Thursday, January 17, 2013

Worshipping At The Altar Of The Gun

I think Christian gun fanatics should seriously consider their views about guns because it seems to me they are verging perilously close to idolatry in their reverence for their weapons. The second Commandment says that man shall not "make a carved image...to bow down or serve". Some of the attitudes I read about guns on Facebook strike me as near worshipful. No restrictions must be allowed, none, not ever, because guns are sacred. Or at least the Second Amendment is sacred and they interpret that amendment in the most expansive way possible. According to the Second, they must be allowed to have assault weapons and 100-round clips. They simply cannot live without them. The bloody image of 20 little first-graders, ripped apart by 3 and 11 bullets apiece seems not touch to them. They shrug it off that horrific vision. Yes, it's too bad, but....

For years, I've heard gun people say we have enough laws. Let's enforce the ones we already have! What the president did was, essentially, call them on that view. The 23 orders he signed  dealt with proposals like putting stricter penalties in effect for knowingly selling a gun to someone who cannot not pass a background check (such as those with domestic violence convictions), mandating mental health care professionals to inform law enforcement about patients they believe represent a threat to themselves or others, begin doing research on the causes of violence, begin collecting data to discover where the bulk of unregistered weapons originate (oddly, the last two have been vehemently opposed by the NRA), using the COPS program to increase officers on the street and besides all that, calling for Congress to pass funding to allow schools to hire armed guards if they choose which, of course, is the NRA's very own proposal although they can't bring themselves to give Obama credit even for that.

Gun lovers are their own worst enemies. If they had met the Newtown tragedy with the same kind of horror most of us felt, along with a willingness to at least come to the table open to discussing some possible proposals to limit the carnage, we would have given them credit for not being the irrational fanatics they swear they aren't. Instead, you could tell almost from the git-go that their main concern was how it would affect them and their guns. If they had shown some sympathy that didn't sound like the lip service of Wayne LaPierre, "yes, it was a tragedy - okay, now we got that over with, let's talk about how we need more guns", they would have earned some credibility from those of us in the middle.

That's me, essentially. I own guns, I shoot guns. I plan to keep my guns. I support the framework of the Second Amendment. That doesn't mean I think the One True Way is "all guns, all the time". By their recalcitrance, they push me farther to the left than I would normally have gone. I have debated with people on Facebook and in the end, many insist that I don't mean what I say but that I really want to take all their guns. they know, even if I won't admit it, that that's my secret plan. That's their excuse for fighting against every solution the other side proposes, no matter how minor.

Ironically, gun folks tend to be the most publicly patriotic. As a huge NASCAR, I see the flags and the hear the anthems and feel the support for the military. Oh, how we love our country and our soldiers...except when it's being led by this particular president and, I guess, when we don't trust our soldiers not to turn on us at the drop of a hat.

Because that's the underlying theme of the gun nuts. The revolution is coming and we're going to need those guns to fight our own government and presumably, those very soldiers we celebrated just last week at the NASCAR race.

Guns are not holy icons. The 23rd Psalm says, "thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me", it doesn't say "thy rod and thy 30-round magazine, they comfort me."