December 15, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut, Guns, Glory, and Honesty

Let's be honest here.

There are too many ways for someone who does not need to have a gun to have a gun in America.

Many people, who call themselves Christians ---and probably are -- continue to insist on the rights of anyone not a known felon to purchase and own a variety of firearms, including assault weapons and similar items designed for warfare and for killing large numbers of people in a short period of time.

I live in the state of Michigan. The Michigan legislature, in a "lame duck' session, has just voted to expand the number of public places where someone can legally possess a firearm. This list includes churches and schools.

Why does this happen in America?

We have a lot of history here. We are a nation that expanded geographically by committing genocide against the native inhabitants of the continent. We are a nation that expanded financially by buying and selling people from another continent and keeping them in lifetime, perpetual slavery for hundreds of years. Extreme violence was impressed upon the victims who suffered in these actions.

Extreme violence became a part of our national profile.

We are a nation that was entertained for generations by radio, television, and film dramas about the violent "conquest" of the American West. Lots of Americans enjoyed watching John Wayne and other actors shoot actors portraying Native Americans attempting to defend their land.

Some of us embraced "Manifest Destiny"---the bizarre belief that God intended for the entire North American continent to be taken over by European settlers, regardless of the means and the cost in lives.

We are a nation that enjoyed "Godfather" films and books. We like our "tough guy" heroes. We lauded the "Marlboro Man", that lone and somewhat unnatural figure sitting on a horse, rifle at his side, smoking a cigarette----and almost daring anyone to stop him from doing what he wanted to do.

Collectively, this nation has enjoyed watching violent heroes do things that were illegal and immoral. We explained away our love of these things by saying "it's only a movie." We like violent video games. Read the sales statistics for Grand Theft Auto.

Has the violence so deeply ingrained in our history become a part of us?

Why are we so hesitant to reject the nearly unlimited access to guns allowed under our current laws? Why does any civilian need an assault weapon?

We will have prayer vigils this weekend. Talking heads will discuss what it all means. Counselors will visit schools. Politicians will pontificate.

When all of these things pass from public views, one thing will remain.

We have been cursed by the violence in our history. We need to collectively repent of the violent, generational evil done to so many by so many others. We need to accept the truth that we not not ready, not mature, not disciplined enough to give guns to basically everyone who wants them.

We're not there yet.

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