BY REV. SUSAN SMITH
With the most recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida resulting in the deaths of 17 innocent people, the debate over gun control will once again be front and center – but only for a few days.
The tragedy marks the sixth school shooting in this country this year.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Second Amendment supporters will offer their overdone argument – again – that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” They will manipulate right-wing media to accuse “the Left” of “politicizing” the Florida tragedy and effectively shut the argument down.
While saying they are only asking for the Second Amendment to be honored, and at the same time reminding people that the majority of their members are “pro-life,” there is a sad and scary two-pronged contradiction inherent in what they are saying. While they are fighting to protect the Second Amendment, they are in large part remaining silent while the current administration attacks the First Amendment rights of all Americans.
And, while they say they are pro-life, they are completely unaware that what they are asking Americans to do is to turn a blind eye to the tragedy of mass murder caused by people in this country using war weapons.
They do not seem to understand that you cannot be in support of saving an unborn child while being unconcerned about the loss of hundreds of innocent living people through the awful experience called mass murder.
The rate of manslaughter or murder by firearms in this country is higher than that in any other developed nation, according to an article which appeared in BBC News. The article states that in 2016, 11,000 people lost their lives to injuries received from guns. There have been 90 mass killings in this country since 1982, and Americans own more firearms per 100 residents than residents in any other developed country. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081)
Violence in US schools is most likely to be carried out by firearms; although school violence occurs in all countries, the death-by-firearm phenomenon in schools is not common at all in other countries.
White men have committed more mass shootings than any other group. (http://www.newsweek.com/white-men-have-committed-more-mass-shootings-any-other-group-675602)
Not surprisingly, when there is one of these mass shootings, the proponents of the Second Amendment are noticeably quiet about the tragedy of the murders. They offer aggravating and frustrating platitudes about how guns don’t kill people; they say that the answer to mass shootings is to make sure more people have guns, and they almost never offer a word of condolence to the families left to deal with their shattered lives.
Proponents of Second Amendment rights at the expense of human life are not pro-life. It is impossibility to not want to end gun violence and at the same time, act as if the lives of people matter.
To the pro-life group, it is only the fetus that matters, a fetus which, once born, is no more important than the victims of gun violence. Children born into poverty are not cherished, but are, instead, ignored, their parents blamed for being in poverty in the first place.
We should all hold our breaths for the ridiculous and unkind conversations which will flood the airwaves in the coming days. The politicians will do the bidding of the NRA, wanting NRA money more than they want quality of life for their constituents. They will blame “the Left” for “politicizing” the issue of gun control. They will talk about the importance of recognizing the role of mental health in the phenomenon of mass shootings – and will then get silent. Gun sales will go up, as they usually do after a mass shooting, and we in this country will brace ourselves for the next tragedy caused by a person shooting a gun.
I would bet that many who support the right to purchase war weapons (AR-15) are also on the front line to protest abortion. They say they are pro-life.
Tell that to the families today, or from the other mass shootings.
Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is pastor, preacher, teacher and workshop facilitator. To book her, go to firstname.lastname@example.org