Thursday, June 2, 2022

Guns and Anger

There are lots of solutions to gun violence in America. 

Tougher background checks. Good guys with guns. Raising the age limit. Metal detectors. School resource officers. No high-capacity magazines. Gun registration. Allow more concealed carry. Allow less concealed carry.

We have no shortage of answers. People feel very passionate about the answers. People feel very passionate about disagreeing with the solutions offered by other people. 

And we all know who the "other people" are. They won't listen to reason. They are politically motivated. They take donations from the NRA. They take donations from George Soros. They only care about power. They want the state to have complete control of our lives. They only want criminals to have guns. They don't care about children being gunned down. They believe that crimes are committed by hunks of metal.

Mass shootings have become so common that we lose track. When will we see enough carnage to do something? In Uvalde, Texas the two funeral homes have scheduled out services for about two weeks. It takes a long time to bury 19 students and two teachers. The town will never be the same.

Some will leverage this display of grief to stir up anger against "them." If they would just wake up and do something, we could finally stop gun violence.

And that seems to be the state of discourse on gun violence. We need to get the other people to shut up and listen to our workable solutions. We are angry with them because they are standing in the way of ending this crisis once and for all. 

Anger abounds.

Let that sink in. Anger abounds. 

The solution to the problem is not to let one angry side prevail over the other angry side. That just breeds more anger. Many who passionately believe they have all the answers are really making the problem worse. 

Mass shootings are only part of the problem. Consider the wave of road rage, air rage, ballfield tantrums, school board showdowns. We have an angry society. And this seeps into the souls of young people and old people. Too often this anger becomes violence.

We can't legislate our way out of this societal mess. Some laws may help, but, frankly, I don't know which ones.

What will help is love. If we will work to find a loving response, even to that uniformed idiot who thinks he has all the answers, we may begin to see some change. It will take more than just a few self-righteous do-gooders writing blog posts. It will take more than posting memes on Facebook. It will take more than following anger-management practices.

We will need to care about people. We will need to care about our own families, our neighbors, our schools. We will need to care about poor people and justice for the disadvantaged. We will need to stop caring so much about being right. We will need to see people as those who are created in the image of God, people who matter to God, even if they have misguided ideas.

We will need to love angry people. Nothing disarms or redirects angry people more than love. Angry people expect anger in return. And when we respond with love, they have to recalibrate. They have to take a deep breath. 

You probably have some ideas about how to stop gun violence. Maybe you know of laws or policies that need to change. That's good. But make sure that you share your ideas with love. Because only love can bring an end to violence. Love the children. Love your neighbors. Love the unlovable. Love yourself. 

That all sounds utopian. But Jesus seemed to think it would work.