Guns and Violence

Non-Violence, also known as The Knotted Gun, by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

March 2020 was the second highest month for gun sales, ever ( started this post in April). That is until June and July came around. Starting in 2008, gun sales have been on a steady upward trajectory. Before this latest trending upward of sales the highest month for gun sales was the month following the Sandy Hook massacre.

Guns Sold2,002,3751,830,3951,929,1362,613,8712,461,3762,001,182
Long Guns806,198700,962775,541996,609969,985712,883

That’s a lot of guns.

What does this tell us about ourselves, and our underlying ideas about security, and power?

That really isn’t a hard question. Our rabid allegiance to violence is revealed in our dedication to weapons. Our nation believes that violence is our best defense and option in the face of opposition. Violence is our first response to conflict. These gun statistics reveal that that is an individual and corporate belief. We measure greatness and power by our ability to do violence, and by our aggression and acts of violence.

This is why we invest so much money into the military; this is why we go out and buy guns when we feel that they will be needed or that the right to own them will in any way be impinged or hindered.

Jesus’ teaching on power was a teaching antithetical to violence.

  • If you want to be great, you must become the least, the servant of all
  • Turn the other cheek
  • If a man demands your coat, give him your cloak also
  • Love your enemy

Violence centered thinking is basic in humanity; it is basic in the United States. It is reflected in our constitution where the right to violence ranks second on our top priority list. The shift from a violence mentality to a Jesus mentality takes concerted effort and a lifetime of work. We are quick to defend and rationalize and justify our right to violence. Moving into the mind of Christ in this area takes a radical and counter-cultural repentance.

Gun sales peaked this month because people are afraid. The possibility of civil unrest and disruption and potential chaos and societal disintegration makes people insecure. Buying a gun, an instrument of power, gives my anxiety a hiding place, relief. I now have a sense that I can maintain control over the variables of life that lay ahead.

Again, this is an anti-biblical approach. The Bible doesn’t teach us to trust in chariots (Psalm 20:7), rather to turn our swords into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4).

We have a lot of work to do.

Photo by Maria Lysenko on Unsplash

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