This Madness Must End
There is a scene in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, a series set in the 1860s around the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, where the conversation between a few characters turns to God:
“Do you not believe in a Higher Power?” asks one, incredulously.
“Yes, sir. I wear it on my hip,” another replies, lifting his jacket to reveal his six-shooter.
“Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.” That line, spoken by the Prince of Peace, echoes the truism that violence begets violence. Through his life and death Jesus shows us another way. Time and again, prophets of old and new, call us to turn our swords into plowshares, our weapons of destruction into implements of creation. As followers of Jesus, we are called to lead by example.
I urge you to write your legislators:
- To support a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines
- To support background checks to help restrict those with histories of gun; violence, links to terrorist organizations, and histories of domestic violence from purchasing firearms;
- To commit to improving mental health treatment.
I also invite you to consider relinquishing any firearms you may have in your possession. But that may not be easy. I’ve been in conversation with a community official about Dayspring partnering with the Tempe Police Department on a firearm “turn-in.” I was aware of the 2013 state law that prevents police from destroying guns from “buy-backs” but was astonished to learn the law applies to guns voluntarily surrendered as well. While the State of Arizona is clearly not interested in reducing gun prevalence, I believe more and more people in our community recognize the presence of guns in their homes poses a far greater risk to themselves and household members than a potential break-in. I just learned that a 16-year old girl died today from an accidental firearm discharge in her home in Tempe.
This madness must end.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, ”Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of humankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of human beings.” Jesus was Gandhi’s model for nonviolent resistance. For too long we’ve professed belief in the kind of “higher power” that can be worn on one’s hip. It is high time we chose Jesus’ way.