Monday, October 1, 2012


                                                                  Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld -- Cain Kills Abel
 Detail-Game: Call-of-Juarez-Bound-in-Blood
Guns are ubiquitous.  Guns are us.  I started writing this at the time of a shooter near the Empire State Building in August [feared a terrorist, turned out to be disgruntled employee].  The shooting in yesterday’s paper was that of a son mistaken for an intruder by his father in New Fairfield, Conn.  Tomorrow is the ten year anniversary of the first killing in the “Beltway sniper” attacks.  Pick any day, one can read news of some individual and/or mass murder--or tragic gun misuse--in our country.  It’s become routine, from Columbine to Aurora--Wisconsin to Minnesota--rippling through all homelands east and west.

The first sin outside paradise—murder.  Cain and Abel.  The Good News came to change this: “Put away the sword, those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” -- the last words of Jesus to his gathered disciples before he dies on the cross.  Have we followers of Jesus paid any attention at all?

re we safer now with gun proliferation laws?  A new permissiveness of violence—turns back the lessons of WWII.  Our veterans of that war, volunteered into a sea of bloodshed, were often shell-shocked on return, loathe to discuss war experiences.  Now, against all their spiritual inclinations, many vets are de-commissioned from our war on terrors, with violence professionalized-internalized.  And for other vast hoards of couch potatoes, violence has become entertainment.

Empire State Bldg shooter—latest in a long line of solitary gunslingers—seeking solace for wounded egos by killing others.  Giving out freely the most powerful personal weapons available, in a country where our national wars have transitioned into personal battlegrounds, is a bad idea.  “Shoot first ask questions later” and “make my day” are attitudes that promote death, not right to life.

My friend Jim is an ardent hunter and gun enthusiast.  I, though a vegetarian, respect his use of guns.  The mass violence of stockyards and slaughterhouse are painfully unnecessary in a nation that has so much surplus food.  Jim’s ability as a good hunter makes his method of providing meat for the table less violent than the mass production.  And there is some conscious respect in his way of taking life for food.

he multiple murders being perpetrated by the past decades’ self-appointed assassins, with their hi-powered guns and bullets, are a completely different use of weapons.  Gratuitous fast-and-furious violence.  Guns as people killers.  Military hardware brought into the public sector, to settle disputes in warlike fashion.  This is a disease, this proliferation of quick kill firepower.  There is a physicians’ group dedicated to preventing this socially violent virus.  The membership of the NRA [but not their politicians] wants common sense controls.

Guns as gods.  They can be tools of the Great Deceiver, helping someone who’s lost a job, or been humiliated, turn into a death angel, blasting everyone’s pain to new heights of excruciation, and depths of despair.  Yes, it is the mind, and not simply the gun, that does the killing, but why make killing so damnably easy?  Kept for protection, they most often fail to protect.**  Kept with the intention to murder, they are occasions of grave sin, evil which drags us all down.

Cain kills Abel -- Rembrandt sketch
Can gun owners not help us find some limit to the mayhem?  You know what’s responsible, and what’s not.  Military style weapons in our communities, concealed handguns in our bars and churches?  There has to be a better way.  

Christians believe we are saved into eternity by Jesus Christ.  “There is nothing that can separate us from the love of our God.” Romans 8:39   We all know that we are going to die.  Many of us believe we will be welcomed into a heavenly life after death.  Does Jesus ever indicate we’ll get there any more surely, armed to the teeth?

Mistakes that can’t be corrected.

**A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in a completed or attempted suicide (11x), criminal assault or homicide (7x), or unintentional shooting death or injury (4x) than to be used in a self-defense shooting. (Kellermann, 1998, p. 263).
A 2009 study found that people in possession of a gun are 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault (Branas)
[from Brady Campaign to Prevent GunViolence]

83 Americans killed by guns every day [90 deaths fromauto accidents], approaches being the major cause of acute violent death in the USA.

            Violence Policy Center [includes international]

St. Michael's feast day was Saturday, Sept. 29th.  He has been named the patron saint of soldiers.  His only sword is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

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