Will we ever stop gun violence in America?

It happened again. Gun violence in America. In a school. Today, it’s about Nashville. Tomorrow? It’ll be another school. Some people cry out to stop the violence. Others cry out to keep the assault style weapons that are so often used in these mass killings. Will we ever stop gun violence in America?

Will we ever stop gun violence in America?

Uh – no, we aren’t going to stop gun violence in America. Not the way we’re going.

Do we think it’s funny? Like stabbing potatoes and smearing them with ketchup?

And by the way, it’s not just violence.

These are real people. Kids. Murdered. You can’t just wipe off the blood and life goes on.

It’s also not just about guns. Not even “just” killings. It’s about cold blooded murder. Yes – murder. Let’s call it what it is for a change.

We hear the argument, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And while that’s true, in a way, it’s also so misleading it sets a false narrative. Without the guns of choice, these murderers would not be able to murder so many innocent people. So many children.

Why is there so much gun violence in America?

You know, the answer to this is really quite simple. There’s a lot of gun violence in America because of one things. Money. Lots and lots of money.

In 2022, the gun lobbies sent over 16 million dollars to federal candidates and political parties. That’s $16,000,000.

It works out to $22,800 per person killed, murdered, in a mass shooting. Apparently, the official definition of mass shooting for the record keepers in when four or more people are killed or injured. So I guess that’s what a life is worth in America in 2021.

However, if we go the the income side of the ledger, those who are in favor of keeping gun “rights”, receive, on average, $58,000 each. And who are those people? The $16+ Million is for federal offices. Ninety-nine percent of tat\\hat money went to Republicans. Given the nearly even split in Congress between Democrats and Republicans, that’s 16 Million dollars split between 272 members of Congress (222 in the House and 50 in the Senate).

It’s likely that Senators got a larger piece of the pie and their House counterparts got less, given the relative importance of the two. Plus, the Senate term is six years, while the House term is only two. Finally, the more tenured/powerful members of each branch surely got more than the newbies. So at the high end, the numbers are probably much higherer. But still – there’s a lot of money flying around to keep the ight for Americans to murder each other. And for some to profit from it.

The numbers above are readily available from various websites. But did you know this one:

According to a House panel investigation, gun manufacturers made more than $1 billion from selling assault-style weapons to civilians in the last decade. Some companies’ earnings tripled from 2019 to 2021. For example, Daniel Defense took in more than $120 million in sales of AR-15-style rifles in 2021, compared with $40 million in 2019.  (From NBC News)

As I said – money. Lots of money.

Can we even hope to stop gun violence and its associated murders in America?

If we don’t change something here in America, the simple answer is no.

There’s too much money in it.

Too much money for the people getting rich from it.

Too much power for the politicians staying in office because of that money.

Too many Americans who want the right to kill each other. And let’s get real here. No one needs to target practice with these weapons. I used to target practice with a bow & arrow and a single shot rifle. At least those were challenging. No one needs to hunt with them these weapons. It’s not even a “sporting” challenge for the poor animal. Full disclosure, I don’t hunt, never did, and don’t see a reason in this day and age.

So – when it comes right down to it, even if someone tries to convince themselves, maybe rightly, that they don’t want the gun to kill people, you cannot possibly avoid the reality that that’s what these weapons were made for. It’s what they do. And it’s the weapon of choice for too many people who actually do want to kill other people. Do no matter how you come down to it, the right to own a gun like this is the right to kill people.

What about the second amendment?

By the way, the second amendment argument doesn’t work. The second amendment does not – I repeat, does not give anyone the right to bear arms as we’re so often told. It’s very specific. It should be repealed, because it’s not even necessary any longer. Have you ever actually read the second amendment?

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.

Second amendment to the U.S. Constitution 1https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-2/#:~:text=A%20well%20regulated%20Militia%2C%20being,Arms%2C%20shall%20not%20be%20infringed.

Remember, this was written when the United States did not have a real army. There were state militias, but no actual federal force for protection of the new country. This situation was rectified a long time ago. The need for militias is no longer present. And let’s get real here. Unless we’re going to give citizens the right to have tanks, bombs, jets to drop the bombs, air defense systems, etc., these assault style weapons aren’t going to put down any kind of armed force anymore.

Any argument that tries to say the second amendment is for individuals to have these kind of weapons for whatever purpose they want just doesn’t hold water. It either ignores history or flat out doesn’t know our history.

Who else keeps the gun thing going?

Do you know who else keeps all this gun stuff going? It may surprise you, unless you’re paying close attention.

I’m very sad to say this, but too many of my fellow Christians are all in for gun “rights”.

Some Christians, including some who have written back to tell me why they support guns in the past. But also some who don’t directly support it, but do vote for the people who do support dun rights. And apparently, by their actions at least,, support gun violence, because they refuse to even try to do anything about all the violence and murder.

Why do so many Christians vote for people who won’t do anything to stop the gun violence?

Some of the people I know vote Republican because they’re anti-Democrat. Maybe the most common issue is abortion.

I can’t help but wonder, do they even think about all the other things that should go into deciding who to vote for.

No politician, Republican or Democrat, should be voted for because of religious issues. They aren’t in office to legislate religion. Or to force any religion on anyone. At least, they aren’t supposed to be. But we are turning our government into that, aren’t we? At least, too many Christians are.

