Thou shalt not kill. A commandment that hasn’t lost its currency.
Guns are truly amazing at how quickly they can break this commandment. They bypass the Constitution too, no due process is needed — all you need is a fit of anger and you can judge, condemn and execute all in the same breath.
A gun is a short path to darkness. It is not a holy thing.
The gun is an element of an anti-religion of easy extinction, a vision for those with little power having all the power given the right circumstances. Hate your schoolfriends? Well you can do something about that. Hate your leader? You can do something about that, too.
There is no end to what you may be able to subtract from the universe with your weapon. The power of life and death, just like God. Eat this fruit and your will be like God, knowing good and evil.
But don’t worry, I think guns are cool too, always have. I’m fascinated by them. It’s one the reasons I came to America. I am a guy, and the gun is a modern day version of the apple in Eden. How can you not want what is so forbidden in the garden of men?
When I came to the USA I couldn’t wait to do some shooting — and I did. It’s mostly a boy thing. In many cases, of course, a dead boy thing. My friends only took me shooting a few times as despite my fondness for them there is something about the incompetence of my handling of them that makes my friends avoid that topic with me. It just isn’t in my blood. People only ever took me shooting once.
My friend Dave in Gladstone, a mechanic, lost his young apprentice mechanic to an ill thought out game of Russian Roulette played by alcohol-fueled boys at a late night party. I remember Dave’s devastation at losing this young man who he had considered almost a son, having lost his own son many years before when he was just a baby. Dave had served as a Marine and had a deep respect for sobriety with weapons.
In Lake Elsinore, California, years before in my days of journalism, I went with two friends — private detectives — as they served subpoenas on a drug gang to gather testimony for a murder trial after a young man had been killed. Not long after we had interviewed five of them, served the subpoenas and left, other members of their gang came into the house and shot and killed the adults and their children to avoid the risk of testimony. My friend Richard Post, one of the private detectives, was later kidnapped and murdered in Mexico.
Two years ago, a young boy in my Lutheran church grew up, who I knew and cared about, and after turning 18 stole his grandpa’s gun and blew his brains out in his bedroom.
The blood stain was still wet when I visited. We all wept at his funeral. The shock of it gave his grandmother a heart attack from which she died a couple of months after that.
My friend and congregation member at my internship church, Paul Kemp, an avid gun enthusiast, lost his brother-in-law Steve Forsyth, his wife Cindy and other folk in the notorious Clackamas Town Center Mall to a shooter. Paul has now become a fighter and spokesman for the cause of responsible gun ownership and has gained a national celebrity.
He used to be a spokesman for Habitat for Humanity, but now is a spokesman for responsible gun laws. Steve’s daughter is also part of this force. All of these folk are also responsible gun owners for whom shooting has been part of their lifestyles yet are now part of an impressive third force of militant gun enthusiasts who want law to harness anarchy.
The outrage of Florida’s children from the recent school shooting is understandable. The flaccid politicians have wriggled and squirmed as Florida’s children have begun to take matters into their own hands — becoming children who make war on war. Unlike empty headed kids playing video games against bad aliens, they are now going up against oligarchic parasites of senators and representatives revealing them for what they are.
Two doors up the road from me, when I lived in Aurora, two lovebirds who met at high school and were the popular kids in town, drank heavily one night in their house after their marriage. For some reason rage flared, the boy shot the girl and turned the gun on himself. The boy died instantly and the girl called the police and ambulance, and lived just long enough to tell the story. Their parents who lived across the road were devastated.
When I lived in England, only my ancient uncle, a farmer, had a shotgun to keep the crops from being raided by rabbits. I didn’t have any stories like those I have in America, because there we live unprotected, trusting in God to protect us, and safe from ourselves with a framework of intelligent law.
Some retail stores have recently decided to withhold selling assault rifles from their businesses. I bless them for this and ask God that he showers their business with rewards from heartfelt thinking and analysis. May those with right thinking and love of their neighbors prosper on the earth.
May God keep you safe and prosperous! Amen.
Colin Brown is the former pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Boardman. You can reach him at email@example.com.