Gun ownership a moral and life issue

To the editor:

“All who draw the sword will die by the sword” is what Jesus taught, according to the Gospel of Matthew 26:52. They didn’t have guns in the time of Jesus, and we don’t have much use for swords today. Bring Jesus’ admonition up to date: All that draw the gun will die by the gun.

Recently, Devin Patrick Kelley, an Air Force veteran with a history of mental illness of the violent kind (an important distinction) entered the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and slaughtered 26 human beings, including many children and one who had not taken a first breath. His “sword” in the massacre was a Ruger AR-556 rifle, a military-style, semi-automatic derivative of the M-16. He didn’t have any trouble acquiring that kind of weapon, which is well-suited to mass murder. This country is saturated with them. They seem to help men who feel little inside, to feel bigger. Kelley lived by the gun and he died by the gun, probably is own.

Sutherland Springs has a high rate of gun ownership, which is not unusual in the rural area of the old slave states of the South. The gun murder rates in those states, which form the Republican base, are markedly higher than the national average of gun murder rates, and much higher than in Minnesota and other relatively progressive states. For example, the gun murder rate in Louisiana is about seven times that of Minnesota.

The U.S. has by far the highest gun ownership rate of any comparable country, and consequently the highest gun murder rate of any western country. Of the roughly 30,000 gun deaths in the U.S. every year, about 20,000 are suicides. How many of those would have survived that dark night of the soul had a gun not been handy?

The purpose of a gun is to kill and it does its job very effectively. What of those who “fail” and just blow away their face or part of their brain and live the rest of their lives with the consequences?

It’s a moral issue. It’s a life issue.

John H. Burns

Willmar (formerly of Marshall)

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