Last week both editorialists in the News-Leader addressed the shocking school shooting in Texas. Ron Park challenged us to “refuse to surrender any more ground to the growing darkness.” I accept this challenge.
There is a reason for the appearance of mass murder in America since the years when I was a boy in the sixties.
The reason is not that the followers of Christ have “lost ground,” as Ron thinks. The reason is very, very simple. It’s a one word reason.
We have vastly more guns in this country now than fifty years ago. It is hard to know exactly how many guns are here, because Congress banned the federal government from doing any research into guns and gun violence in 1996. Think about that for a minute.
It is estimated there are 434 million guns in households in America. That amount is increasing by 20 million guns per year. 25 years ago there were .88 guns per person in America. Now there are 1.3 guns per person. A 47% increase. In 2004 there were 800,000 assault rifles in private hands. Now there are 20 million.
Do guns make us safer? A few days after the Texas school shooting four boys and their grandfather were murdered in their Texas cabin. By their own assault rifle.
Here is the world that is coming. In 20 years there will be about a billion guns in America. Mass shootings will be an everyday thing. The massacre of innocents in schools and malls and theaters and churches will be so common it won’t get a mention on the evening news. Everyone will carry a gun everywhere. There will be armed guards and metal detectors at all public places. When you go to the Opry today you go through a metal detector. In 20 years you will go through a metal detector when you go to church. And school. And Walmart. And a Little League baseball game.
Me personally, I’m not against guns. I’m not for them. I’m just for facts and the truth. But I know Tennesseans. And we will, as Shirley Nanney implies, never elect anyone who supports any sort of rational control of guns.
The simple truth is here in Tennessee we adore our guns. And if the price of our owning handguns and assault rifles without limit is the slaughter of a few innocent children somewhere else then, frankly, that’s a price we are willing to see them pay.