Surely we can do better
Published March 2, 2023
By Lib Campbell
When NBC news host, Lester Holt said there had been 68 mass shootings in 2023, my mouth dropped. That’s more mass shootings than days so far in 2023. We had not hit 50 days yet. Michigan State University, Memphis, Indiana, Georgia are locations of mass shootings over recent days. Blood is on all our hands.
One young student interviewed said this was her second survival of mass shooting. She was a Sandy Hook survivor. She has grown into adulthood hoping the shooting would stop. It hasn’t and likely won’t until some mountain of gun control is climbed. The money is too good in guns.
Apparently human beings are expendable in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, the coveted elected office, the self-righteous elevation of the second amendment. Who are we kidding? Where there is no will for gun control, there will continue to be the wrong guns in the wrong hands. And only in America will we be mown down like grass.
Recent legislation has only broadened gun carry laws. Now in North Carolina, parishioners whose churches meet in schools are permitted to open carry their guns into worship. Come ye faithful people come. As children are killed, as marginalized people are targeted, as weapons of war flood our streets, with whom are we keeping faith?
Courts have rolled back laws that could help keep weapons out of the wrong hands. The Supreme Court’s Bruen decision has clouded the issue, casting gun regulation laws into disarray. WRAL’s story on the Bruen turmoil said,
“The Bruen decision opened the door to a wave of legal challenges from gun-rights activists who saw an opportunity to undo laws on everything from age limits to AR-15 style semi-automatic weapons. For gun rights supporters, the Bruen decision is a welcome development that removes what they see as unconstitutional restraints on Second Amendment rights.”
Herein lies the problem. People of good faith can see that something is amiss in the way the Second Amendment gun rights argument is interpreted. Mass killings are the sign of the misinterpretation. Too many high-powered guns are in too many angry and deranged hands. The problem is not that complex. The will to fix it is simply not there. The gun issue is so politicized and polarized, there is little hope that a reasonable solution to curbing mass shooting will come to be.
Nobody is coming for your guns. Guns for hunting, target shooting, skeet shooting are not the problem. It’s the semi-automatic handguns, rifles and high-capacity magazines that any yahoo can buy without much identification or background checks that is. Surely people cannot defend weapons of war being handed out like peanuts.
Interesting to me that strident support exists for both First Amendment free speech rights and Second Amendment gun rights. At the same time, some of those same voices are less ardent for Fourteenth Amendment civil rights, Fifteenth Amendment voting rights and Nineteenth Amendment women’s rights, which they are trying to roll back. Cherry-picking the Constitution does not serve the common good.
Here's an idea: we could collect all the military style weapons and send them to Ukraine for the war effort there. That’s what these weapons are designed for. That’s what they should be limited to. Seems like common sense to me.
So many of us are fearful of being caught up in gun violence that we have started looking around in every place we go. Where is the next shooter among us? In the mall, in our churches, in our schools? Who looks suspicious? Where can I hide? Where are the exits? I am not going to be the good person shooting back at a bad person. I do not want to live like that.
I have decided that it is a good time to be old. The will of a people to make the world a better place, a safer place for all God’s creatures seems to be taking a back seat to what people see as their personal rights to say anything they want to say, shoot anything and anybody they want, and roll back anything that has moved us forward for the past 60 years. Way to go people. Maybe we just need a little talk with Jesus.
Lib Campbell is a retired Methodist pastor, retreat leader, columnist and host of the blogsite www.avirtualchurch.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org