It's been a couple months since I've written more than just a Facebook update on the 14th of the month, which is the date Ellen Painter Dollar and I encourage Christians to use social media to speak out against gun violence and advocate for stronger gun laws. I've been elsewhere on the 14th of each month, and in all honesty, I'm still so dumbfounded, so bewildered, so disappointed, I don't know if I really have anything new to say. I read articles like "In Newtown, Gun Permits Surge After Shooting," and I just don't get it.
But on the other side of the coin, I'm not entirely behind some of the Plan B projects that some advocacy groups have pursued following the legislative setbacks. I despise the idea of concealed carry, and think it is an absolutely horrible idea for under-trained civilians to be walking around with guns in their pants. At the risk of breaking rank, I just cannot wrap my mind around the need for Starbucks to be the new target for gun violence prevention advocacy. (An opinionated but concise recap here, if you're unfamiliar.) If Starbucks coffee shops were actually the site of regular shootings, I'd get it. But as it is, it seems to me to be an ideological battleground on both sides.
If we want to prevent gun violence, we should consider where it's actually happening. We should be listening to the people who are working to prevent violence in the neighborhoods of Chicago that are essentially war zones. We should be looking at the bigger picture - the gun legislation, yes, absolutely, but also the social ills, economic disparities, and cultural dysfunctions that are all part of the problem.
I pray that magazine capacities will be limited, that universal background checks will be established, and that those sickeningly powerful assault weapons will be recognized as the unnecessary evil they are, and be banned outright. Considering how fanatical people are about guns, and considering the astonishingly lucrative gun industry (the previously linked article reported a National Shooting Sports Foundation claim that gun sales went up 48% from 2.8 billion in 2011 to 4.15 billion in 2012), I have very little hope that this will happen.
But I don't want to be hopeless. I'm not hopeless. But this is where I realize the foundation of my advocacy, like the foundation of anything else in my life, must be my faith.
Revelation 21:4 promises that "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Maybe my hungering for lasting hope paired with my deepening cynicism about legislative reform is why one of the most moving pieces I read this month about violence - and what it means to resist violence - was a movie review on Christianity Today.