Recent shooting that resulted in deaths in suburban Atlanta, Boulder Colorado, Gilroy, CA “Garlic Festival“, El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio re-ignited the call for “what to do“. Advocates of 2A right and gun-control groups will again surface that will fan the flame and stoke the fire on an already “toxic environment” we find ourselves in. Finger-pointing will be right-on-the-heels before the day is out. A well-known aphorism will again be quoted that the “only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.
And that begs the question: Do guns, by themselves, kill? Of course not but should some type of guns be banned? If so, some argue that other means to kill may have to be banned as well, like knives, cars that mowed down crowds, stones and even fists…sound ridiculous, indeed.
Taking extreme scenarios from both ends of the spectrum, history shows people kill even before there were guns. Remember, Cain killed Abel without using guns. But, at least, why not ban assault rifles? Some argue that on having the most destructive “weapons of war“, during the height of “nuclear race“ between USA and USSR, there was no exchange of nuclear missiles against each other because of MAD (mutually assured destruction) which was an effective deterrent that led to “detente“. Sen. Lindsay Graham has semi-automatic rifle for self-defense in “apocalyptic scenarios” (never used it for offense), should his weapon be confiscated or banned?
On the other hand, statistics show that gun violence not only increased in frequency but also in severity and lethality according to this opinion, that should give gun–rights advocates an occasion to pause regarding “assault weapons and gun themselves“. Yes, we are no longer under England’s monarchical rule to justify a “militia”. Already, we have a Constitutional Republic with 3 branches of government equal in powers to balance each other; powers delegated by the people in every election; we can change representatives and current laws that we don’t like and are not workable. Still, others maintain that realistically and urgently we need to do something.
While there are certainly measures like “universal background check” that can be implemented, still it has its own shortcomings, like a “mentally competent or law-abiding person” may become violent later. Likewise, “Red Flag law“, aka ERPO or GVRO can complement the preceding UBC, although it has its own unique detractors invoking violation of 2A right to bear arms and 4A right to due process. POTUS45 appears to support those initiatives. Notably, in response to the Las Vegas shooting, bump stocks have been prohibited by executive order of Pres. Trump. If “bump stocks” that enhance lethality of guns can be prohibited with Executive Order, what about assault/automatic weapons that discharge many bullets/minute? Others cite danger of false claim, like “swatting“, used against law-abiding persons with registered guns
Aside from the above, there are other salient proposals to reduce gun violence and promote gun-safety. With lawmakers in branches of government divided on this issue, bipartisanship is evermore needed to enact law, to be doable. Nevertheless, while humanity can do its best to find, prioritize and act on solutions, still, we have limits and boundaries.
Starts with the Mind
Inanimate objects like guns or knives don’t have life of their own to harm or not; only the person decides. Since this issue is difficult and sensitive, controversy then continues to no end.
Be that as it may, these proposals do not address the core issue of “mental state“ that changes later. Notwithstanding the concerted efforts of the nation through it’s representatives, it is the “mind” of the people that decides whether to engage in or act out violence, harming others or not. Undoubtedly, it is the “mind-set” of a person that makes him/her to act out violent behavior. It can be a mental disease/disorder or the mental state of any “Tom, Dick and Harry”. And, this “mind” is a composite of what collectively the person developed from birth and matured into adulthood. It is an accumulation of what the person concludes to be the best for self-interest or self-preservation that makes the person. History is replete with examples to buttress this mental mechanism to act which requires MOM (motive, opportunity, means); no pun intended. Understandably, assault weapons compared to glock or knife, as “means“, have ease of use to kill more people, should their sale be banned? Culture and philosophy in politics also play a role in how the person thinks and acts.
Still, what can be done about this problem of the “mind“? Behavioral health providers proposed ways and means to help alleviate this problem. But, there are myths and evidenced-based facts on this regard and statistics are incomplete. According to a Northwestern study, available gun violence data doesn’t show full picture.
