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Gun Control Won’t Be Enough

Why Gun Control Won't Be Enough

The battle over the role that guns should play in our national life has been intensifying in recent months. And rightly so. The murderous attack in San Bernardino, and the string of mass shootings that came before that, should be a wake-up call that our relationship with firearms is unhealthy.

America’s gun problem is far more serious than even many gun control proponents want to face but there’s still hope, says ShootingAuthority. The private killing sprees that have become so common in our land are a symptom of a deeper pathology. The violence that we inflict on ourselves is only a pale shadow of the terror and bloodshed that we unleash beyond our national borders.

Courtland Milloy got it right when he wrote in a recent column for The Washington Post, “We may mourn, if ever so briefly, for innocent victims of a mass shooting, but we will not flinch when a U.S. drone unleashes Hellfire missiles on, say, a wedding party in Yemen.” Our willingness to tolerate the massacre of innocent civilians in other countries belies our outrage at the violence experienced by our own citizens.

This is not just a Republican or Democrat issue. Our whole country has a violence addiction problem. The United States has spent $598.5 billion on warmaking in 2015 alone. This staggering sum was approved on a bipartisan basis. 2nd Amendment champions and gun control advocates united around the most colossal expenditures for organized violence the world has ever known.

For a nation in which 77% of us identify as followers of the crucified savior, this is astonishing. How is it that we are virtually unanimous in our consent to an endless cascade of state-sanctioned carnage? Regardless of any veneer of religious commitment, we glorify violence as a symbol of strength, safety, and national redemption. Is it any surprise that we’re killing one another with small arms? War-making is baked into our national character.

I believe that my country would benefit from stricter gun laws. But let’s be clear: Gun control won’t save us from this madness. It won’t protect us from the devastation that we are experiencing in our homes, schools, and streets. Legislation alone can’t overcome this kind of sickness. Even if the United States banned personal ownership of firearms tomorrow, the spirit of violence and domination would continue to grip our nation. Who will rescue us from this body of death?

There is a living alternative available to us. It is a path that requires immense courage, one that calls us to love our enemies and bless those who seek to do us harm. It is the path of forgiveness shown to us by Amish and African American victims of gun violence. It’s the love of Jesus on the cross, who in weakness and death conquers the world.

We can choose to live in this way of courageous love. Even now, the spirit of Jesus is ready to intervene in history and show us how to be people of peace. Are you ready to accept this invitation?

Related Posts:

Paris Must Not Be Another 9/11

Fifty Years Ago, a Quaker Lit Himself on Fire to Protest War. How Can I Understand It?

  • Insightful points. If we would only seek peace through peace.

    So many of the 45 billion we, the U.S., give to other governments goes for war:-( We’ve given many millions to jihadists, Islamic governments who oppress the innocent, corrupt fiefdoms like Saudi Arabia where individuals are punished and sometimes executed for believing the wrong ideas.

  • Kristine Rowland

    Thank you, Micah. I don’t really remember hearing about the drone attack at a wedding. That is insane. I don’t care whose wedding it was, ordering something like that is unthinkable, and unspeakably ugly. I don’t understand all this violence. It doesn’t make sense. Thank you so much for writing this. <3

    • Thank you, Kristine.

    • .
      ( It was supposedly a mistake because it did not “look” like an “American” wedding to the remote controllers, so those involved thought it was an insurgent meeting — a culturally ignorant and insensitive thing. I heard there was follow up apology and payment .. as if that fixes things. Training for drone operators? Natives IN the drone control room … that did not seem to be part of the remedy. )
      .

  • David

    I agree that militarism is a huge problem. Here’s the question regarding gun laws however. Are you willing to use violence to enforce them? We have a lot of people wanting to pass more gun laws which will have to be enforced. That is typically done through coercion or threat of violence. In many cases real violence is used. Kind of a conundrum isn’t it?

  • broschultz

    It just comes down to this truth: All lives matter but some don’t matter as much as others.

  • broschultz

    Another point is that most of the guns purchased by the government are not for self defense but are used directly of indirectly for offense. It used to be that we needed 10 missiles because the Russians had ten missiles. Not so anymore.