My anti-gun hermeneutic


Picture from: Murder in Chicago: The Human Toll

I recently had an online conversation with one of my former youth that is pro-gun rights. I always hesitate to post things like this because I get frustrated with responses and it works me up emotionally because this is such a hot-button issue for people. So, unless you have a respectful, understanding and congenial response, I will not allow the comment on my blog. I am open to opposing opinions, just be respectful. I am most interested in anyone who has worked in urban areas that have been decimated by gun violence, so please share your thoughts if so. Thank you.

Also, if you read this, you can see I got a little worked-up in the conversation, so please forgive that. I pasted this without editing it to be true to my original conversation, but I can see use of some strong words like “ludicrous” or “idiotic” is a bit overboard – so please look past that. I do not intend to inflame, but hopefully you can understand and forgive the passion in my words.

Edit: For those of you that come from a pro-gun perspective, I hope this is helpful in understanding things from the other perspective. Below this conversation here, I also have a quote from a close friend of mine looking at the gun issue from a similar perspective.

I can give you my perspective, but it probably won’t make much sense to you because you and I are coming from two very different starting points and philosophies on this issue. Since our starting points are so different, the logic flows from those starting points in practically opposite directions. It all completely makes sense to me while the logic you aspire to is baffling to me.

  • Him:

what’s your perspective?

Okay, the very biggest difference in our starting point is the idea of looking out for the collective good versus individual rights. It’s the sociological/phenomenological approach. I see this as similar to the Republican versus Democrat debate and is much why I changed from the first to the latter: much of the Republican ideological focus is “what’s in it for me” and “how can I get mine”. While the Democrat ideological focus is much more “what is the best for the common good”.

I get the impression that you don’t necessarily lean Republican, but on this issue you do.

A second area of my starting point is the Biblical principles we get from Jesus, such as turn the other cheek and peace and pacification.

Couple that with studies I’ve heard that support a much more de-arming focus and also stories I’ve heard of adolescents getting their parents’ supposedly locked guns out and committing suicide, and I’m all for getting rid of guns in our culture as much as possible.

I’ve heard statistics that you are much more likely to be killed by a gun if you own a gun. Way by far, the highest percentage of murders happen not randomly, but by someone you know.

Loved this 3-parter by John Oliver:

I know I’m pretty extreme in my view, but I believe that there should be a complete ban on ALL automatic and ALL hand guns in our nation. I know that’ll probably never happen, but that is my personal view. The ONLY guns I believe that should be allowed are hunting rifles and I believe that there should be some pretty extreme background checks, training and wait periods.

But barring that “so called” extreme view, at the very least we should be putting in more restrictions and checks not making it all looser. What is it going to take for our culture to get a clue? How many more mass-shootings is it going to take? Not just mass-shootings, but the thousands that die from gun violence every year! In the United States, we run around 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people per year. Do you know what it is in the United Kingdom? It is 0.25. We have 41 times more then in the U.K.!!!! That’s crazy! In Japan and South Korea it’s 0.06. India, with it’s over 1.26 billion people is only 0.48. Mexico with all it’s drug violence is more than us, but just slightly.

I know your comments above are meaning for law-abiding gun carriers versus criminals, but what I’m saying is the danger here is the general acceptance of a gun culture in our country that makes it easier for criminals to get weapons. This is through all kinds of ways, including, but not limited to theft, gun show loop-holes, crossing states borders, running an illegal ring to get people to purchase guns legally and then get them to criminals,…

But not only all of this, for people like me, the gun is a symbol that represents violence in the extreme, repression, death and regression. We abhor guns for what they represent. If you see someone carrying a hammer at a construction site or a home, you know that the purpose of that instrument is for building. If you see someone carrying an umbrella on the street, you know the purpose of that instrument. Specifically it is a tool to keep water from getting on you. What specifically is the skill-set of a gun outside of hunting? It is to inflict extreme physical harm on another human being, in many cases it is intended to literally cause the extinguishing of another life, of another soul from this earth. Whether that is your intended purpose or not, that is irrelevant for us. If I went into a library, Toys R Us, Church Service or any public place and I saw someone carrying that is not a police or security officer, I would immediately feel that my rights as an American citizen for safety and well-being are being compromised and would look to leave or create as much distance from that person, especially for my family. To see a gun on another person that is not a security/police officer is threatening to me on several levels – not just physical. And ultimately, I don’t know that person, I don’t know how sane they are. I don’t know if they’ve had a bad day today. I am suddenly not on equal footing with that person. What if that person and I had a disagreement? What if that person suddenly just got agitated about something? Or could there possibly be someone else near them that might be extreme and capable enough to quickly surprise and disarm that person and use that gun against them and others.

Personally, I hate guns, I hate what they stand for, I hate everything about them. To allow them to be carried in public for the arguments I hear, I feel, is just down right idiotic and insulting to common sense. I feel so strongly about this that I really prefer not to talk to you about this because I don’t really want to hear any of your pro-gun arguments. I don’t care what they are. Guns not intended for hunting are made to tear flesh, bone and the life-breath from human beings – plain and simple. I have a real hard time understanding how anyone who’s heart beats with the life of Christ in them can see otherwise.

As far as the 2nd Amendment goes, do you really think that the founders that put that in the Constitution had what we have today in mind? Because that is just down right ludicrous if you believe that, imho. How long did it take to load a flintlock firearm? How are the issues for why they wrote that amendment relevant today? They aren’t.

There’s my take and my perspective. I’ve lived in the inner-city. I’ve worked with inner-city kids who’s lives have been decimated by gun violence. Have you? That’s my question for anyone that believes in gun rights.

  • Him:

Thanks for your opinion and views

I think I understand your viewpoint better now


And here’s a quote from an email conversation with a good friend. One thing I really like is how he adds the value to the other person in this quote. I believe the other person would be similar to “enemy” as per Jesus’ words on loving your enemy:

I really do think there’s a double standard about guns in America – I was serious on your FB wall when I said that guns have no other purpose than to harm or kill.  When I think of people who own guns for self defense, I wonder if they would really feel justified in killing another person?   I’m not talking about legally, but morally.

I think we forget sometimes that everyone else in the world is just as complex as we are.  When we put ourselves into the position of killing someone, we simplify them.  We define them as their crime or their actions –  not as a human worthy of life and grace and love.  When we simplify people it is easier to hurt or kill them.  When we understand that they are complex and hurt and scared and loved… I think it becomes impossible to justify killing them.  I know a lot of people try to do hermeneutics on the 6th commandment and try to make it say things like “you shall not murder intentionally” – but the commandment states that men are not supposed to kill other men.  If a gun is made for killing, then I agree with you at heart that it is not Godly.

About howie snyder

Cycling Reverend, love Jesus, love my family, love meeting new people and sharing life with them!
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1 Response to My anti-gun hermeneutic

  1. Pingback: Pro-Life Dilema | Howie's Blog

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