Monday, May 29, 2023
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Guns In America: The Status Quo Promises More of the Same

Another school shooting in America, and rather than argue over politics in death’s aftermath, let’s for a few moments acknowledge what these shootings mean.

More young children dead.
More teachers and adults who cared for those children dead.
More empty offers of thoughts and prayers. 
More candlelight vigils.
More weeping families and parents.
More promising lives cut short. 
More communities left with the scars of violence. 
More survivors who will never forget the horror of that one day.
More empty bedrooms left in a state of expected return by a child who will never again walk through that threshold.
More families who will have to lower their child into the ground with an emotional and physical void ripped open by the pull of a trigger.

But also…

More politicians and lobbyists fighting over second amendment rights.
More political consultants scripting ads and messaging, and drawing huge salaries.
More empty promises, more filibusters, more stalling. 
More vitriol and fear mongering over the government trying to take our guns away.
More members of Congress posing with their families in front of Christmas trees holding up assault weapons.
More money being poured into the coffers of elected officials to keep the status quo etched in stone that cannot erode over time.

There is a Second Amendment that was written in a very different time, place and reality. It was written when the great foreign powers of England, Spain and France were all on this continent eyeing our young nation. Our country had no real standing army. And our Constitution was also written with the understanding that adjustments and compromises would have to be reached as times changed.

For now, we’ll leave the legal analysis for others and simply acknowledge our current reality. We have to level with ourselves about what our current reality means. 

Soldiers fought and died on the field of battle to ensure our nation’s way of life. We’ve built monuments and memorials to commemorate the price they paid.

But we must also look at the fight over the Second Amendment this way: America’s children are being sacrificed. That too is the price we’re paying.

These children and these families never signed up for this. They didn’t enlist for the cause, they didn’t get drafted for a war. They didn’t even know they were being put in harm’s way.

These children were dropped off at, or walked to or rode their bikes or took the school bus on a day that started like any other day. As the shots rang out that seemingly random day became the day that will define every other day in their lives. 

For the children who were killed those families will bear an emptiness that can never be filled. For those children who survived that trauma, either physically or emotionally, the sounds of gunfire, the sounds of screams and crying and a darkness unleashed can never be erased.

That’s the reality that comes with our status quo.

Maybe we as a nation are OK with this. Maybe it is a price we are willing to pay, using the lives of other people’s children as the collateral damage for our rights.

Either way, the status quo yields these results. And while the pain and trauma of tragedy is acknowledged, it means something very different to others.

More tragedy enriches the coffers of people who benefit from the weapons industry. It yields power politics reveling in a near-religious idolatry of guns and gun imagery. It pays for big salaries, private jets and posh lifestyles of lobbyists and consultants who benefit from defending that status quo.

The status quo is blood in the classrooms, on children’s desks and the hallways of America’s schools and on our streets.

No matter if you believe in the Second Amendment’s absolute authority or if you hope for new gun safety laws, there is no denying the status quo’s results. There is no denying that more of all the things described above will be the price that is paid. 

So as you offer up your thoughts and prayers, say a prayer that your own families, your own children are never called to pay the price. Think about that as you see the images of another community ripped apart.

Because no matter how much we hope, or look to the God that we pray to, or believe that something will change, if there is no change there is more to come.