I’m struggling with what, if anything, to say about yesterday’s shooting here in California, that will be constructive.
Back in 2007, after the Virginia Tech shooting, I wrote on my old blog:
“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” What other industry, what other lobby, what other interest would be allowed to simply explain away the cause of killing so glibly without some kind of public outcry or legislative avalanche? What other product has to defend itself against the connection between itself and lots and lots of killing?
Nearly nine intervening years and–God help us–countless mass shootings later, we still don’t have satisfactory answers to those questions.
I belong to the Reformed branch of Protestant Christianity, which has always been characterized by a unashamed engagement in public life in pursuit of Biblically-inspired goals like care for the poor, justice, and equality, without the concurrent aim of imposing Christian mores on the society as a whole. The Reformed tradition has always seemed to me like a middle ground between withdrawal into a pietistic enclave and working for a “Christian” culture.
That’s context for this: allowing citizens to purchase assault rifles makes our public life less safe, and the insistence upon that right as inalienable is literally killing us. This is no longer a subject about which people of good will can disagree. If daily mass shootings are a price you’re willing to pay to ensure that citizens can purchase assault weapons unobstructed, you’re not a person of good will.
Seriously, an Assault Weapons Ban has to be a non-starter at this point. If you’re opposed to that, I don’t see what common ground we have. Agreeing to disagreeing is allowing more people to die. I won’t do it anymore.