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. SiggieF

    A politician citing moral decay as our country's problem is akin to a boxer citing violence as our country's problem...

    December 20, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  2. W.

    I believe that this congressman is emblematic of the very moral decay he is describing. The original creators of the constitution would be appalled at the evolution of weapon design and the direction of its use. There is no greater perversion of social development than the exploitation of violent machinery meant for a singular purpose of killing another person to be put to casual sport and to coveted with obscene desire.

    December 20, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  3. Caron Speas

    Oh, good grief. Another up and coming conservative wacko. That community - Newtown - is just about as moral a community as they get. Notice everyone headed to their churches after the event? Notice the quiet beauty of its streets? Notice the affluence of its citizens? Did anyone at all see any moral decay in Newtown??? NO! So shut this man's pie hole up!

    December 20, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  4. Caron Speas

    He need look no further than himself to find moral decay. Anyone who thinks that having every citizen carrying an assault rifle is okay, has got to have at least some moral decay going on in his brain.

    December 20, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  5. waheid

    The gentelman has only to look around him at the U.S. Capitol to see the extent of moral decay in the country. How many senators and representatives are taking bribes - there is no other word for it - to support legislation favorable to special interest groups, large corporations, and rich donors? If this hypocrite is really interested in cleaning up the moral decay in the country, he can start in the Capitol.

    December 20, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  6. Harry

    Was their moral decay when the Nazi's killed millions of children, or the Japanese atrocities against the Chinese just to touch the tip of the iceberg in our shameful history. This crap in one way or another has been happening since we've recorded history. Don't know the answer but tighter restrictions on firearms couldn't hurt.

    December 20, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  7. DD

    ...and this is the e v i l of the GOP in a nutshell. Those who say they are "PRO-LIFE" will put assault weapon rights ahead of our children's lives, and blame it on "moral decay", while they do so.

    December 20, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  8. dogmandg

    If you look seriously at human behavior, you have to acknowledge young men's instinct to kill. It's in our DNA. In almost every generation, young males have gone to war. Then in 1945, it all changed. Nuclear weapons made all-out war unthinkable. Today, in developed countries, most young males are no longer sanctioned to kill for their country.

    So where does this killer instinct go? Many young males kill virtually, in computer games. Some channel that desire into competitive sports. Some find other ways to compete, like who has the nicest car. Some hunt. And some young men still kill people, especially in poor urban neighborhoods, but occasionally in nice suburbs like Newtown.

    The first thing we should recognize is this basic instinct for young males to kill, and the best ways to channel it. Peace is a wonderful thing, but there are some downsides.

    December 20, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  9. oldwhiteman

    If anything, people are more moral by conservative standards than in the 1960's...and yet mass killings have gone up immensely...so this is a stupid attempt to deflect by a stupid and selfish portion of our society.

    December 20, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  10. DENNA

    We need both gun control and a decent mental health network that allows parents to seek help for their childern and actually get it. This will all come down to money – too much profit for gun makers to give up and too costly too costly and too hard to treat the mentally ill. After all of this, 20 children under 7 years old murdered in cold blood, adults murdered in cold blood, this will add die down and nothing will change. I pray that President Obama and the Democrats can do something. I pray that the Republicans with common sense will work with them. I pray that the NRA will grown a conscience.

    December 20, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  11. W.

    This is an example of the GOP's, "Brain Salad Surgery." I am not impressed.

    December 20, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  12. kathy

    Yup, no God in the schools...wait, the Amish children who were masacered in their school had God...what happened there?????? So stupid to think that some mythical being in the sky would have prevented this.

    December 20, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  13. Bill Stapp

    Tim Scott is mostly correct. Thirty years ago, many might remember the debate that helped push the teaching of morals out of children's literature in schools. The public discussion focussed around whose morals to teach... in order to be more inclusive of other minorities and life styles.

    The discussion moved to teaching "universal values" instead.

    Traditional morals took a beating (at times, rightfully so due to the application by less than inclusive groups), and today we will teach honesty, but not Abe Lincoln's honest... rather the honesty of children who may or may not get caught and may or may not be punished.

