We will fight for peace, but we will do no violence.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Are We Helpless?

In a brilliant, yet sadly poignant mock-news report, the Onion captured the unspoken reality of gun-violence in America:

"At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past five years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

Read the full story here>

The truth is that no one in the media wants to talk about gun violence, or what causes gun violence, in America.

After Sandy Hook we were told that it "was not the time to talk about gun control" and after every other shooting after that, it was also never the right time to talk about it.

We don't want to look at the truth.

We don't want to ask why Canada, and England, and Australia - all English-speaking, predominantly white nations like the USA - don't suffer from the same amount of gun violence as we do.

We want the issue to be about mental illness, or prescription drug abuse, or better law enforcement training - all important issues, mind you. But not the actual cause of our problems.

Canada has just as many guns as we do, but not even half the number of gun-related deaths. Why is that?

Does anyone really care to investigate? Does anyone in the media really want to know?

Our media is now fully under the thumb of our government and our corporate overlords. This is why ABC News reports that Obama will be bringing our troops in Afghanistan home without ever mentioning how many thousands of American soldiers have died since that war began.

Can you imagine a newspaper leaving out the number of soldiers who died in WW2? Or in Viet Nam? Or even in the Gulf War? But in 2014 our mainstream media can do an entire story about the end of an American war and never once mention how many soldiers lost their lives in the conflict.

After some searching I discovered that there have been more than 2,178 US military casualties, and over 20,000 Afghan civilian casualties.

Let those numbers sink in.

More than 2,000 American Soldiers, dead.

More than 20,000 Afghan citizens, dead.

And what did we gain from that? How did it benefit the world? What did it do to help make the world a better place for anyone?

As long as American Christians continue to buy into the lie of Nationalism, the church will remain silent while thousands die in vain.

"If we kill enough people, the world will be a better place," is the lie of redemptive violence.

It's time we, the followers of Jesus, raise our voices in unison against lies like this one.

It's time we, the followers of the Prince of Peace, lay down the sword and pick up the cross.

Our message is this, "If enough of us lay down and die for others, the world will know what love really looks like."

And before you chime in and attempt to suggest that our soldiers lay down their lives for our freedoms, let me remind you that what our soldiers are trained to do is to kill others for our freedoms, not to lay down their freedoms and die for their enemies.

Christians are called to lay down and die. It's time we took that seriously.


Every Two Weeks

This past weekend, a student named Elliot Rodger from Santa Barbara City College killed six and injured 13, the latest in a long series of school shootings that are all but becoming a normal part of American tradition. As usual, the killer left a cache of material behind to explain his intentions and milk as much publicity for his personal grievances as possible. This time, the focus was on women, and how they wouldn’t have sex with him.

Like they always do, the media have descended to explain away the madness. And like a Rorschach Test, each outlet had its own pet cause primed and ready to be read into the situation.
According to the FBI, mass shootings (defined as shooting events that kill at least four people) occur on average every two weeks in the United States. Yes, every two weeks. Yet we rarely, if ever, hear about most of them.

The reason is because these shootings are easily explainable. In most mass shootings, the crimes occur at a private location and the victims are people close and well-known to the shooter — family members, neighbors, friends. Many of them are attributable to gang violence or illicit criminal activities. Others are a crime of passion.
These shooters know what they are doing. They’re not “crazy.” They don’t just “snap.” Most of them spend months or years planning their massacres. Elliot Rodger had apparently been planning his shooting for over a year.

You don’t just show up with a 140-page manifesto and a large stockpile of weapons one day. You work at it for a long time. And you plan not only the violence, but the presentation for the audience, the performance — what they will see from you, what they will hear from you, the reasons why, the message. It’s all very conscious and deliberate.

And it works. Their killing sprees are specifically targeted to generate the most fear and uncertainty from the public, because the more fear and uncertainty they generate, the more attention they get. They then use all of the attention as a platform to promote themselves or whatever complaints they may have against society. It’s the Columbine formula. It works. And as Eric Harris pointed out in his journal, it’s not about the guns. It’s about the television. The films. The fame. The revolution.
If this sounds like a familiar strategy, that’s because it is.