Loopholes in the law are also factors. According to a new Duke Health analysis, “People with serious mental illnesses who use guns to commit suicide are often legally eligible to purchase guns, despite having a past record of an involuntary mental health examination and brief hospitalization,“
With that said, Glen Geher, PhD. was pessimistic and was quoted “if the violence problem is due to mental health issues, the future is bleak“. “In fact, in a powerful Psychology Today post from 2015, his colleague Jean Twenge provides a mountain of data speaking to the facts that
(b) this observed pattern is not exclusively the result of over-diagnosis. In short, our nation is getting less and less mentally healthy with time”
The problem is multifactorial and not just because of mental health according to Dr. Geher. One can then argue that because of the complexity surrounding gun-violence, that this is all the more reason to favor gun-control and allow gun ownership license only at home or elsewhere for self-defense consistent with 2A. Additionally, the responsibility and obligation to defend others devolve to a “regulated militia” aka, police authorities in the city, state or federal governments under subordination to or governed by civilian power.
While collectively as a nation we must endeavor urgently to find ways and means to solve domestic and foreign terrorism, at best, humanity can only do so much. Clearly, an all-encompassing solution to this “crisis in gun violence” is not in the offing. Yet, wasn’t the perfect solution alluded to, generations ago? Read on.
What is wrong with humans? In all of our history, there is good and evil done by humans. Governments rise and fall, wars and rumors of war all throughout, etched in memories written or not. Certainly, there are progress, advancements, peace and prosperity. A good man can do bad things and an evil man can become good, as we define for ourselves what is good/evil at any given time; no consistency in action. Also, there are many laws in the book, many are laws of morality, but not followed nor enforced, why?
This brings to mind the same problem with Israel and the Law, specifically moral laws, the Decalogue. And apostle Paul explained why we do what we do and do what we don’t like to do in Romans 7 as highlighted in Romans 7:18 (KJV)
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Romans 7:14 “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
From the preceding, Paul addressed one of the 2 components of man: physical component which is the “flesh“,i.e., “carnal” that came from the ground/earthy. Obliquely, the other component was intimated: the “breath of life”, aka “spirit of man”, which is spiritual as it was breathe into Adam’s nostrils directly from God who is spirit-composed. He echoed the principle that in “flesh” dwells “no good thing” as far as God is concerned, even with “all righteousness coming from it“, rendered to be as “filthy rags“. This was understood later by Job that in spite of him following the moral Law perfectly on his own, he was still a sinner (assigned to the sin of Adam) that needs a Savior; “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you”
Essentially, the Law is spiritual (moral laws) and therefore requires “spiritual/moral power“ to overcome the “lust of the flesh“. There is “war/conflict” between our mind and flesh and that we are incapable on our own to consistently follow the “spiritual/moral law“ until the “Helper”, Spirit-power in-dwells in the “real you” to empower us.
And once this Helper/Advocate is given to human beings, it will write the laws in our heart and mind (no longer in tables of stone) to guide, teach and empower towards seeing the truth. And this Holy Spirit was given only AFTER man-Jesus was resurrected and went to the Father.
With the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, we were commanded to :
Galatians 5:16-17 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please“.
Galatians 5:16-26 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Gun violence is a major and urgent problem for all of humanity. This will continue in spite of our best efforts because of inherent “temporary weakness” of our physical/material creation. Evil starts in the “mind” aka “spirit-of-man” which was created as a “temple”/template. It starts there, whether they be gun violence, sexual abuse, greed, pride, hatred, etc. and for that matter, any temptation or “pull of the flesh”. Yes, we can change our mind, on our own, through experiential education, like Job. However, this will not last nor be consistent as strong forces dominate self-interest and self-preservation. Our “very best efforts” are like filthy rags“. Our “mind/spirit-of-man” needs an Helper/Advocate to empower it to help us to consistently be against evil as proven by man-Jesus after in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit at River Jordan. But, rejoice, as this inadequacy of man will be eventually empowered by the promised “in-dwelling” of the Holy Spirit to work with our “spirit-of-man” to follow moral laws.
Let us therefore ask and pray to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit“ as man-Jesus was and follow him, the in-dwelling “Spirit of Christ”, in us, consistently, Our development and maturity are still in the process of “ongoing creation” to be “one” with the Father.
God bless 😊🙏😇
Original post of Hyperlink version: August 4, 2019
Updated Sept 2, 2019
Modified March 23, 2021
Addendum: May, 2022 Another mass “school shooting”, 21 dead in Ugalde Texas, USA.