Cold, Dead Hands

America has a gun problem. But America doesn’t know it has a gun problem.

The research confirms it. Every 60 hours Americans are victims of a mass shooting. We are 10 times more likely to die from gun violence than people in other nations.

Other countries have successfully reversed gun violence, but we seem unable to do so.

More “unwilling” than unable, to be honest.

Our problem is rooted in our DNA. We have a “Right to bear arms”. This means that any threat to our rights is Unamerican, and therefore a threat to Liberty and Freedom.

If we saw gun ownership as more of a responsibility or as a privilege, instead of a right, then maybe we might take a different approach to our current problem.

I recently posted this image on my Facebook wall.

Mostly as a thought experiment; to help people see that there is a problem and that to solve it we just might have to decide which we love more – our kids or our guns.

My dilemma is this: I do not believe in politics to solve our problems. I wrote a book about the evils of being entangled with politics. I was once a member of the NRA. I voted “Straight Ticket” Republican my entire life. I used to believe that it was impossible to be a real Christian without voting Conservative.

But now I’ve realized that the whole thing – Left, Right and in the Middle – is a joke and an empty promise.

Still, we cannot solve our problem if we don’t admit we have one. So, my hope is to at least help people to see that we do have a problem with guns, and once we confess this as a nation, then maybe we can talk about how to fix it.

“It’s a heart issue!” Yes, but if it is only a heart issue, then American hearts are the most murderous and violent on earth. And if so, then maybe people with hearts like ours shouldn’t have free and easy access to assault weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.

“It’s a mental health issue!” Maybe, but if so then can we at least agree that it would be better to provide more care, counseling, and other services to these people rather than make it easier for them to purchase deadly weapons? This increase in mental health care would also significantly help our homeless epidemic too, by the way.

“You’re playing into the Liberal Agenda!” If so, I can assure you it is not by design. But if a Samaritan comes to clean my wounds and pulls me out of the ditch, do I really care if he is a Samaritan, or a Liberal, or a Republican? It’s Tribalism like this that is killing us. We are blind to our own humanity. We only see Red or Blue people, not humans like us who love their children the same way we love our own children.

This Tribalism is so bad that Pastors on a Sunday morning cannot preach the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount without their congregations bristling when Jesus says “Love your enemies” or “Care for the poor” because that’s just “Liberal talk”.

American Christians seem to view everything through their political lens. If only we could see through the lens of Jesus, then maybe the veil would be taken away. [2 Cor. 3:14]

But I do see a glimmer of hope for the future.

Our children are largely immune to this Tribalism. They don’t care about Hillary or Trump. They are tired of seeing their friends shot and killed in the classroom, or the nightclub, or the concert. They are tired of watching as their parents do nothing because they are paralyzed by their politics.

One day our children will grow up. They will take the baton out of our cold, dead hands and they will finally do what we cannot – and will not do.

I pray that day comes soon.

The Spirit and the Bride say: “Come quickly!”



Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also one of the co-hosts of the Heretic Happy Hour podcast. He lives in Orange, CA with his wife and two sons.


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  • Greta Holt

    Thanks for these thoughts, clearly stated. Until we work with our political/religious/cultural opposites to find what we do care about, we will not move forward. We must communicate and compromise, communicate and compromise.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    I don’t think we have a gun problem per se, I think we have a “gun violence as solution” problem. Our government/military uses gun violence to solve its perceived problems all over the world, each and every day, and this sets a very bad example for our citizens, especially our young men. Perhaps the societal influence of US militarism is to blame for US citizens, especially men, using gun violence as the solution to their perceived problems? I think it is. In a nation that holds up a sniper and mercenary, Chris Kyle, as a hero, what do we expect? We are reaping what we have sown for many, many years.

  • Chuck Johnson

    “I don’t think we have a gun problem per se . . .”

    We do have a gun problem “per se” to the extent that guns are powerful enough weapons that acts inspired by anger can result in disasters rather than more limited injuries.

    If flamethrowers, bombs, or nuclear weapons were widely available over-the counter, we would see disasters result from this.
    Gun control laws and their enforcement is a part of the needed remedy.

  • lfallar

    I really liked this post. It is so true. We will not get anywhere until this terrible Partisanship on every issue ends. I heard Rush telling his audience that the left really wants to take every gun away. That is a huge lie and it prohibits honest debate. There are millions of democrats that own guns and believe in the 2nd amendment. I own a gun, but feel the AR-15 should not be in civilian hands. I just hope we make some changes to at least save some lives.

  • ashpenaz

    Guns are the Ring of Power from Lord of the Rings. It’s as if Gollum found a handgun in the river. It was shiny; it was fun to play with. It seemed to have the power to protect him. And then, it grabbed onto his soul and wouldn’t let go. It’s a short path from plinking at cans to holding onto your AR-15 and saying, “Myyy Preciousss…Myyy Preciousss…” For some reason, guns warp the soul–the fact that you own something that’s powerful enough to kill makes you, well, want to use it sometime. The gun you own in the first act has to go off in the third. If you buy a gun to protect yourself from home intruders, then you find yourself wanting home intruders to test it on. I used to think there were benign uses of guns–hunting, target shooting. But it’s difficult to stop there. Anyone who’s been trapshooting knows that thought that crosses the back of your mind–“I could blow these guys heads off.” You don’t want to think it–you don’t want to believe you thought it, but holding a gun around people distorts reality. And when some Bilbo comes to take your guns away, you find that you can’t live without your gun. You have to hold onto it. I’ll lock it up, you think, I’ll just use it for hunting. But the more you use your gun, the more your soul fades into the Dark Realm.

    Guns need to be thrown into the fires of Mt. Doom. But I suspect the only way guns will be thrown into the fire is with us Gollums clinging to them with our cold, dead fingers.

  • Patrick

    The moment that a person raises the very relevant question/issue of sensible gun control measures, the 2nd amendment zealots immediately turn the issue on its head into one of gun confiscation. And I have not heard one person, not even the parents of the slain students, call for gun confiscation. They have however raised the very relevant issue of sensible gun control measures. “Thinking that gun control will take away all of your guns is like thinking that birth control will take away your penis.”