I grew up in a home that didn’t have any guns. My parents were pacifists. But that didn’t stop us kids from playing as if we had guns. Broken casters made perfect revolvers for little hands. I loved playing over at my cousin’s house where I could put on a gun belt and learn to quick draw a revolver.
We spent a lot of time in the mountains at our cabin site, and my dad even went so far as to carve wooden rifles for us—much to my mom’s disgust, I might add.
Some of my favorite memories are water fights and rubber band fights and pine cone fights and Christmas wrapping cardboard tube fights, usually with my brother, but sometimes with my sister and me ganging up on him.
During one of our play gun battles, I remember my brother telling me I was shot, and dead, and had to stay down. I couldn’t get back up and keep playing. I thought about that for a while, decided it was no fun to play dead, and I’d find some other game. But what he said sank in—in real life, when someone got shot, they stayed dead. It made a huge impression on me.
All this to give you a bit of my personal background which forms my attitude toward guns. Honestly, I hate them. My nephew is part of a law enforcement unit, and I remember the first time he took out his gun to put it away. I’d never been that near a gun before, and frankly, it made me nervous.
But here in the US the second amendment to the Constitution ensures the right of the people to bear arms:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Couldn’t be much clearer. And until that amendment is changed, the citizens of the US will continue to own guns—all kinds of guns.
But with each new crime involving guns, there’s a louder cry for more gun control, as if the proliferation of guns is the problem.
If that were the case, then the failed car jacking that happened the other night here in SoCal, in which a 17-year-0ld stabbed his victim three times, should not have happened. After all, no gun was in play.
Come to think of it, the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 shouldn’t have happened either because that mass murder didn’t involve a gun either.
If guns were the problem, then we could eliminate violence against one another simply by taking all the guns off the streets. But the reality is, people with hatred in their hearts who want to do bodily harm to others are not reliant upon guns.
I hate guns. But I hate more the empty diatribe against guns after a shooting, as if removing guns will magically fix the animosity inside each of us.
Nobody seems to ask why twenty people can be the brunt of bullying and never retaliate by shooting at someone or why hundreds can lose their job and not return to gun down their co-workers. The fact is, each of those people had access to guns in the same way that those who turned into killers did.
My point is, we have a far bigger problem than the presence of guns. We have a culture that no longer values forgiveness. Revenge is the response we approve. If in doubt, play back the news coverage of Osama bin Laden’s death. People cheered. Some danced in the streets and celebrated, the way people in Muslim countries did after 9/11.
We are more an eye-of-an-eye nation than we are a turn-the-other-cheek people. Plus we tell kids they DESERVE . . . pretty much whatever they want. So when they don’t get it, they respond just like Scripture tells us in the book of James: “You lust and do not have so you commit murder” (4:2). Sometimes that “murder” is the hatred in our hearts and sometimes it’s the actual physical act of murder.
But who is addressing that issue after the latest shootings? I don’t hear anyone saying, we’ve become a nation of greedy, selfish aggressors bent on making people do what we want them to do. Or that we’ve become hyper-sensitive to offense or short on love toward our neighbor or too insulated from each other or too demanding.
At the same time, we’re doing a poor job dealing with mental illness. We don’t know what else to do but medicate and hope the ill person keeps filling prescriptions.
How easy it is to shout for gun control when horrific mass violence takes place, but that’s the problem. We’re looking for easy fixes which means we are OVERlooking the real need—we’ve lost our moral compass and do not treat others the way we would want them to treat us.
Until we realize the enormity of our problem, no change in our gun laws will make a speck of difference in the inhuman treatment of one person against others.