Hearts, Minds, and Guns

Hearts, Minds, and Guns

Author: The Rev. Dr. David Bridges, Priest
March 31, 2021

In the wake of mass shootings and other gun-related crimes, there are many voices demanding the limiting of guns and the strengthening of gun laws. Some even advocate taking all guns away from citizens.

I don’t necessarily mind the limiting of assault weapons or the strengthening of background checks. I also don’t believe anyone could ever take away all of our guns.

The average person that owns a firearm does not practice with it as often as they should to be as safe and effective as they can be. This can be very dangerous to the people they love, especially in a moment of panic.

Anyone that has ever had a big buck deer in their sights for the first time can relate to the feeling of “buck fever”. Imagine a criminal in your house and the kind of “fever” that could cause.

In reality, we don’t have a gun problem as much as we have a mental health problem. Someone intent on killing another will find a way, even without a gun. The first murder committed in the Bible is described in Genesis chapter 4. Cain kills his brother Abel over a matter of jealousy by, as some scholars believe, bashing Abel in the head with a rock.

When I was a carpenter, I remember thinking that if you carry a gun, someone might think you are going to hurt them, but, if you carry a hammer, very few people would feel threatened, and a hammer can easily be a deadly weapon.

I am concerned that some people are spending so much time focusing on guns that we are missing the real cause of violence; mental health. What causes one human to plot murder against another? What are the root causes of deep-seated anger, leading to murder?

Why have our States and Nation consistently cut funding for mental health initiatives and organizations for decades? I believe it is because very few of our legislators understand, or care to understand mental health or the implications of neglecting it.

Our society has grown very angry in the last 10 years. Our schools have also been the victims of budget cuts, thereby limiting or eliminating funding for counselors. Parenting skills have degraded dramatically over the past few decades, and the results are showing.

As a society we are not training our young people to interact productively with others. Children are raising themselves on video screens and microwave foods. Children are allowed to lock themselves in their room and explore the filthy world of the internet unsupervised.

All of our societal problems should have been expected when we stopped parenting and turned to warehousing children rather than training them. I am not against stronger gun laws that keep guns from the hands of criminals and psychopaths.

I am against the idea of taking away all guns. Instead, let’s focus on mental health issues. Our future depends on it.

Blessings and Peace to You All,
Fr. David+


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