Gun violence. Just the sound of it is chilling. Yet, with so many framing the discussion around guns, it narrows the real issue by camping out on the high visibility of a particularly heinous act of violence and tends to ignore the tremendous volume of overall violence that is unleashed daily against innocent people across America... often in the privacy of their own homes and with extensive collateral damage.
Violence is no respecter of persons. It is an equal opportunity attacker that targets the weak and overwhelms the strong. Violence will use anything at its disposal to accomplish its purpose. Violence attacks with intimidating words that cut, demean and destroy self-worth, self-respect and self-esteem. Violence attacks with physical confrontation and fists that pummel the often defenseless and fearful, breaking bones, pounding bodies and causing immeasurable psychological damage. Violence attacks with sticks, bats, knives, gas, bombs and guns, maiming and destroying individuals and families worldwide. Violence attacks as a mob to destroy and loot the stores and shops of the hard working people in their own neighborhoods who have nothing to do with the issue at hand. Violence preys on the young and innocent, often abusing them and selling them into the sex trade or slavery. Violence, gun or otherwise is not acceptable, period. Addressing violence by demonizing guns is like addressing obesity by reducing the size of soft drinks one can buy. Violence, not guns is the elephant in the room.
With so much violence being perpetrated by so many, one might rightly think that there are some definite causes for this increase. Yet with so much accessibility to what I will call "acceptable violence" we seem to not want to look in that direction. After all, as the old news room saying goes, "If it bleeds it leads." As such, so much of this kind of programing is not only taking over the "entertainment" industry, but receiving all kinds of awards for its "earthy realism". Lets face it, nothing sells like sex and blood.... both, often the unwelcome children of violence. Sadly, here in the US, we are awash with both the production and consumption of it all.
Now there are those who have done "studies" that would indicate that this kind of constant bombardment of violence has no effect on those watching it. I would simply make the point that those paying millions of dollars a year advertising using the same media apparently haven't been clued in to the fact that they are wasting their advertising dollars. Clearly, media has a tremendous effect on people. Like our computers, when garbage goes in, garbage comes out.
Violence is the outward action of an inward perception that relegates others as less important, less viable and can even place them in the category of "non-person". As such, for those so designated, there is no such thing as rights... human or other. The violent have made their judgement. It will the will of the violent imposing their "rights"on whomever they wish.
For us as Christians, this escalating violence should offer us a clue as to that which has been energized in the earth realm. It is a growing wave that continues to relegate both biblical principles and people as expendable.
When a society condones the murder of children in the safest place a baby was ever intended to be until the day the child is born, there is something very very wrong. Is it any wonder that we see the growing abuses and violence directed toward children? After all, if we can "remove" a child in the womb that is not really a person and represents a major inconvenience to our lives, then what about one that is terribly inconvenient at 3 months, 6 months or any age for that matter? The answer is that we can find a way to condone violence toward anyone at any age once we loose the reverence and value of that life.
So, is it really "gun" violence? No. It is violence period. Until our society wants to get real and deal with the reality of violence in our society, the epidemic will continue with or without the use of guns. What can be done?
We can begin bringing influence in the right direction by recognizing that each and every life has value and value each life accordingly. We can promote media that promotes life valuing attitudes. We can refuse to watch and spend our hard earned dollars on programming that demeans women, children and others with depictions of gratuitous sex, violence and the like. We can write to media outlets and ask them for more programming that avoids the seemingly obligatory violent/sexual fare in favor of better writing and character development. I mean really... if you have to resort to the characters taking their clothes off, jumping each others bones and using the F word to gain viewership, how talented does one have to be? So long as HBO and others are receiving awards for this kind of abject violence, sexual abuse and debauchery, they laugh all the way to the bank as we actually pay them monthly to indoctrinate us and our families who cry out for answers to the hurt we are often experiencing at the hands of a "loved one".
Hopefully we can all do our part to supplant the spirit of violence by promoting examples for others to follow that point the way to greater understanding and acceptable disagreement without the use of deadly force.