The long trail of sad excuses uttered by gun zealots

FIREARMYou’ve heard them say it before. It’s the slogan treasured by NRA members and politicians sucking the smoking hot barrels of the gun industry.

“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.

Manifest Destiny

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?

Providential perversions

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.

Hidden agendas

Nature and eternity are foundations of the BibleTo 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.

Wipeout

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.

FlagSolarSee, 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.

Unhinged beliefs

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.

Extremes

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 “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocialoften criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”

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.

306523_3795453241128_1825138197_nFirst, 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.

Thin veneer

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-blackConsider Psalm 121: 7-8 for starters: “The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Jesus was even more succinct on the issue: Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. …”
Lo and behold, the supposed right to keep and bear arms looks like an extreme denial of faith in the context of scripture. Because if you do not trust the Lord to keep you from all harm, and you do not find capacity to love your neighbor and your enemy, then you are living a lie in the face of God’s commands. Guns are actually a denial of God’s power and authority in this world.
The problem with the lie that guns are the solution to violence and social problems is that this meme has been disturbingly confused with the call to patriotism and national protection. But again, at the heart of this claim there is deceit as well.
We know from a long line of public statements by radical groups on the Right and the Left that mistrust of the government is a key reason why so many people want to keep and own guns. At the heart of all this is fear. The Second Amendment has been interpreted by many to mean that keeping guns is necessary to keep the powers of our own government in check.
Thus wildly formed “militias” project their own worst fears on the national interest. They contend that the government is indeed coming to “take their guns” and that it is the right to bear arms that keeps our country free and independent. Some have even claimed that the reason nations like China would never invade America is that there are so many guns they could never accomplish the task of going door to door killing its citizens.
Wild West in the Middle East
abu-ghraibOne could argue that point well enough given the Wild West state of Middle Eastern countries in which martial law and terrorist groups reign with impunity. Yet when the United States invaded Iraq without direct cause in 2003, it was to overthrow a dictator and install order in a country where it was feared terrorism already existed. Instead we drew very well-armed and creative terrorists to a nation where they now rule the day.
So that’s the model upon which gun proponents in America want to base our Republican democracy. They would rather have their guns and act like terrorists against their own country than work to establish a reasonably balanced right to bear arms in which people are not at constant threat of being murdered by citizens with perverse motivations and weapons to match.
Mass murderers
Because that’s where we stand today. The shootings and mass murder keep adding up. When the white supremacist gun owner with a vendetta against black people sat in church for an hour before opening fire and killing nine innocent worshippers, apparently no one noticed that he was carrying a gun. So much for the claimed value of Concealed Carry laws. And had the other worshippers all been carrying guns, would any one of them been capable of pistol-whipping the shooter there on the spot? In church? With God present?
The ultimate cynic might now claim that it was obvious God had no reason to protect those people from evil. There is still such deep racism toward black people in America that there are those who likely welcomed the attacks. Just as ugly were the attempts to politicize and claim those murders were not an attack on people of color, but were instead an attack on Christianity itself. That’s the big Talking Point these days for Meta-Christians seeking to own the authority of Christianity for political purpose.
Just as ugly were the attempts to politicize the event through claims those murders were not an attack on people of color, but were instead an attack on Christianity itself. That’s the big Talking Point these days for Meta-Christians seeking to own the authority of Christianity for political purposes.
An unholy alliance
How desperately sick it is that the very people willing to politicize these murders tend to be the very people who side with gun zealots to get elected. If ever there was a case where phony Christians had blood on their hands. this was it. Those politicians that refuse to engage in reasonable discussion of gun controls, who claim cynically that “more guns” would have prevented these murders, are directly responsible for the deaths of those killed by sociopath who shot people dead at close range.
If you are one of those people who engage in sick excuses and propaganda such as “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” then the blood of all those murdered by handgun and other gun violence is on your hands as well. Don’t you get it? It idoes not matter if
Don’t you get it? It does not matter if your own gun habits are law-abiding or not. If you support a falsely romantic vision of a Wild West for the New Age, you are part of the problem. Your politics are corrupt. Your religion is confused and perverse. Your notion of patriotism has more in common with terrorism than national pride. You are part of the long trail of sad excuses uttered by gun zealots.
And you have blood on your hands to show for it.