America is Shooting Herself

America is Shooting Herself May 27, 2022

America is shooting herself. No other nation on the planet can shoot themselves as well as America does. In 2020, more guns were used for suicide than homicide. Apparently, the US has realized that guns are a great instrument for self-destruction. Jesus said, “Those who live by the AR-15 will die by the AR-15 (Matthew 26:52).” Or, something like that. America is finding this to be true.

Photo by Bexar Arms on Unsplash

The Second Amendment

How many babies have to die before we realize that our Second Amendment is killing our children? The American love affair with guns has led where many affairs end—in the destruction of the family. In our quest for power, drive to dominate, and fear of the unknown, we have convinced ourselves that guns will save our nation. In reality, the Second Amendment is the instrument by which America is committing suicide.

The second amendment gives US citizens the right to keep and bear arms for the sake of a well-maintained militia. Yet, the US military, arguably the best in the world, has proven it does not need to maintain armed citizen soldiery to supplement its forces. If it does, this falls under the category of the national guard, which already exists. There’s no need for a well-armed citizenry to grab their hunting rifles like minutemen at Concord and Lexington.

When you have citizens armed with military-grade weapons, without the oversight and accountability provided by the military, it’s a recipe for disaster. We have seen that disaster over and over again. In the twenty-one weeks of 2022, the US has seen twenty-seven school shootings. It’s time we realize that guns like the AR-15 are instruments of America’s suicide, not her salvation.


High Capacity Magazines

There’s nothing wrong with a .223 caliber hunting rifle. It’s a small caliber—more of a varmint gun than anything else. The problem isn’t the caliber, or even the black powder punch it packs (a 30.06 is far more damaging, but we don’t see those being used by mass murderers). The problem isn’t even the semi-automatic action, which can be helpful when hunting. The problem is the high-capacity magazine, which allows a shooter to spray an area with devastating results. No hunter needs the standard AR-15 magazine of 30 rounds—much less the higher capacity clips of up to 100 rounds. The high-capacity magazine is meant only made for one thing—killing lots of people. A hunter only needs 3-5 rounds in a magazine to bag some game.


Red Dawn

When I was a teenager, I loved the movie Red Dawn (1984), directed by John Milius. The Russians invade, and for some reason national security is left to a ragtag bunch of high school students, equipped from a personal arsenal. Watching the movie made us teenagers feel more secure, in the middle of the Cold War—like if we just had enough guns, we could survive an enemy attack. This, we said, was what the Second Amendment was for.

But most preppers aren’t concerned about an enemy invasion these days. They’re more concerned with opposing the US government, should it get out of line. Such an attitude subverts the rule of law and contributes to domestic terrorism. It results in armed protesters in Charlottesville, opposing the government action of “erasing white history.” It contributes to insurrections like January 6th. If you don’t run in conservative, gun-toting circles, you may be unaware how frequently the topic of citizen uprising comes up in conversation. “If the government gets out of line (whatever that means), then it’s the citizen’s right—nay, responsibility—to rebel.” And damn the consequences. When you don’t like what’s happening, just shoot people. And America has been shooting herself a lot lately.


Mental Health or Guns?

Someone asked me recently if, as a behavioral health specialist, I didn’t think that the problem was really mental health and not guns. Of course, the problem is mental health— that is undeniable. Mental health problems have reached an epidemic proportion, outpacing epidemics with more obvious physical symptoms. As a nation, we are only just beginning to address the severity of the mental health crisis in America. Of course, the problem is mental health. The problem is also guns.


A Tale of Two Countries

I am a US citizen who lives in Canada and works in the US, driving across the border most workdays. That gives me a unique perspective on both countries. The US and Canada are taking similar approaches to the mental health crises in the two nations. Yet Canada does not see the mass shootings that the United States does. What’s the difference? Gun laws. Canadian background checks are more stringent. Requirements for acquiring and owning high-capacity weapons prevent most citizens from access to military-grade weapons. While the difference between the two countries isn’t all about the guns, it’s mostly about the guns. Mental health is not the primary reason why there have been 27 school shootings in 21 weeks in the United States. Canada hasn’t experienced anything like that. Both countries have mental health problems. But only America has a gun problem.


America’s Suicide

Just like Pharaoh trying to destroy the Israelites by killing their babies, the US is slowly killing herself by attacking her children. With every school shooting, attack on a house of worship, or spray of bullets in a shopping center, America is turning the gun on herself. In the United States, the gun is not just an instrument of individual suicide, but national suicide. Conventional suicide only takes one bullet. For national suicide, it takes a semiautomatic assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine. How many more babies have to die before we realize that our love affair with violence is ricocheting, and our children are the ones to pay the price?

About Greg Smith
I live in the beautiful Fraser Valley of British Columbia and work in northern Washington State as a behavioral heath specialist with formerly homeless people and those currently experiencing homelessness. Before that, I spent over a quarter-century as lead pastor of several Virginia churches. My newspaper column, “Spirit and Truth” ran in Virginia newspapers for a dozen years. My wife Christina and I have seven children between us, and we are still collecting grandchildren. You can read more about the author here.

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