Good Guys and Guns

“Sometimes the only thing that can protect you from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

We had our Veterans Day assembly at my school yesterday.  Our guest speaker was a part of the Special Forces for 20+ years, and said the above statement at the beginning of his address.  I couldn’t focus on the rest of his speech because I was thinking about good guys and guns.  It reminded me of an article that I read a while back by Rick Elgendy.  Here is a quote from his post entitled “The Irony of ‘Gun Control.'”

“When the human capacity to kill reaches a certain dizzying height, it seems that the only safe path is to surrender ourselves to that same capacity in hopes that it will befriend us, rather than destroy our children. Thus, in the name of self-defense or defense against possible tyranny, we have armed ourselves to the teeth with guns that number in the hundreds of millions and yet fall victim to previously inconceivable levels of violence. The proposed solution is more: more weapons, more armed guards, more fighting violence with violence.  It is as if our weapons have developed an independent strategy for their own self-perpetuation; a kind of protection racket without any single person pulling the strings. Of course, these weapons themselves are metal and not mind.  Yet, to us they become something more than mere tools. They become representations and means of our power over each other, and in the struggle to expand and secure that power – even in the name of seemingly innocent ideals – these weapons become unrelenting masters.”  full article

I think Elgendy is on to something here.  Not only do guns seem to take on a power of their own, but the very task of identifying “good guys” and “bad guys” complicates this statement even further.  We assume that because we live in America that Americans are always the good guys.  Our history books tell us that we were founded upon Christian, moral principles.  While this may or may not be true, this notion can been used to justify American actions as both Christian and moral.  I’m not saying that America is incapable of doing good things, but perhaps Christians should not be so quick to assume that America’s agenda is also the church’s agenda.  America will ultimately seek what is best for its citizens because that’s what a nation-state does.  The church ultimately has a citizenship that is transnational, global and founded on Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Thus, by the church’s very nature it will have different priorities.

“But whether God blesses America will become apparent when it emerges whether America is a blessing for the peoples of the world, or their burden and curse; for one is blessed only in order to be a blessing oneself.” – Juergen Moltmann

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