All over America today, people both young and old gathered together to promote peace and work to eliminate violence in our nation, especially in our schools.
I know that for many, both within the movement and those who oppose what had been taking place today, this was primarily a protest against gun violence. For many, there is an idea that if we eliminate guns from our society, somehow we would be safer. Other believe that this movement exists to take away the right granted by the Second Amendment to our Constitution for a citizen to have guns.
For myself, I think both of these ways of thinking really miss the point. Banning guns, indeed using the force of law to attempt to ban anything, only leads to people flouting the law. If anything, as a nation we should have learned from the experiment with Prohibition that we cannot legislate away things that people want to have.
But those who think that this movement is an attempt to take away their freedom own guns also miss the point. People are reacting to the horrible events that have been happening in our schools and also in our communities. They see how items that really exist to protect a persons safety are being used as instruments of evil. And they cannot understand why those who advocate for the right to own and use guns in a responsible manner seem to put their right to own firearms over other peoples right to life.
Perhaps this movement should instead be used not as a way to legislate restrictions, nor should we view it as a threat to our rights. Rather, we should use this movement and the momentum it is developing to work together to change society. Not to make the cosmetic change of restricting rights, but to work to change people’s hearts and souls.
One thing our churches, and our society, in general, does very poorly, is to work for and model what it means to care for each other, to treat each other with the dignity and respect of a child of God. In our churches, we often vilify those who hold different religious or political views from our own. Our society treats those who seem to be outside the norm as oddballs, misfits, unworthy of the respect and dignity God intends for all to receive.
Perhaps as this movement continues, as I believe it will, we should concentrate not on the symptom of the true problem, gun violence, and concentrate more on changing our culture and way of thinking toward each other. In that way, perhaps the day will come when no one will feel the need to lash out at others because they feel outcast. Perhaps the day would come when all treasure and respect human life as a precious gift from God.