Three mass shootings ending 39 lives and wounding 67 in the last 7 weeks! Come on, America. Let’s get a grip! I don’t know about you but I’m sad and mad at the same time.
Of course, there are a number of contributing factors involved here: bad parenting, mental illness, an American culture of violence as encouraged on gruesome online platforms… But our American gun culture is alone among developed nations in its adoration of its firearms. We have more guns than people in the U.S. (120 guns per 100 Americans). The country with the next highest ratio is Yemen at 52 guns per 100 citizens. Our neighbors to the north have less than 35 per 100. Tell me we don’t love our guns as much as the NRA (NOTHING RATIONAL ALLOWED) tells us to.
The recently passed bill in Congress from both sides of the aisle is encouraging, albeit, in my opinion, not nearly enough. It’s a good start though. Case in point, had “Red Flag Laws” in Illinois possessed enough teeth in them to keep Crimo (the latest gunman) from buying four (not one, but four) guns just before using them to shoot into the crowd at the July 4 parade in Highland Park he would’ve had to remain in his basement and maim virtual people on his computer screen instead.
Crimo attempted suicide in April of 2019. Five months later police responded when he threatened to kill people in his home, leading them to temporarily confiscate 16 knives, a dagger and a sword! Just four months later, per his father’s co-signing, he got his firearm owners identification (FOID) card that permitted him to buy guns.
He also put out dozens of gruesome threatening social media messages. Obviously, his parents bear much of the responsibility for their complicity in the slaughter, as they failed to alert the authorities to their son’s violent threats.
Oh, and don’t get me started on AR-15s! Crimo used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifle with three 30-round magazines to fire a total of 83 shots into the July 4 crowd.
It doesn’t make any sense to me that such a firearm belongs in the hands of civilians. 83 shots! He aimed in the general direction of the crowd and pulled the trigger 83 times, only pausing to switch out magazines! How is it that in an allegedly “developed” nation, anyone twenty-one or over can walk into a store, lay down a credit card, and walk out with a weapon with the capability to murder a bunch of people in a minute or two? The shooter dropped the rifle at the scene, but not to worry, he had another one in the car, ready for the next murder scene. He was arrested before he got the chance.
I’m not against guns per se. Target practice, hunting, and when absolutely necessary, self-defense, are all legitimate uses of firearms. The aggressive American gun rights movement is adamant about that and more. But with rights come serious responsibilities. It’s a no-brainer that one ought not to casually own or carry a firearm. After all, they’re sort of dangerous when aimed and fired at humans imprinted with the divine image!
I agree with David French: “The threat is gun idolatry, a form of gun fetish that’s fundamentally aggressive, grotesquely irresponsible, and potentially destabilizing to American democracy.” We see it not only in our plethora of mass shootings, as well as homicides and suicides by gun. We far outreach other countries in all of those categories.
Is it not disturbing to you that guns are elevated far above their proper place in American life when a leading candidate for Senate runs on a platform that’s “Pro-God, Pro-Gun, and Pro-Trump”? Have you seen the popular t-shirts and signs that declare the wearer “Pro-life, Pro-God, and Pro-gun”? Rep. Brian Babin recently told Newsmax: “The United States of America has always had guns. It’s our history. We were built on the Judeo-Christian foundation and with guns.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust him (or anyone else) to be able to know exactly which part is God and which is the gun!
The sign outside a Florida church says:
“Welcome to The River at Tampa Bay Church – Right of admission reserved. This is Private Property – WARNING – Please know that this is not a gun-free zone – We are heavily armed. Any attempt will be dealt with by deadly force. Yes, we are a church and we will protect our people. – The Pastors.”
A bunch of packing church-goers is supposed to make one feel secure while singing “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” ?
PRO-GOD, PRO-GUN, AND PRO-TRUMP! Seriously?
The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. (Psalm 37:14-16)
“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)