    Today, moral decay exists. And it is no more controllable than trying to control the millions of gun owners unless we win back the hearts and minds of our future generations. I could live quite comfortably in a world without guns, but when our elected leaders take money from the gun industry, or invests in the gun industry (even through a blind trust), then their leadership is in word only, and not worth much today because those profits and donations are not free... they have to pay them back with access and shifty political maneuvers.

    I will encourage some regulation of things like assault style weapons, but I will not believe our elected leaders who brag about fixing the problem until I see them get rid of their own bullet proof glass, their check points guarded by soldiers with automatic weapons, and their personal body guards with kevlar vests.

    December 20, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  14. Frank

    Since when did mental illness become a big GOP talking point? What ideas and funding do they propose? These GOP fools who blame mass murder moral decay and lack of respect for a vengeful Old Testament God think Americans are generally as stupid as they are! An AR-15 Bushmaster was used to kill those little children, unless the GOP thinks God motivated the murderer as His agent!

    December 20, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  15. BOB

    We need more people in goverment with back bones . this man tells it how it is. bottom line here is they will talk about this in congress for a few weeks . in the mean time more kids could be killed arm the teachers for now put signs out in front of schools that they are armed .anything is better then what we have now. these cowards are not crazy they plan this out go to a place where there are no guns .obama was right we need change . the change is wars are starting to be fought on american soil . this is happing on a reg basies there is a pattern our leaders need to be looking at stopping this problem more gun control is not going to stop these cowards from killing more people guns in the hands of people who use a gun for protection are going to stop this. look at kent state 17 people shot by national guard with semi auto wepons people wake up that was done by are own goverment .who is out of control here . this is not a new thing here been going on for years the bottom line here is the goverment wants compleat control of you life . we blame it on mental problems we blame it on movies and vedio games the blame belongs on the the person who pulled the trigger. excuse spelling and other things wrong i am just a father who is fed up with our goverment and srinks trying to blow smoke up are butts about how to get this under control. banks airports are all armed and the violince has dropped 75% yes guns kill but they can allso protec we are giving guns to other countries so they can protec themselves

    December 20, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  16. Steven

    Lawmakers are. Making this solely a gun issue because it suits their political egos. What about the issue of the school failing the child so that the mother lost faith in the school system? Why is everyone being so blind and not seeing the root issue? The root cause? Didn't Hillary Clinton write a book about it taking a village? Where is this village, and how did they help or fail the shooter?

    December 20, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. Mr. Obvious

    He hits the nail on the head.

    The guns have always been with us, all types, I can remember being able to buy a 30 calible carbine from the Sears catalog 40 yrs ago with no back ground check or anything. No mass shootings resulted from this.

    Why are these people doing this now.

    Answer: Lack of religion, violent video games, sex and violence in Movies and TV shows, internet porn.

    We need the FCC to have the power of moral sensorship like the had 40 years ago. Wake up people.

    December 20, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  18. Wilson

    @Ricke1949

    Let me see. We are killing innocent citizens overseas using drones, severing innocent babies in partial birth abortions, delight is gruesome killings in movies, pay big money for video games with wretching violence and we think the problem is guns. When I grew up in the 50's we 4th graders hunted with guns in the cornfields. No one shot anyone.
    Perhaps we have sunk to a level lower than ancient Rome?
    ------------------------------------–
    Pretty much spot on.

    December 20, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  19. Taskmaster

    Scott is 100% right. NO law passed, even one banning ownership, will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. There are hundreds of thousands of guns out there .Ban the sale of assault rifles that were built to fire full automatic, such as the AK47. That weapon was made to fire semi or full automatic. Regardless if that AK47 is rendered so that it will only fire semi automatic it's very simple and easy to convert it back to full automatic. BUT if a person lacks the morals nothing will prevent them from killing. Killing is glorified everywhere you look today. Movies,T.V.,video games and even music.The schools teach that there is NO God. Our children are taught no self respect so how can we expect them to respect others?

