Tag Archives: gun violence

Domestic Terrorism

On February 5, I quoted from a blog by Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners (written November 17, 2017, after a church shooting in Texas). Today, I’d like to quote further from that blog. Wallis begins by defining terrorism.

“Terrorism: the purposeful violence against civilians, non-combatants, with the intent to create and foster social fear. One gun violence massacre after another has certainly created the fear that our families and children are not safe in their schools, our theatres, our concerts, and even in our churches.”

But we can react in different ways to this fear, Wallis points out. Our fear can be stoked toward buying even more guns. In that case, more guns are available for disturbed young men like the shooter in Parkland, Florida, as well as for use in domestic disturbances or in suicides.

Or we can follow other examples. “Australia came to this conclusion after 35 people were killed in a mass shooting. Conservative Prime Minister John Howard and his party banned semiautomatic and automatic guns and implemented a buyback program, slashing the country’s arsenal by 20 percent and dramatically reducing gun deaths.”

Wallis also discusses ill-conceived interpretations of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“The Second Amendment to the Constitution provides Americans with the right to own guns, ostensibly to protect ourselves from a potentially tyrannous government. But it is absolutely ridiculous to extend that to any weapon that is available, any military weapon a government has. Should every American have the right to own a bazooka, a tank, a rocket launcher, a weaponized drone — how about a nuke?”

Finally, he quoted Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, affected greatly by the Newtown massacre of children in his state: “My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach, once again, when I heard of today’s shooting in Texas. My heart dropped further when I thought about the growing macabre club of families in Las Vegas and Orlando and Charleston and Newtown, who have to relive their own day of horror every time another mass killing occurs.”

Now add families and friends of those killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Swords into Plowshares: One Way to Deal with Guns

Michael Martin, a Mennonite from Colorado, turns guns into tools you can garden with. (“Gardening with Guns,” Plough, Autumn 2016.)

Martin and his wife, Hannah, decided to change guns from weapons of destruction to tools for growing food. Their first weapon was an AK-47 assault rifle. They turned it into hand cultivators.

One mother, who had lost her son to gun violence, pounded a handgun removed from Philadelphia streets into a hoe and tilling fork. It was used to plant flowers for gun violence victims.

Another mother, whose son shot several young schoolgirls before committing suicide, took a hammer to the barrel of a gun in a demonstration for Martin’s organization. The mother visits regularly with one of the survivors of the shooting, who is wheelchair bound from the incident.

A military veteran, saved from suicide by a passing stranger, turned his Smith & Wesson .22 into a tool he used for planting a garden.

Anther man, whose father committed suicide with a gun, donated it to the group.

Martin’s group, RAW (WAR turned around) does not take away gun rights. They simply transform guns into instruments for healing and growth.