I Love Pearl Jam: Eddie Vedder’s Critique of Guns

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Eddie Vedder, of the rock band Pearl Jam, offers a Utilitarian assessment of the gun situation in American society: In many ways, Vedder's thoughts remind me of the¬†philosopher Jeff McMahan's argument that I looked at back in May.Vedder's argument about guns is not particularly articulate or sophisticated (and he can be both). However, it very much mirrors my sentiments about guns.In March, I referred to the gun culture of Wyoming as a a form of cultural psychosis. It is … [Read more...]

“…we are Mormons. We do not kill people or animals.”

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"Shem, we are Mormons. We do not kill people or animals," said Geneva (7) to her brother Shem (11) as we passed a creepy gun shop near our new home in Las Vegas which invites all to come and try out machine guns on the shooting range.We laughed at the super-serious tone which Geneva took. She is prone to lecturing her brothers on a range of issues. However, it warmed my heart to hear her begin to develop a social outlook which emphasizes non-violence.Now if only she applied this when … [Read more...]

Is God an American?

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Of course, not. While I cringe at the heavy doses of American exceptionalism (often in the most cheesy forms) within American religious culture, maybe there is something valuable in viewing American and Christianity as being intertwined.However, it is often not intertwined in a positive sense, like a manifest destiny, but a destructive one. Of course, "Manifest Destiny" itself was corrupt and destructive. This mixture of American and Christian identities is something that was can trace … [Read more...]

A Moral Critique of Guns and Gun Culture

I am working on a theological case against guns. Not so much for gun control, but against guns. My thinking keeps coming back to a recent appearance by Jeff McMahan on the podcast Philosophy Bites.You can listen to the podcast here. Philosophy Bites can also be found on iTunes.Take a listen. I would love to hear your thoughts.McMahan makes a similar argument in more detail in the New York Times.Gun advocates and criminals are allies in demanding that guns remain in private hands. They … [Read more...]

Guns, Suicide, and Casper, WY

NPR's Kirk Siegler did a heart-wrenching profile on today's All Things Considered about the connection between guns, gun culture, and suicide.The story focused the city where I reside: Casper, WY. Last year, there were more suicides in Natrona County than anywhere else in Wyoming.The soft-spoken county coroner saw them all."My last suicide was a week ago, and yes, it was a male with a gunshot wound," Connie Jacobson says in her office on the outskirts of the small, wind-swept city … [Read more...]


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