clause talking about socialism.

    December 20, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  17. san

    Moral decay is lak of knowledg bout the ramifications of havn guns in the home wn u hav a mntalyil child livn w/u not divorc or ne1 bn gay. Mntlilns is real&must b treated so those who hav it can go 2 scool &/or wrk. Wlthy parnts can pay 4 psychiatry appointmnts&medicin out of their own pocket. Many por parnts cant if their jobs dont pay well so their yung&adult childrn w/mntl ilns need guvrnmnt hlthcare&a4dabl prescriptions thru govrnmnt hlthcare or the mntly il wil nevr b able 2 finish scoo l&/or go 2wrk.

    December 20, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  18. K Greene

    Comment for Jen (see above): You, like many other blog respondants, see this Newtown tragedy through your own lens and bias filters. It is obvious that you disapprove of divorce, working moms, unsupervised teens, lax morals, and video games. But it's also clear that you have virtually ignored many of the facts of this case.
    It is becoming increasingly clear that the shooter likely had UNDIAGNOSED, profound mental illness. It is even possible that his mom obtained a misdiagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome from school officials years earlier, or diagnosed him by herself, unwilling to accept that her son had a budding paranoid psychotic disorder instead. Today, news reports said that there were no psychiatric diagnoses of Asperger's, let alone any other mental disorder, to be found at any psychiatrist's, psychologist's, or physician's offices in Connecticut or elsewhere. Yet for years, the shooter had exhibited increasingly mentally disturbed behavior seen by many. He wasn't just your typical spoiled brat. This guy was a horror story waiting to happen.

    December 20, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  19. Don

    Moral decay with easy access to weapons of mass destruction.

    December 20, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  20. drivennail

    Another sock puppet mimicking the tea party message.

    December 20, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  21. Dan

    When you've got nothing to constructive to add to a discussion it's easy to blame "moral decay". When you want to get your name in the headlines commenting on a tragedy, it's child's play to cast moral dispersions on people and claim the high ground spiritually. Playing the "my god is bigger than your god" card is playing from the bottom of the deck. America deserves more from it's leaders than someone this intellectually challenged and bereft of actual ideas can offer. No wonder he's a big teabagger.

    December 20, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  22. fiftyfive55

    Moral Decay,in America?Really? Just because our business leaves us for slave labor countries,rob our pensions and 401Ks,allows 10 million illegal aliens to just wander around the country without anybody even knowing they are here,we fight wars in the mideast that no American understands,we have legitimized fatherless households ,do I need to go on ?

    December 20, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  23. Peter Bishop

    Slowly but surely we are losing our country to laws and regulations. Yes Virginia, there was a time long ago when people could leave their doors unlocked without fear of being murdered. Guns were just guns and were used for occasional hunting and for target practice on tin cans. You could actually see someone off at the gate at an airport or meet them without being frisked. Ethics and respect for property and human life was the norm, not the exception.The youth of today have lost so much and the sad part is they can't even realize it.

    December 20, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  24. Martin

    too many people don't realize that the guy killed his mother and took HER guns. the only way gun control works in the way that pundits seem to gloss over is total disarmament. think about it, what's to keep a potential shooter from killing their law-abiding and gun controlled relatives and taking their guns? gun control isn't the answer. his mother did everything right in regards to her guns.
    people also point to the mental health aspect–but keep in mind again, his situation is not the rule.
    combining legislation that combines gun control from the mentally unsound? very slippery slope in regards to the tenuous paradigm of psychiatric medicine. it sets up the removal of rights that could be abused in the future on a horrendous scale. when looking at affecting the Bill of Rights, it's never against just "them". those apply to "us" at all times. all it takes is one bad situation.
    the issue is in his decision making and why it led to what it did. I'd call that an issue of moral decay (and not what most people assume is political talking points). moral decay = less respect for people/others in general.

    December 20, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  25. clarke

    maybe I am misunderstanding, but is he saying that a mental condition is mortal decay?

    December 20, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
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