In the United States of America, there is a serious problem of people killing people. To some Americans, it is clear, there is not a high value placed on human life. Each day, individuals kill close relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors, spouses, employers, and strangers. No lives seem to matter to some.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control we experience more than 16,100 needless deaths per year due to homicides. This is 5.1 for every 100,000 people. Of these, 11,200 or 3.5 per 100,000 represent firearm deaths.
Is This What Constitutional Framers Wanted?
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But, did our founding fathers foresee the kinds of firearms to be invented and mass-produced? Did they contemplate that the firearms would end up in the hands of mentally ill or the career criminal who cannot or will not respect human life? If they had foreseen this, would they have written what was written and left unwritten what was left unwritten? Would they have stated what was stated as the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Would our virtually unlimited or un-infringed freedoms have been more important to those Founding Fathers than those thousands of lives lost by gunfire each year whether intentionally or accidentally?
Having spent several years in the U.S. military, I am aware that our militia is “well regulated” including and regarding the issues of keeping and bearing arms. However, gun manufacturers and a large number of our congressional leaders object to any infringement of our gun-bearing rights. This is true, even though the general population has no safety training or psychological preparation for the use of such weapons. Nor is there enough guidance for keeping such out of the hands of children who end up accidentally shooting family members every year. Even husbands kill wives while trying to clean guns. In June of 2016 our hearts were broken as a pastor reportedly accidentally killed his wife.
Teaching The Value Of Lives
Perhaps those with responsibilities for instilling moral values could do more to convey that nothing justifies the taking of a life except, possibly, to keep that individual from committing homicide or multiple murders.
Loving and responsible mothers and fathers value lives. Black lives, brown lives, white lives, and blue lives are important when viewed by loving mothers and fathers. Love has much to do with it. But so does hate. Thou shalt not kill and thou shalt love. Whenever an ugly problem surfaces, haters begin to blame those they hate. They try to connect dots where there are no dots.
The accidental shooting referenced above may make this a good time to remind pastors in general to take a stand. Stand against blame and hatred spread by political leaders. Stand against exaggeration based on partisan politics, especially when racial hatred is injected. This kind of divisiveness may increase the violence, especially violence against minorities. Clergy should condemn all sin including racial discrimination, hate crimes, political lies, and all types of murder, character killings, and personal destruction.
Politicians should tone down their accusatory rhetoric especially when the verbiage crosses racial lines. That may win some political support by appealing to racism and being tough on minorities. This, however, contributes to the destruction of unity in the community and in the nation.
Children should learn before they have the ability or resources to contribute to violence. Church services, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and other religious and community programs have responsibilities. Television, movies, and musicians have responsibilities. Athletics can tone down the type of competition that stresses “win at all costs.”
America is hurting and dying. Opportunities for friendship and cooperation, and promotion of same, can save lives, possibly yours and mine.