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. kbh

    Yes, mental health is part of the issue, but as there is an extreme shortage of mental health providers, that will be a hard problem to solve quickly. But I see no reason any "sane" person needs to own an assault weapon or large capacity magazines, the only purpose for either is to inflict as much damage in as short a period as possible.

    December 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Please Grow Up

    Wasting no time, Tim Scott joins the ever-growing line of schmucks.

    December 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Moral Decay does not equal mental illness. Its clear that the shooters in this latest spate of massacres were mentally ill, and the failure of society to remove thse individuals to places where they could get help is a policy failure, not a sign of moral decay. The policies, or lack of them, are more a sign of moral decay. When we place more emphasis on hitting a number to balance a budget than we do on making sure our kids are healthy, then you have moral decay. To the conservatives, numbers and money equal freedom, and that will always trump public safety, mental health or education of children. Screaming about a lack of prayer in schools does not increase reverence any more than flapping your arms will make you fly to the moon. As usual, the righties are distracting attention away from their own moral decay, that of not giving a damn about the society until its too late.

    December 19, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. ClemVinson

    I would agree with the sentiment, but really... a politician telling america we suffer from moral decay.... with leadership like this, of course we do!!!

    lead by example sir. clean up your act and of those around you. get off the big money and come back to the people. Until then Sen Scott, your words are pale, ineffectual, and somewhat insulting bearing the timing in mind.

    December 19, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Keith

    Moral decay starts at the top – I haven't been proud of my government for a long time -

    December 19, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. steve harnack

    Great analysis brainless. So what's the answer? Leave guns alone but hang a "moral meter" on everyone's chest so we know which ones to run from? Maybe some mandatory Sunday School? But what ever, don't mess with the only common denominator in every mass killing, the guns? Where do these geniuses come from? Along with asking "are we doing all that we can...", Obama should have asked, "are we sending our best and brightest to the Senate, or just more fools useful to a small percentage of interests"?

    December 19, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. PtBarnumBoy

    Amen brother Tim!!!!! We need more preachers in the senate that's for sure.

    December 19, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    A six year old with 11 bullet wounds. The unhinged GOBP tea potty talk about everything but guns. Shoot em up.

    December 19, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Dr Matrix

    Can't atgue with moral decay. But then shouldn't we make accdess to assault weapons and high volume magazines more difficult to come by outside of law enforcement and military, which is what they should have been designed for, not sportsmen.

    December 19, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Jim

    Wow, sorry to the 90% of the people posting here today who are having faith in our government to solve this. I can see the Democratic bias here, but lets step back from our political mindset and look at the REAL problem…lack of parents being parents. We have raised a generation that starts "killing" at age 5 when they get their first video game where they are awesome if they can kill everything and beat their highscore. And parents look the other way because they are busy, watching TV, surfing the web, or just want the kids to have fun and be happy. Kids are being conditioned to kill better than some of our soldiers! Life is full of challenges as kids reach adulthood…but we as a whole don't teach our kids respect for others, self-responsibility, compassion, commonsense, problem solving, integrity, financial responsibility, and the things they need to overcome the issues life throws at them. We teach them that someone else is responsible, caused it, and someone will fix it. And when that doesn't add up…kill until you "finish the level". Stop the blaming people and start to look for an answer to how we have failed our kids. Right and wrong starts at home, not DC. Be honest and ask yourself if we have created our own issues in the next generation?

    December 19, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. William

    The real moral decay is a Black Republican- what a disgrace to the GOP & black community.

    December 19, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. James in Houston

    Another idiot joins the ranks ...

    December 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. DocHollywood

    Mental health has nothing to do with "moral decay". And since you're so concerned with mental health, why not advocate to your governor that she set up those health care exchanges under the Affordable Health Care Act that will allow people to get good insurance and access to mental health care? Quit trying to balance budgets by cutting out health care subsidies and mental health facilities. Don't be like your hero Reagan and eliminate the state hospitals like he did in Ca. and complain that there's too many crazy people running around. Here's just a thought: Put your money where your mouth is for a change.

    December 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Ol Guy

    If moral decay is the problem, why not screen prospective gun owners for morality? Similar programs have worked out so well. Think Spanish Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials, etc.

    December 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. NameTim Hamill

    Piers Morgan is only trying to raise his viewer ratings by covering a controversial subject.
    If he really cared about saving lives he would be covering the hundreds and thousands of lives lost everyday in underdeveloped countries due to lack of food and medicine. That's not controversial enough to raise his ratings though. Everyone agrees that this is a problem and can be cured with money alone.
    It proves he only cares about ratings not lives.