But we shouldn’t. Do we remember what Jesus said about His citizenship, and therefore ours? Whether your Christian or not – you should check this out.

Jesus Before Pilate

18:29-40 pp — Mt 27:11-18, 20-23; Mk 15:2-15; Lk 23:2, 3, 18-25

Jn 18:28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

Jn 18:30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Jn 18:31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected. 32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.

Jn 18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jn 18:34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

Jn 18:35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jn 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Jn 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Jn 18:38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

Jn 18:40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.

Notice verse 36: My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.

Just in case you don’t remember, or didn’t know, here’s something from Paul on how that relates to us. What our goal should be. And what that we should already be working on it and achieved it to some extent.

Pressing on Toward the Goal

Phil 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Phil 3:15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Phil 3:17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Phil 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

Did you catch this in verse 20? But our citizenship is in heaven. Yes, in Heaven. Where Jesus’ kingdom is.

Yes, we’re citizens of the country we live in. But, the way we live our lives should be based on being citizens of Heaven. Further, we should know which things in life go with which portion of our citizenship.

It’s no coincidence that the Pharisees were trying to trick Jesus in the scene below. Various people will try to do the same to us today.

Paying Taxes to Caesar – Mark

12:13-17 pp — Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26

Mk 12:13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Mk 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
And they were amazed at him.

The attempt was to try to get Jesus in trouble with the people by giving a wrong answer – or to say something against God. But look at His answer. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. We can only do that if we know the difference between what belongs to God and what belongs to our leaders here on earth.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote. But I am going to try to get you to think about the bigger picture before you vote. Life isn’t just one issue. Yes, abortion is a sin. Murder even. But then, when people are killed by gun violence, that’s also murder.

Protecting the division between the haves and the have nots isn’t good for poor people. Or for disadvantaged people. Or a whole lot of others. And yet, oftentimes this kind of thing frives both abortions and gun violoence.

Hating people who are different from us is also an issue. So is not providing help, even for people who don’t have a job and can’t afford food. On the other hand, allowing and even assisting people with getting illicit drugs continues the divide between those who and have and those who don’t. It keeps them down and out.

Not punishing crime only leads to more and worse rime. But overdoing the punishment condemns many to a lifestyle they’ll never get out of.

Conclusion – Will we ever stop gun violence in America?

There are no easy answers. I could go on and on, but I think my point is made.

However, for the Christians who read this, we do have an alternative to relying solely on our elected leaders. People who sometimes try to cash in on our religion, while also cashing in on things that are very much opposed by our religion.

What’s our best alternative? How about prayer. Calling out to God for help? And I don’t mean just saying some words with a goal of impressing people that we mentioned God’s name. Saying Gd’s name to get some votes. No, I mean really asking for His help.

You probably know about The Lord’s Prayer. But do you remember what Jesus said before and after it? Here’s a reminder. Especially check out the underlined verses.

Prayer – Matthew

Mt 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Mt 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

Mt 6:10 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Mt 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

Mt 6:12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Mt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Yes, we must really mean it. Act like we mean it, of course. But in our hearts, truly mean it. For more on that, I have a series on The Lord’s Prayer.

Of special interest for this topic may be one segment of it about how we are not to pray.

Now having said that, it’s also possible that we’ve reached a point of no return. The Bible tells us there will be a time when the world will be, for a time, given over completely to evil. Sadly, we seem to be on a crash course towards that day.

If that’s the case, there’s another series that you should be interested in. It’s about seven letters to seven churches in Revelation. It has warnings and encouragements for that time.

The encouragements are for those who truly follow Jesus. The warning are for those who don’t. Depending on which you are, there are things in those letters for all of us. I invite you to check it out.

Revelation 2.14

Seven Letters To Seven Churches

While John was on Patmos, Jesus appeared to him and gave him messages to send to seven churches. 2Thompson, J., ed. (2020). Lists of Biblical People, Places, Things, and Events. Faithlife. These same messages are valid for us today as well.

Just in case you think this is all no big deal, that it’s alarmist, especially if you’re Christian, I invite you to check out the passage below. It’s the very last portion of the Bible.

BTW, you may notice that it seems I’ve left a quote from Jesus in black text, rather than red. There’s some disagreement about whether some of the apparent quotes are actual words from Jesus, or part of the vision that John includes as his observation of the vision we read in Revelation. I followed the 1984 NIV.

Jesus Is Coming

Rev 22:7 “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

Rev 22:8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Rev 22:10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. 11 Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.”

Rev 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Rev 22:14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Rev 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Rev 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Rev 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

One final note – Yes, I am coming soon doesn’t mean soon, as in shortly. Instead, it means at any moment/with no announcement. We have to wonder, how much longer can it be, given the direction we’re going in the world these days?

It’s tempting to say that we’ve gotten ourselves to a place where we let the genie out, and cannot get it bac into the bottle. But, of course, that argument doesn’t work. The genie will put itself back in the bottle after our third wish. No, this is more like the toothpaste problem. We’ve let out all the toothpaste. And it’s not going to put itself back in the tube.

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

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    Thompson, J., ed. (2020). Lists of Biblical People, Places, Things, and Events. Faithlife.

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