The media has been inundated with news – and fears – about Ebola for many weeks now.
That disease is certainly a frightful one, and every effort should be made to keep it from spreading.
Unfortunately, it is still spreading in West Africa, and additional efforts are badly needed to quell that dreaded disease there.
In the United States, the fear of Ebola spreading has been great – and greatly politicized.
In spite of the fact that no U.S. citizen has died from Ebola, some have charged that the White House has been incompetent in dealing with this serious matter and needs to be censured because of the failure to keep American citizens safe.
It certainly was a grave concern when the two nurses who had treated the Liberian man with Ebola in Dallas last month came down with the disease, though both nurses have recovered.
Others have been quarantined and treated for Ebola, but, to this point, it has not spread, and with vigilance it won’t.
But widespread fear lingers, and that fear has done more harm in our country than Ebola to this point.
In contrast to all the concern about Ebola, there generally seems to be little concern for those who are killed day after day with guns, which are still largely unregulated.
For example, on Oct. 26 there were two shooting deaths in Kansas City. A 10-year-old girl was shot to death while standing in front of her house. Earlier that day, a 39-year-old man was shot and killed in the Westport area.
If anyone, anywhere in the country had died of Ebola, it would have been national news and people would be in an uproar.
But two shooting deaths in one city on one day are just local news items – and so common that, except for the grieving families, few pay much attention to those stories.
In recent years, there have been more than 11,000 firearm homicides a year in the U.S. – more than 30 a day all year long.
In addition, more than 600 people a year, almost two each day, are accidentally shot and killed.
Despite these staggering numbers, there is not much talk now about gun control.
The U.S. Surgeon General should be at the head of the efforts to deal with the threat of Ebola, but the U.S. doesn’t have a surgeon general at this time.
Almost a year ago, Dr. Vivek Murthy was nominated to become the nation’s surgeon general, but he has still not been confirmed.
Why? Mainly because the National Rifle Association (NRA) has expressed strong opposition to the president’s nominee.
The failure of the Senate to approve that nomination to this point seems to be directly related to the fact that Murthy several times in 2012 and 2013 tweeted that he believes in more gun control and that he considers that to be a healthcare issue.
Because of its opposition, the NRA, which scores policymakers’ records on gun rights, has stated that it would lower their grade on senators who voted for Murthy, causing some seeking re-election to lose needed votes.
This reveals that the gun lobby is still senselessly strong.
How can so many Americans have such high concern about the threat of a disease that has been held under control in this country and yet have such a low concern about more control of guns that continue to take so many lives all across the country?
Lord, give us more wisdom.
Leroy Seat was a missionary to Japan from 1966-2004 and is both professor emeritus of Seinan Gakuin University and pastor emeritus of Fukuoka International Church. He blogs at The View from this Seat, and you can follow him on Twitter @LKSeat.
A missionary to Japan from 1966-2004, he is both professor emeritus of Seinan Gakuin University and pastor emeritus of Fukuoka International Church.