December 19th, 2012
09:58 AM ET
1 year 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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wilson, excepting the Hitler quote and the unnecesary "here come the Lefties" crap, I agree with your post.

    December 19, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. chaszee

    Oh, Mr. Scott will be a wonderful addition to the rest of the Republican Ne'er do Wells. Let's continue to blame Gays, Abortions and Moral Decay for all our ills. How very productive. It is really time for ALL Congress to step up to the plate and help us find answers to all these issues. But I'm afraid I've lost my optimism. Bring real leadership to Congress, Mr. Scott or step down.

    December 19, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Inde Di

    This man just needs one picture. Six year olds with multiple bullets in their chest. Poor kids never stood a chance but hey at least I can still keep my assault rifle because it is my right to bear arms. Some brave gun owner moved by this tragedy should start an act of courage by calling on all who own assault rifles to get together and hand over those guns to the police force to be destroyed and whoknows get a tax credit of some sort for it. I would do it but never even gave owning a gun a thought...don't allow that trash in my house.

    December 19, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Gurgyl

    What happened is an unspeakable tragedy. I have two children just a little older that those in Conn, and it makes me sick thinking about it. This could have happened anywhere and we need to find out why it happened. With that said, why can't these idiots in DC just leave it alone for a while? Their grandstanding and "outrage" is so contrived and transparent it's embarassing. On top of that, the 2nd Amendment isn't a right bestowed upon us by the gov...it's a protection against them removing what is an inherent right that we already have. Here come the Lefties folks...be very, very afraid.
    *******************************************
    No, what is embarrassing is your grandstanding and contrived outrage over people daring to disagree with you. The job of the idiots in DC, as you described them, is to represent our interests and to govern with our consent. It appears as though you don't want them to do anything, since it offends your sensibilities: do you ever think about the sensibilities of 20 dead kids, theri families and the 6 educators who were slaughtered? Apparently not.

    December 19, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. rs

    The implication of the GOP's philosophy of "its moral decay" at work, is that there really is no solution to that, so they can simply do NOTHING. For the astute, nothing is all the GOP has done since Mr. Obama became President. All problems are too big, and the President's efforts too smallor ill-conceived ("you can't get enough taxes from the rich to impact the debt..."; "there are too many guns out there for restrictions to work...", etc.).

    Just as they negotiate in bad faith on the fiscal cliff they built (speaking of moral decay), they have no intention of doing anything about anything. They are government "inaction". They have become the most useless, and corrupt party in American History. Their motivation is cash, and not those they represent. Quite literally a cancer on America.

    December 19, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. CBR

    The moral decay issue was alive during Jefferson's time. The problem today is bound up with people who only want legislation that benefits them. It is not moral decay but people failing to accept responsibility for their actions and that includes those in Congress. Some of these men and women do not wish to do anything and that includes compromise and cooperation. They all get paid on a regular basis and we continue to pay their staffs, to pay for their offices, a ticket home twice a month, health care, etc. Let's start with Congress and pass some legislation that says no work then no pay. WE could have saved money the past four years.

    December 19, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Ken

    Yes, this country suffers from moral decay, but not what Representative Scott thinks.
    Moral decay is a country where politicians lie and then say they "mis-spoke" or "not intended to be a factual statement".
    Moral decay is a country where company executives receive million dollar bounses while the workers receive poverty wages.
    Moral decay is a country where any attempt to support the less fortunate among our citizens is proclaimed to be socialism.Moral decay is a country that has plenty of money for prisons but cannot provide healthcare to all citizens.

    Moral decay is everywhere around us.

    December 19, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. JIM M

    So in Mr. Scott's world, if we have an immoral society, we should provide the people in that society more assault rifles. I mean, what harm can that do?? Of yeah, and of course cut funding for mental health and access to healthcare.

    December 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. kcidybom

    The only 'moral decay' evidenced by Senator Scott's commentary is his own.

    December 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    We probably need to first deal with whether a not a gun "kills" before we hit the moral decay discussion. Teaching our children that guns don't kill is probably the single most stupid talking point I've heard thus far.

    December 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    ". . . .to engage an entire culture of moral decay and of violence."–Tim Scott

    So to address this he suggests we research more about mental illness. That's seem logical. But how?

    Word salad blather is Palin's shtick. Try specifics in your answers and you may engage us yet, Mr. Scott.

    December 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Calls of "Moral Decay"=Right Wing distraction from their policy failures, if you want to call their ideas policies.

    December 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. 40acres

    Mr. Scott seems to think that the tragedy in Newtown was the result of "moral decay" across our nation. I can't say that the outpouring of sympathy, offers of help, little acts of kindness and prayers that the nation as a whole displayed to the people of Newtown was a sign of moral decay. I didn't think the feelining and actions of empathy, support, togetherness, and love that the people of Newtown displayed in the face of incredible horror and tragedy were symptoms of moral decay. Quite the opposite.

    The only symptom of moral decay I have seen resulting from this tragedy are the crys by those who would prefer that everyone keep their hands off of their dangerous toys no matter the potential cost (which we have now paid numerous times).

