by Charles S. Garabedian
All of us, Christians and nonChristians, are still reeling from the deaths and wounds of our American children at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. From CNN, it is now my understanding that young David Hogg, one of the most outspoken students who survived the shooting, is now receiving death threats from American conservatives. Why? A certain portion of the American public is very unhappy with his rhetoric against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and his political efforts toward banning sales of the 2,200 different kinds of assault rifles you can buy in the United States.
While driving home this afternoon, I recalled the famous quotation the NRA put on a bumper sticker for its members and the general public many years ago. It read:
I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
The NRA has 5 million members. The United States of America has 326 million members. That means our club membership is much larger than theirs. In fact, we outnumber them by 65 to 1. I think those are pretty good odds in the coming politico-legal battle over banning the sales of assault rifles. Of course, we Christians would never dream of shooting our fellow citizens who already own assault rifles or want to own their first assault rifle. However, with odds like 65 to 1, I bet we could all work together and gently pry loose from their “warm, live hands” the ability to buy assault rifles. All it takes is togetherness, commitment, and the political will to do it by a large majority of the American people.
Christians—of all people—should be in the forefront of the many citizens who want to ban the sales of such weapons and end the killing and maiming of children in our public schools. If Jesus did not tote a Roman short sword or spear in New Testament times, then no one needs to own an AR-15 today—least of all Christians. These are not firearms designed for hunting game. They are designed for one purpose and one purpose only—killing people. In his New Testament ministry, Jesus was neither an advocate for weapons violence nor for a person arming themselves to the hilt for self-protection. Peter had a sword at one time, and Jesus ordered him to put it away—warning that those who live by the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52-53). The ministry of Jesus was all about spiritual things far more important than armaments and self-protection in this world.
However, let me hasten to add that I am not opposed to a private citizen owning a concealed or unconcealed handgun for self-protection. Some people—not everyone in America—are in situations where such ownership is a legitimate and understandable matter. Take a firearms safety course, and learn to use your handgun wisely. Just do not leave it loaded on the night stand by your bed where your kids can grab it and play with it. Doing so is just plain stupid, and if your kids get killed playing with it—yes—it is your fault.
I have nothing against the ownership of assorted firearms designed specifically for game hunting. Shooting Bambie or Thumper is not right for me personally, but I understand the primitive human instinct to hunt animals. Please just do it wisely and with good conservation and ecosystems maintenance in mind. Take a lesson from the American Indians who settled this land—the First Americans. When they killed animals, they did not kill just to be killing things. They took only what they needed to eat, make clothing, and fashion bone/antler tools. They thanked the Great Spirit in the above world (God) for the successful kill and thanked the dead animal and its kind for their sacrifice so their people could continue with food and life. You may view an excellent and very educational video about these ancient American hunters by clicking on the following safe link:
We Americans do not park M1A2 tanks on the lawns of our homes. We do not have F-22 Raptors parked in our driveways. We do not have our houses encircled with 155 mm howitzers. By a similar token, we do not need an armory of assault rifles in every American closet.
I live in southern state where we have numerous beer-bellied Bubbas (Christian and nonChristian) who listen every day to political propaganda on local Conservative Talk Radio. Most of these listeners are not members of private weekend militia organizations such as the Michigan Militia. They are not members of the Ku Klux Klan or various Skinhead outfits. They are just ordinary folks who have been convinced by right wing media nutjobs and on-air callers that a time of extreme cultural and social breakdown is nearly upon us here in the United States. They believe this awful breakdown will be caused by their liberal and progressive neighbors (like many of you who are reading this). When the liberal/progressive water is about ready to breach old Conservative Dam, they feel violent action will be needed to stem the liberal/progressive tide. When the right time comes, they relish shooting liberal old granny as she sits in her rocking chair in the den, knitting booties for her newborn grandson. They hope to blow off the head of her progressive husband Bill as he sits quietly sipping iced tea at the kitchen table. In their minds, they are willing to do whatever it takes one future day to get rid of this imaginary liberal/progressive “tyranny” lodged in their heads—and get rid of the termites (formerly known as ordinary American citizens) who elected it.
Why is this coming American government a tyranny? Well, to their stupid-noggin way of thinking, any liberal or progressive government (even if legally elected) is a tyranny simply because it is run by liberals and progressives they disagree with. Therefore, it will have to be overthrown by conservative violence. Their AR-15s and lots of ammunition are viewed as the right things to do it with—so they gotta stock up now against the BIG FUTURE DAY to come when they can start shooting their neighbors and “taking back their country.”
