“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
And isn’t that nice? That’s about the best excuse for lack of responsibility ever conceived. It’s in line with a long line of propagandistic utterances used to justify killing in the past.
Let’s consider another trite little phrase used to justify selfish behavior that led to the death of millions. That would be manifest destiny. According to the website United States History, the phrase Manifest Destiny was first recorded in a magazine titled United States Magazine and Democratic Review. That’s where it appeared in this context: “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our multiplying millions.”
That sounds much like the justification for the establishment of Concealed Carry laws in the United States. And isn’t it fascinating how the supposed freedoms allotted one segment of society is accorded so much favoritism over the rights, and very survival, of another?
Notice the injection of God into the formula for Manifest Destiny. Always a desperate ploy for approval, the practice of invoking religion (more specifically that of Providence) is designed to raise doubts in the minds of those whose reasons for objecting to the obvious force of will behind a selfish motive. When there is no moral excuse for what you are about to propose, such as killing lots of people to protect your own interests, it is always and forever convenient to claim that God (and country) are truly on your side.
But of course Manifest Destiny was never amounted to more than an excuse for bad behavior disguised as good intentions. It was not a fully actualized ideology in any sense. With its beginnings as a justification and instrument for war, Manifest Destiny kept that purpose alive in the very event of resistance to the practices of primarily white and powerful politicians and their minions.
To be sure, there were some noble aspirations lurking at the core of Manifest Destiny. There was the belief that the American experiment was indeed exceptional, even vital to the spread of Republican Democracy in the world. “We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand….”
Those were the words of Thomas Paine. But take special note of his reference to Noah, the biblical character whose ostensible contribution to world history came on the heels of a worldwide genocide by none other than God.
Sorry, Thomas. That less than oblique reference exposes the deep pathology behind the supposed march to freedom invoked in Manifest Destiny. Because when that sort of thinking is combined with any sort of racist or triumphal sense that God is on your side, then things can get warped and dangerous pretty quickly.
So it was that Manifest Destiny served at least as a backdrop for genocide of Native Americans on the North American continent. It was a flood of white settlers this time that wiped out the populations of all those who stood in the way. Our nation has hardly shed a tear for those who died or were displaced by people assuming their supposed natural rights to the land.
It was superior weapons that won the day. The white man’s guns were far better than the weapons of the Native Americans. But that’s where the interesting junctions of past history and current propaganda converge. If we simply take the modern phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and apply it to the execution of Manifest Destiny against the millions of people slaughtered in the forests and plains of North America, then our nation began its history with thick layers of blood on its hands.
Cowboys and Indians
Indeed, the entire “cowboys and Indians” mantra rests deep in the psychology of all those abide by our nation’s oral and visual history. The days of the Wild West where gunman roamed free with handguns to engage in gunfights on the streets is also rife with symbolism. These were supposedly “free and independent” gunslingers. Yet their nobility essentially constituted martial law, or worse yet, vigilante justice.
We even had a “cowboy President” in George W. Bush who hailed from Texas whose idea of foreign policy was to shoot first and ask questions later. The Iraqis were the Indians according to this narrative, so we went in with guns blazing.
The real Wild West
How convenient then that America has begun its evolution back toward the day when people walked around with guns strapped to their hips on holsters. But wait a minute! The real history of guns in the Wild West is something entirely different. Many towns had strict laws about checking your guns before you could walk around freely. it simply was not true that everyone walked around all the time carrying weapons concealed or openly. Civilization and our Constitution demanded an entirely different dynamic.
See, the Second Amendment recognizes the importance of civility first, gun rights second. It reads like this. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
As the Old West vitally recognized, the phrasing of the Second Amendment does not specifically guarantee the right to bear arms at all times. It guarantees the right to own guns. And it guarantees to bear Arms as needed. But it does not guarantee the right to willfully impose those purposes in all circumstances. The term “shall not be infringed” has been interpreted as an unhindered right to keep, show and use weapons in any circumstance.
The term “shall not be infringed” has been interpreted by gun zealots as an unhindered right to keep, show and use weapons in any circumstance. But our own history from none other than the Wild West shows that wielding weapons outright was not originally encouraged or tolerated. That entire notion is unhinged from reality. Gun control is the key basis for salvation for one good
Gun control is the key basis for salvation for one good reasons. Guns are designed for one purpose, and that is killing. Their presence presages violence and actions that would not occur in circumstances where guns freely carried were not present. The unhinged claim that guns actually “prevent” violence is a sociopathic response to the reality that people do indeed kill people.
Gun proponents will call this definition extreme, but the trail of excuses used to define unhinged gun laws is a form of sociopathy. Sociopathy is defined as “antisocial,
Extreme? Hardly. Let’s look at this claim in reverse to understand how accurate a term sociopathy really is for gun proponents who will not listen to reason on the issue of gun control.
First, gun proponents love to claim that it is only criminals that abuse guns. But of course, the first time any person abuses the use of their gun in acts of violence, aggression or calculated murder, they instantly jump over to the condition of criminality. Let’s not forget that pet slogan of gun proponents: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It defines the quick-trigger mentality gun proponents love to claim as a potential prevention measure against gun violence.
We instantly begin to see that the defense of guns as a mode of protection is a very thin veneer. The excuse to defend supposedly “law-abiding” gun owners turns out to be a paper-thin and fragile excuse for the concept of unrestricted gun ownership. If you do not consider the instability of society in general, then the idea that all gun owners will obey the laws is an acceptable defense of the right to keep and bear arms at all times. But that is demanding that we consider our gun laws in a void, absent of human frailty and obsessive characteristics that we know exist not only in criminals, but in all of society.
If you study ancient and modern societies with any sort of objective assessment, you note that our world is comprised of a competitive, often dismissive lack of order.
And, if we do our moral duty as Christians and actually read the Bible to consider the impact of all the discord, lies and sins that constitute evil, it should be evident that guns are not the ultimate solution to human conflict. In fact they contribute to the problem in massive ways. More than 10,000 people in America die each year from gun violence. Many more are wounded or maimed.
Quite the opposite
Guns are not the solution to society’s problems. That would be forgiveness and love. The Bible does not mince words about this. The Bible does not encourage us all to take up arms in the event that we’re confronted by evil.
Jesus was even more succinct on the issue: Matthew 5:43-48