If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:7
There’s a saying that life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to it.
Our reactions express and define who we are. In fact, to put it simply, I would say ‘we are our reactions’.
Our national reaction to the murder of over twenty children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, just before Christmas, at least based on headlines, news clips and seemingly endless conversations have been revealing –perhaps too revealing – of our national character.
At first it seemed as if we were all sucked into the maelstrom of shock, horror, disbelief and a piercing sorrow and a quickly forming resolve to ensure that this would never happen again.
This was, literally, a sorrow leading to repentance.
But then an odd thing happened; our attention – and passion – again based on headlines and news services – seemed to focus, not on the dead or their grieving families, but to my astonishment, on the protection, even glorification of the weapons that killed them.
You would think that a murder of that scale would stun us into self-recognition of who we have become – and, to be painfully obvious – how effective – or ineffective – our laws, policies and attitudes really are.
You’d think we would, at least for a respectful month or so, reflect and restrain ourselves from our communal bloodlust.
But no; research shows that we had, in the first few weeks after the shootings at Sandy Hook, 200 gun related deaths each week.
I know people who say, and the NRA affirms, that this is ‘acceptable’; this is ’the cost of freedom’.
The ‘cost’ of anything is the price we are willing to pay for it; this isn’t ’the cost of freedom’ – it’s the cost of lunacy. And I’m not willing to pay it.
How could anyone with a shred of humanity say that the wholesale slaughter of our children is ‘worth’ any abstraction?
My NRA friends assure me that 200 gun deaths a week is evidence that our gun policies ‘work’. This is unbelievable to me. This is the logic of a psychopath.
These are the people who own guns, insist on the right to own guns and tell me, in all seriousness, that more of us, many more of us, must die, must be sacrificed for their ‘rights’.
Many of them call themselves ‘pro-life’ – but it is all too obvious that it is not ‘life’ that is sacred, but their right to take it.
Cain was warned in Genesis that ‘sin’ (sometimes translated ‘violence’) lies ‘crouching at his door’ ready to seize him.
Violence crouches at our door as well, but we, unlike Cain, aren’t running from it. We seem eager to seize it.
We will have more horrifying headlines, more stunned and subdued conversations and like Cain, we will hear the voice of our children’s blood crying out to us from the earth (Genesis 4:10) until we recognize and turn from our deadly folly and say, and really mean it this time, ‘Never again’.
Morf Morford considers himself a free-range Christian who is convinced that God expects far more of us than we can ever imagine, but somehow thinks God knows more than we do. To pay his bills, he’s been a teacher for adults (including those in his local county jail) in a variety of setting including Tribal colleges, vocational schools and at the university level in the People’s Republic of China. Within an academic context, he also writes an irreverent ESL blog and for the Burnside Writers Collective. As he’s getting older, he finds himself less tolerant of pettiness and dairy products.