The last time this blog discussed weapons or guns was in August 2019 and December 2021, though the December 2021 blog was about an idiotic Republican political ad. The idea of purchasing any weapon was to feel safer. Then, in August 2019, I realized how idyllic and self-delusional I had become. I wasn’t warped by NRA, by some fancy salesman, by the notion of the second amendment. Instead, I had been distorted by a belief that a weapon would make me safer. I learned the rhythm of handguns and the addictive thrill of their multi-sensory intensity. And for the first time since my military days, I once again became a threat — to myself.

The Gun Violence Archive defines mass shootings as “four or more people shot and or killed in a single incident, at the same general time/location not including the shooter.” So, I want to congratulate America. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 224 U.S. mass shootings and over 17,000 Gun-related deaths since January 1, 2022. Of course, it takes work to be this bad. But, as it turns out, America is exceptional. 

In the wake of being silent, God asks to clarify several things.

First. People are misusing God and religion to further reprehensible practices. America has weaponized hatred on almost every level. The litany of weaponization ranges from FaceBook, the environment, guns, Asain (Trump’s ‘Kung-flu’/’China virus’), use of derogatory names for women, men, immigrants, medical professionals, COVID-19, abortion, ‘Karens’ (both male and female), liberals, right-wingers, gays, lesbians, critical race theory, gender identification, and so on. Outside of book burnings, transgender, abortion issues, and gun violence has swamped the news lately. Mass killings in Texas, New York, and California (now Oaklahoma and Tennessee) are pasted across CNN and MSNBC.

Mass shootings account for less than 1% of the roughly 40,000 people killed by guns each year. It’s pure fantasy to think that minimal gun regulation threatens to take away every gun. And, just like we saw in Texas this past week, it’s utter fantasy to believe that arming teachers and abolishing gun-free zones is the reasonable response to gun violence. Intentionally or not, the trifecta of hate that foments every person’s view of terrorism is incendiary eloquence like that found from politicians after a mass shooting as enemies who then motivates that hatred and sanctions violence against them. Facts no longer matter. Nor do values shared with those the politicians see as horrible, terrible people. What matters is that it’s us versus them. And we can’t let them win. Never apologize, never back down. In reality, God wants every American to know that we’ve done nothing. No one does anything — except offer thoughts and prayers. God also wants to recheck the ‘God-given right to firearms’ thingy everyone blabs about.

Second. God chides everyone to reread the Constitution. The Constitution’s Preamble states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Nowhere in the Constitution is the word ‘God-given.’ He reminds us that Jesus denounced violence and taught us to turn away from weapons. In fact, the Gospel of Luke (22:49-51) describes Jesus healing a person after one of the followers cut his right ear off via sword. 

Third, God points out that in 2020, nine countries spent $72.6 billion on nuclear weapons. Over $27 billion went to a dozen defence contractors. Those contractors then spent $117 million lobbying policymakers and up to $10 million funding think tanks writing about nuclear weapons. And His point? We could have made better use of that money. Had we invested in education, maybe one of those children who died in Uvalde, Texas, might have cured cancer. And perhaps one of those shoppers in Buffalo could have mentored a child who then could found a way to reverse climate change. And maybe one of those Taiwanese churchgoers in Laguna Woods, California might have discovered a new pollution-free energy form.

Fourth. Then again, God thinks we’re pretty stupid — just like the Texas legislature. During the COVID crisis, the State of Texas received $199 billion. Of that amount, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and top state lawmakers shifted around roughly $1 billion in federal coronavirus aid to help pay for their campaign to arrest migrants at the U.S.— Mexico border, exposing gaps in a law meant to bolster the country’s response to the ongoing pandemic.

Fifth. God states that after we’re done staking Uvalde, Texas police officers to a cross, we need to take that same passion and convict ourselves. We are just as responsible for every dead person, from Columbine to the current. We can’t stake the pain upon one group of individuals. If we hold them accountable, we have to hold ourselves responsible. The same standard of laws that allowed an 18 year-old to buy several assault weapons are the same ones that allowed one from Illinois to obtain an assault weapon and carry it in a Wisconsin riot. Look at how that turned out.

Last, but not least. The grim ritual of offering “thoughts and prayers” to the victims doesn’t work well for God anymore. On an organizational level, most denominations have made statements against gun violence — and sometimes, against guns themselves — especially after mass shootings. But only the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has ordained a “minister of gun violence prevention. Really?

God really thinks we’re stupid.