    December 20, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  20. Deme Joseph

    The Moral Decay is good people standing by while the "good old network" make laws that allows someone to buy a gun that can kill 20 angels in a few seconds. Why do we need that kind of WAR weapon to sport shoot. I am a farm girl also, just like that Mom. I can shoot and I have no problem doing so. BUT I would never had a gun in my home that has the ability to kill people WAR style. THAT is nuts. I am a grandmother, and I do believe in guns, but not that kind. She WAS partly to blame. Even if this kid did not have issues, no mother set up that kind of thing with teen boys around. THINK first, most males whether boys or men feel they have self control. BUT we know better.

    December 20, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  21. cruizin596

    Passing new gun control legislation will have virtually zero impact on crimes committed with guns. The CDC conducted a study after the Assault Weapons Ban expired and could find no discernible impact on reduction of crime during the period of the ban. Criminals will not adhere to gun control laws – do you seriously expect them to? Banning high capacity mags will have no impact since these killers will simply carry more mags – it takes just seconds to eject and reload a mag.

    All of this gun ban craziness is a knee jerk reaction to the tragedy of last week. We got stuck with too many restrictive and invasive laws as a result of knee jerk reactions after 9/11 – we need to be sure that we address the root cause of this sort of violence. The presence of these weapons is NOT the cause as these lunatics will find a way to cause havoc with or without them – how about all of the bombs that the Columbine killers planted? You need to address mental health and the culture of violence that is so pervasive in our society.

    A little bit of info – The UK has super strict gun control laws. The UK has been ranked as having more dangerous crimes by population than any of the EU countries. It has more violent crime by population than the US. All it did was subjugate the law abiding population and put them at the mercy of gun carrying criminals. I refuse to live in a world where I have a target on me because my government has determined what I may and may not use to defend myself, my family and my possessions.

    December 20, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  22. Deme Joseph

    The moral decay can be blamed on the law makers who allow that type of gun to be possessed and kept in the home. I am a grandmother, reared in the country and I believe in guns. BUT I do not believe in assault weapons. THAT MOTHER should have known better than to keep an assault weapons in the home young men. Even young men without mental issues cannot be trusted to not be interested in guns. This was the guns they see in the video games. Get real. A woman, mother, grandmother any woman thinking correctly, would have known in this world we know men do first and think second. We have always been the peace makers. Hence, the mother who tells the police that she HAD seen the boyfriend or spouse hit the kid before and not that he is dead, she did not feel he would have eventually, kill him. Women always know that the B knew about it before hand. Get real; she was aware the kind was different, so why put this type of setup in his path.

    December 20, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  23. Disgusted

    Amen! I have been saying that for many years. Give kids something to live for other than drugs, sex and video games and you just may have a good world back.

    December 20, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  24. It all adds up!

    The actions of one person even if wrong is not a reflection of the whole community. The town of Sandy Hook as inferred by this guy is liken to Sodom and Gomorrah festering with Moral Decay. Republicans live in a Bubble so how can they Represent a Nation a People if they do not know them. I guess we are in such Moral Decay that our opinions do not and should not be Represented or Acted on. It for our own good so to speak. We the People need to take back the Power of Our Government: We the People have the Authority over Washington not the other way around. We must not be ruled by Religious Zealots. The BIGGEST LIE is as if the World has ever been Moral... History has many stories of Murder and Theft this is nothing new SO, HOW CAN WE BE IN DECLINE? . Republicans won't save You...OR ANY OTHER RELIGIOUS ZEALOT....

    December 20, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. Ferret out the BS

    Banning assualt weapons and large capacity should just be a starting point. BTW has anyone mentioned that it is easy to modify the firing mechanism on a semi-automatic to a fully automatic weapon? Mental institutions and long term mental care was abandoned several years ago in favor of new drugs and outpatient therapy. Mainstreamimg mentally ill children with the rest of society has become the norm. We have these issues because we haven't thought through the full ramifications of the actions we have taken in the past to get mentally unstable back into a fully function member of our society. Maybe its time to revisit some of those decisions and re-evaluate what we've, as a society, have done. The shooter didn't buy the weapons he used, his mother did.

    December 20, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
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