This horrifying little corner of the American conservative mindset was best expressed by an ordinary Tennessee citizen (and later mass murderer) named Jim David Adkisson. In 2008, he had become radicalized by reading ordinary, run-of-the-mill conservative literature. Here is a series of related quotes from his famous mass shooter suicide note, now entitled The Adkisson Manifesto:
I wanted to kill every Democrat in the U.S. Senate, every Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book entitled 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. I would like to kill everyone in the mainstream news media. Nonetheless, I knew these people were inaccessible to me. I could not get to the generals and high-ranking officers of the Marxist movement, so I went after the foot soldiers, the chicken shit liberals who vote these traitorous people into office. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others will do the same. It is the only way we can rid America of this cancer and pestilence called liberalism!
So, I decided to do something good for this country. Kill Democrats until the cops kill me. If each decent and patriotic American could vote three times in every election, we still could not stem this tide of liberalism that is destroying America. Liberals are a pest like termites. There are millions of them. Each little bite they take contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather!
I would like to encourage other like-minded people to do as I have done. If life is no longer worth living, do not just kill yourself. Do something worthwhile for your country before you go. Kill liberals.
This sort of insane nonsense is why numerous American conservatives are stocking up on AR-15s and other assault-style weapons. It is not so much to guard their homes and families per se, as it is to fight against this imaginary future American government they feel certain will be a tyranny.
What constitutes a tyranny in their minds? Things like having to explain to their son Joey why his friend Billy at school has two moms. Maybe feeling that three Episcopal Churches in town is one too many, and Episcopal theology is a threat to their fundie kids. How about their kids having to hear that the Earth is more than 5,000 years old in science class? Pick any silly little thing you like on the vast American conservative Menu of Intolerable Outrages.
Here is the key problem though, and this is where all of this conservative firearms nonsense goes completely nutty and off the rails. These beer-bellied Bubbas who belly up to Conservative Talk Radio each day think they are going to take back their country from a liberal/progressive tyranny by fighting off the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Coast Guard with their AR-15s and ammunition. Five-hundred Russian mercenaries (with better-quality light weapons) tried that exact same thing against American-supported troops in Syria a couple of weeks ago. They were turned into hamburger meat in just a few minutes with U.S. Army artillery and helicopter gunships—hundreds dead and severely wounded. You may recall the following scene from Clear and Present Danger, a famous American movie starring Harrison Ford. This is what happens in the real world when a bunch of people armed with light weapons try protecting their home from the U.S. Navy:
As this video plainly shows, be it a future and quite tyrannical liberal/progressive American government or a future and tyrannical conservative government, a bunch of AR-15s and similar weapons are not going to be of much help to a minority of American citizens with rebellion on their minds.
And hey—all of you fundie Christians with a closet full of AR-15s out there! You eschew the very idea of rebellion—because all rebellion was originally rooted in Satan. Right? You remember the ancient attempted coup d’etat in Heaven. Well, that is what I have heard your wives say so many times:
An attitude of rebellion is just plain wrong.
Bottom Line: I think stockpiling semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 and scads of ammunition in American homes is just plain crazy when you get right down to it. They will be of little use in any future citizen rebellion against the U.S. Government and the U.S. Armed Forces. All this massive home stockpiling does is lay out a huge and easily available nationwide smorgasbord of rapid-fire rifles for any evil or insane person who wants to kill tons of school kids and other ordinary Americans in just a few short minutes. It is time to fight the NRA and place reasonable governmental controls on the sales and availability of assault weapons such as the AR-15. The very real threat we face in the present moment from these easily available assault weapons and public shooters is far greater than some imaginary American tyranny of the future. The time to protect our school kids and family members from public shooters gone insane and wild is NOW.
I still have faith in Jesus. He still cares about the safety of our kids. You should too. I still believe the American government established by our founding fathers is strong, still with us in the form we need, and still retains the ability to do the job our founding fathers wanted it to do. It will remain so for many decades to come. American conservatives have simply gone off the deep end with wild imaginings. These imaginings are generated and fed daily by conservative media——like Conservative Talk Radio. The ultimate sources of this propaganda are religio-political nutjobs who lead their conservative followers by the noses like dumb oxen.