    December 19, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. v_mag

    Moral decay? Like putting our faith and trust in ever more powerful murder weapons? Like glossing over the murders of first graders with NRA rhetoric? Like loving the hardware of murder more than the lives of children? You mean that kind of moral decay, you nitwit?

    December 19, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. DaveC

    The bushmaster is just like the AR-15 which is just like the M16 I used the entire time I was in the military. I still remember in basic training (1974) the drill sergeant loading a 10 round clip into the M16 and shooting at a cinder block on the range from about 50 yards and destroying the cinder block. This is with a 10 round clip. Think of what each of those kids and adults looked like after that weapon was through with them since the coroner said each victim had several rounds shot into each of them. The M16 has an effective range of about 300-400 meters and ejects a tumbling bullet to inflict maximum damage (it is called stopping power in the military). You cannot hunt with the M16; it just is not accurate enough. The bushmaster is the same thing. This weapon was made for one purpose. Killing your fellow human being. Plain and simple. Anybody who says anything is spouting pure bullcrap.

    I am retired Army. The founding fathers were some of the finest minds ever to grace this earth. When they wrote the 2nd Amendment they could not even have fathomed the vast type of weaponry we have today. For a person to cling to the 2nd Amendment and say that a weapon like the Bushmaster is protected is like saying I visited the neighbor's house one time therefore I own it. Neither argument makes sense.

    As for the argument the weapons don't kill people, people do, that does not hold water. Common sense weapons in the hands of sane people don't kill people. Weapons like the Bushmaster don't belong in anybody's hands except for the military and the police. This is not a common sense weapon. Period.

    December 19, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Kelby in Houston, TX

    Well, it's good to know somethings in this world remain consistent...such as the type of senator we get from the state of South Carolina. consistent with the values and ideals of the people who live in that state.
    as the saying goes, "I may be from Texas, but at least I ain't from South Carolina!"

    December 19, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Kelby in Houston, TX

    Moral decay??? Oh! I get it. Tim Scott thinks that people get shot for the same reason conservatives think hurricanes and earthquakes happen...GAY PEOPLE

    December 19, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. kyle

    Why do so many people who comment on here deal in absolutes? Why is it either, "moral decay OR gun control"? Our culture has become a culture of hate. We have politicians who divisively lie and demonize their opponents in hope of getting re-elected. We have hypocritical members of the media and celebrities that spread vicious hate against those who do not align with their political agenda. We have occupy wall street that promotes anarchy and violence. We have video games and violence that is glorified and desensitizes vulnerable people. We have parents who are not acting like parents, and the function of the family is being destroyed. We have people who want values and morals to be destroyed because they are "hindering our progress" and taking us "a step back". We have gun control laws that need to start being enforced, and certain types of weapons should be very difficult for certain people to obtain. And yes, we have the mental health system that has been destroyed by our government and insurance companies. We also have a culture that glorifies abortion and drug usage. Apparently to some, if drugs become legal, then the violence surrounding them will decrease. Based on this logic, if guns become illegal, wouldn't that increase gun violence? Again, there are so many factors that need to be taken into account. Why some are just focused on one issue is beyond appalling, and it will just increase our decaying society.

    December 19, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. John

    Tim Scott's right about a problem of moral decay, but he's looking in the wrong direction. The moral problem is with this insane gun culture we have in the U.S. Until we get rid of this ridiculous idea that everyone should walk around armed, that owning a gun is somehow part of our "sacred" individual rights, just stopping access to a few types of guns isn't going to solve much.

    December 19, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Bill

    That "moral decay" is the result of the example set by the republican party. If it's okay for the GOP to spew hate and intolerance why isn't it okay for like-minded crazy people to act on those republican values???!!! Maybe we'd have a better right wing if the GOP reflected true Christian values.

    December 19, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. don in albuquerque

    I know. How about something I learned in the second grade. Your rights end where the other fella's nose begins. I think all these gun-nuts should talk to the parents of the children taken away from them. See if they feel like your ability to own an AR-15 was more important then their childs right to grow up. Guns don't kill people, only criminals will have guns, threats of civil war--how absurd. All because they might stop you from owning something you measure your pee-pee with. Totally disgusting.

    December 19, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. rmatten

    Wow! What a stupid way for a new US Senator to introduce himself to the country. How about acknowledging the proliferation of the guns and violence culture as a cause. To take the mental illness of the killer and turn it into the moral decay of society is not constructive. This guy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer!

    December 19, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. mike

    I grew up in S.C. and left because of idiots like him. The problem is not moral decay but brain decay.

    December 19, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Bill

    Scott is less concerned with the safety of American children as he is about pandering to the Tea Party to win a full term come 2014. Everything he says and does during the remainder of Demints term is to play to his right wing radical base. Scott has as little and questionable credility as the NRA and GOP when it comes to what's best for America.

    December 19, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. John Stredkal

    In a sense, he is right, the problem is one of "moral decay"; the moral decay brought about nu the Randian Philosophy that has a strangle hold on the Republican party. It is also the "Moral "Decay" that causes Tin Scott to support denying food stamps to any family member where a member may be on strike or to strip the NationalLabor Relations Board of its power. This is true "Moral Decay".

    December 19, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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