    December 19, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. rs

    More of the "blame the victim" mentality from the GOP. This is especially disgusting as all that seems to motivate the GOP (to do anything) is the lobbyists (Grover Norquist, the NRA, etc.) that support them. Never anything for the American public.

    December 19, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. REGinAZ

    We should be shocked by the narrow view that God performs on our behalf or against us according to our connection/devotion to Him – that only supports a religious discipline that can be easily faulted for being illogical and for only trying to control people. God is there spiritually for everyone, without exception, who seeks Him but if we believe He actually interferes in the physical world, then we make Him responsible (by intentional omission as well as commission) for everything and thus say that we have no responsibility, challenge or meaning. We are challenged to do our best in each moment, to have a positive impact on the constantly evolving world (sorry about that but evolution is the physical reality) and we will be judged for our efforts, naturally imperfect, with the physical being temporary and not all that important to God as we return to His loving presence in the spiritual. It is illogical to think that God causes or prevents physical things from happening or that God doesn't love us because He doesn't cause or prevent something, that thinking actually negates our purpose and our spiritual relationship with God. The spiritual connection is where the reality is and where we find God's love. This being just one person's opinion that answers all questions for me and doesn't need the rationales like "we just can't understand God's ways".

    December 19, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Wilson

    CNN probably won't post this but,,,, history does seem to repeat itself. Germany 1938 "With these new gun laws our streets will be the safest in the world" Author – Adolf Hitler. (quoting loosely). When the drunk driver kills do we blame the car? When the plains flew into the twin towers did we blame the planes? Even in war when counless die do we blame the weapons used. Why then do some blame the gun???

    December 19, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. rs

    StandForTruth-

    While You may be a perfectly law-abiding, safety-concerned gun owner (and I applaud you for that), clearly that isn't the case for all-

    Look at the state of American gun culture:Gun show sales- no background checks or records.; Guns available in stores as common as tools, OTC drugs, or anything else; Support for guns of all sorts for everyone, regardless of consequence; enthusiasm for cop-killing ammo., military grade weapons, and large capacity clips; Idiotic ideology that says "it isn't the guns that kill" while ignoring that killing is precisely what guns are designed to do; and on and on.

    As a group gun enthusiasts have failed at policing themselves and their "hobby., Perhaps they failed to notice the extreme radicalism in the NRA, or the lies and deciet of their leader. The result however isthat the larger population is angry- and rightly affraid of what they perceive to be armed people with little moral compass.

    December 19, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Wilson

    Man I hate typos, "planes" "countless"

    December 19, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. rs

    Wilson-
    Really invoking Adolf Hitler to avoid adult gun laws? Guns have one use- to kill. Pathetic.

    December 19, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Foundstar

    U repukes are the brainless zombies of the world. Moral decay?? yeah..right..and u are going to be the 'beacon' to show us the way ?? Look in the mirror and see the moral and mental decay that u and yours have delivered. Token up son..you are nothin more than a political move and sucker.

    December 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. rs

    foggieday-
    Ever hear of the First Amendment to the United States Consitution? It is a far greater one than the 2nd.

    December 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -Jim

    Wow, sorry to the 90% of the people posting here today who are having faith in our government to solve this. I can see the Democratic bias here, but lets step back from our political mindset and look at the REAL problem…lack of parents being parents. We have raised a generation that starts "killing" at age 5 when they get their first video game where they are awesome if they can kill everything and beat their highscore. And parents look the other way because they are busy, watching TV, surfing the web, or just want the kids to have fun and be happy. Kids are being conditioned to kill better than some of our soldiers! Life is full of challenges as kids reach adulthood…but we as a whole don't teach our kids respect for others, self-responsibility, compassion, commonsense, problem solving, integrity, financial responsibility, and the things they need to overcome the issues life throws at them. We teach them that someone else is responsible, caused it, and someone will fix it. And when that doesn't add up…kill until you "finish the level". Stop the blaming people and start to look for an answer to how we have failed our kids. Right and wrong starts at home, not DC. Be honest and ask yourself if we have created our own issues in the next generation?
    *****************************************
    Nice point, but when kids leave their home and enter the wider world, problems take on a municipal, state and federal dimension. To ridicule attempts at that is being at least as negligent as the parents who allow their pre-K kids to play " Call of Duty". It takes an approach at every level of society, not just one.

    December 19, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. Rick McDoomsday

    yes it's moral decay and it's all led by Obama's plan for dictatorship of our nation, am I the only one that can see this???

    December 19, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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