Help Me Understand

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There are many things in this world that I do not understand.  Some of them are things I can research and learn about; some of them are things I can ask someone more knowledgeable than I am.  Some are things that I simply place in God’s hands.

But there are a few things that Just. Don’t. Make. Sense.

So here’s my question, and perhaps friends who oppose any control of guns or background checks for gun ownership can help answer this (in a civil and respectful way, please):

I read a couple of articles today that reminded me of something that I had read before, but that struck me in a new way after all the violence this past week. First, the sheer scale of the violence sometimes escapes us when we only look at the one situation that’s on the news in any given day.  One article pointed out that there have been 186 mass shootings in our country since June – that’s more than one every day.  (Mass shootings were defined as situations in which four or more people were killed.)

And then there was this article on the New York Times website. According to this research, death by gun homicide in the US is proportionately higher than almost anywhere else in the world, except for war-torn and organized-crime-controlled Mexico and El Salvador.  And that’s just homicides; that doesn’t even count the number of suicides by gun or accidental gun deaths.

So my question is: if, as the NRA claims on your behalf, our easy access and unregulated ownership of guns isn’t a factor in the degree of gun violence in our country, then what is it that sets us apart from most other countries in the world?  There must be something that accounts for that excessively violent record, year after year.  What is it? How does a reasonable person explain our astonishing level of violence?

And a second question that occurs to me: if, in fact, more guns and no control over gun ownership just might be a factor in the huge number of people who are killed by guns each year, then why wouldn’t we take some steps to fix the problem?

We are willing to limit our freedom to use cars in unsafe ways in order to save thousands of lives each year.  We accept speed limits, traffic rules, tests to obtain drivers’ licenses, and the loss of the right to drive if we repeatedly violate driving laws.  Why in the world would we not think of guns in a similar way?

Why would we knowingly sentence thousands of our fellow citizens, our friends and neighbors, to be shot to death each year?


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Barbara Bruneau

Barbara Bruneau is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is semi-retired, having previously served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Barbara enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and weaving. She shares her home with cats named Abigail and Bijou.

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