Wayfaring Writer

Driven by a violent desire to write.

The Heart of Violence

The Heart of Violence

This morning I saw an article shared on my news feed titled “God, Guns, and Feminist Theology”.

My first reaction was to ignore the post because I felt that as a white male who owns guns, I probably wasn’t going to agree with the majority of the article. Despite my reservations, I decided to give it a read.

I was surprised; it was a good read. The author, Dr. Susan Shaw of Oregon State University, made good points and makes you think about the issue. You can click the link above to read her article yourself, which would be a good idea if you want to have some context for this blog.

If you don’t feel like reading her article, she talks about these points: Gun violence is gendered and racialized, our cultural acceptance of guns and the predication of gun culture contributes to gun violence, and that Christians need to stand together to make a safer and happier world. One quote states:

Perhaps instead of convincing ourselves we need guns to protect ourselves, we need to ask questions about the structures and ideologies that make us fearful or the pressures of masculinity that make so many men feel they need a gun to feel like a real man. We also need to challenge the myths of women as beings that need protection–by men or by guns. We need to examine the ways we have internalized oppression and dominance in how we think about, feel, and express power, danger, and violence. “ -Professor Susan Shaw

I don’t completely disagree with the points Professor Shaw makes, but I do have some comments and questions. So, here’s what I have to say.

All Violence is Gendered and Racialized

The Heart of Violence

First off, all violence is gendered. Men commit something like 90% of violent crimes, whether a gun is involved or not. Therefore, statistically speaking, women are more likely to be victims of violent crimes.

This is a pretty depressing fact. But if you take guns out of the equation it doesn’t mean less violence will occur. Guns are not the cause of violence but merely a tool used poorly to perform violence.

The fact that there are more African-Americans dying from gun violence is because more African-Americans commit and are victims of violence than other racial demographics. This is a statistical fact, which really sucks. The most likely cause of the higher crime and violence rate among African-Americans is because many live in areas that are poor, have a lack of educational support, and a lack of overall community and government support.

And by support I don’t mean just throwing money at people to make them go away. I mean providing a societal structure that is conducive to economic growth and stability, educational excellence, overall health, and safe environments for families. If you’ve been to the inner city of most major metropolitan areas you know there is a severe lack of all these things.

False Truths

The Heart of Violence

The myth that people need to be protected is not a myth, it is a truth made evident throughout history. Guns are simply the latest incarnation of what “protection” looks like.

Guns are a thing that exist, they are the most efficient tool if you want to hurt someone. If you have one of your own, you might be able to defend yourself or dissuade your assailant from attacking in the first place. It used to be swords, but humans are good at creating new things and now we have guns. Unfortunately, guns can inflict a lot more damage in a shorter time. But if you put a man with a sword in a crowded room I feel like he could still do a lot of harm.

The use of guns will most likely not end gun violence. But placing the blame on “gun culture” isn’t going to do a thing to end violence.

I own guns. My guns have never done harm to any living creature, ever. They’ve never even been pointed at another living thing. I could load my gun, sit it on the table in front of me, and go all day without shooting somebody.

I know that many people have accidents with guns, it’s unfortunate but true. Taking away the gun would prevent all the accidents, but so would proper training. We require classes, tests, and many hours of driving before we give someone a license to operate a vehicle. I would totally support the same things for gun ownership. It would promote knowledge, safety, and be a good way to prevent people who can’t pass a simple test from owning a gun.

The Christian Response to Gun Control

The Heart of Violence

I will never deign to hope for all Christians to agree on anything together. The fact that there are over a dozen different kinds of Christians precludes me from that. But I think as Christians we should work towards a better, safer, and healthier world. We also must understand that we will never accomplish it. Never. Only when Jesus comes back will the world be healed and peace will reign.

Jesus didn’t take away Peter’s sword when he struck off the ear of the centurion trying to arrest him. He did remind him that those who live by the sword, also die by the sword. Jesus didn’t force people to do anything. Instead he waged war on their hearts with love, mercy, and forgiveness. He helped them and was a friend to them. He didn’t give them a list of edicts to follow but instead changed their hearts to make them more like him. If you want the Christian response then it’s to go after the heart behind the violent men, not the tool they use for violence.

So What’s The Point?

The Heart of Violence

But what is your end goal here? Why campaign against guns? Is it the number of deaths? While tragic, incidents involving guns killed around 12,000 people last year, incidents involving cars killed around 32,000 people. Far more people own cars than guns, most of the time multiple cars to a household. Even children as young as 16 can drive cars in some states, though most states don’t allow driving by yourself until the age of 18.

So if your campaign is against guns because of the amount of violent and purposeful attacks on other people then you shouldn’t be blaming the tool used. It is the heart and mind of the attackers that needs to be changed. That is what we should be focused on. Societal and cultural problems are more indicative of violence in a country than the presence of guns. Guns are just a tool. If you take away the desire to do violence instead of the tool used, you fix the problem.

We need to change people’s hearts. The cause and source of violence is wounded, broken, and sinful people living in a wounded, broken, and sinful world. We have been killing, torturing, and abusing one another for centuries, and we’ve used many different tools to do it. Controlling the tools that are used in violence can help, but only so much. We must heal the heart. The gun itself is not a catalyst for violence. Violence must already exists within someone’s heart before it can be born into the world.

To use a probably inappropriate adage, it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. You cover the problem up, but you didn’t fix it. We spend so much time railing for or against gun control, gun ownership, and so on when we could be spending that time, thought, and energy on fixing the core issue of the society that produced such a person.

So I think Professor Shaw has some good points, but misses the essence of the issue. Society isn’t afraid of guns and how they’ll be used. They’re afraid of the people behind the guns and what they’ll do with them.

Taking away a gun from a violent man doesn’t make him a peaceful man, it does make him more likely to beat you to death rather than shoot you.

About Luke Geldmacher

I grew living on an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Currently, I live in a 40 acre farm in Cookville, TX. I sometime write about life issues, but my passion is sci-fi and fantasy storytelling.

3 Replies

  1. Steve

    Your last paragraph sums it up better than I have ever heard bud.😎

  2. Linda Whiting

    Great blog, Luke. So happy to see you writing so much. You are getting better all the time. Hope all is well with you and the other guys. Praying for you all the time.

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