” From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.”Proverbs 13: 2
It seems we cannot get away from gun violence. Once again a mass shooting event is filling up the news cycle. Once again our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, the survivors, and to those who love them. Once again the trauma hits us in the face — but what do we do about it? How long will our society say that something must be done — without doing anything?
According to the Small Arms Survey from last year, there are more than 393 million guns in the U.S. In 2019 it is reported that there are 328.24 million people, including children, living in the U.S. There are more guns than people in our country. Gun manufacturers continue to produce guns every day and so they must push people to buy guns. How else can they make a profit unless they continue to sell guns? I do not believe gun manufacturers are ready to change, to produce tools for peaceful purposes, to find another way to earn their profits. We are trapped. To see how many guns are in your state and more on the arms survey go HERE.
Another statistic I find interesting is that there were only 15.9 million hunters as of 2019. So, even if hunters have more than one gun it seems most people have a gun because a gun can be used to kill people. What is odd to me is how many people who identify themselves as “pro-life” are also pro-gun. And since most people evidently are seeing guns as things to kill people with, it does not surprise me that they would want the best killing machines — assault type guns. People want to defend themselves from each other.
People are afraid of each other in this country. We have the name “United” but we are far from experiencing unity. It seems our many faith traditions found everywhere across our land have failed to make us a faithful people, for as a whole it seems we are not a compassionate, kind, trusting, generous, loving, hope-filled, peaceful, patient, or self-controlled people. Looked at as a whole society, we are fearful, and suspicious of one another.
Yes, there are many individuals who are peaceful and compassionate, but only within their particular communities. They are ready to help their neighbors. Somehow the care for ones neighbor does not translate to people outside their closed systems of trust. And so they find a need to purchase guns to defend themselves against supposed enemies.
We are far from being the Beloved Community of God. Guns are so easily obtainable that many have come to believe that mass shootings are inevitable. It is all too easy for most people to get a gun and use it within hours of purchasing it, as we have seen. People who are not seeking defense, but are seeking to kill others for all sorts of strange — to us — reasons, can get guns easily, and the next thing we know — another mass shooting.
Today, I am more filled with questions than answers. I realize that no one can persuade another person to trust enough to let go of their guns. But, perhaps, as each follower of Christ goes about the business of creating communities of peace, justice, and love, these communities will spread across our country, breaking down the fear that keeps people apart, that persuades them to arm themselves, and we will see less guns, and less gun violence.
Perhaps sensible regulations on guns will be passed by those who govern us. For example, I’d like to see something like the laws that regulate vehicle drivers established for those who use guns. It seems the least we should do.
In the meantime, my beloved ones in Christ, let us be faithful to Christ and continue to build communities of peace, justice, and love. May God have mercy and help us to be less afraid of one another.