Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sorry, it is a gun problem: "Cain killed Abel with a rock"

Inevitably, every time there's a(nother) prominent shooting, every time there's another senseless mass slaughter, the anti-gun control crowd predictably contributes to the conversation by screaming about how keeping guns out of the hands of killers isn't a viable solution to stopping killings.

There is one particularly stupid meme I've seen shared, in one form or another, after every mass shooting in the past few years (and, yes, the fact that I even have to write those words, the fact that we've become so acclimated to a world where mass killings are another facet of life -- and that the primary concern of so many is defending unlimited gun ownership rather than, I don't know, people --  makes me sick).

I don't know where this originated, but you can find it in lots of places.

Predictably, after the Charleston shooting, I've seen it showing up in my feed. The image, which reads, "Cain killed Abel with a rock. It's a HEART problem, not a gun problem" references Jeremiah 17:9.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
At which point, you're supposed to, apparently, throw your hands up in defeat. People have been killing each other since the days of myth, my friend; it's all part of God's mysterious plan, so don't be hating on the guns. It's all a byproduct of our fallen natures, so if you want to do something really productive, you won't waste your time preventing would-be killers from acquiring weapons that enable them to commit mass murder; you'll do something really useful, like push religion on people to address that "heart problem." (What religion? Well, damn it, your church's of course! After all, who knows the mind of God better than you and everyone who agrees with you?!)

Earlier, I called this a particularly stupid argument. Aside from the absurdity of trying to divine some sort of solution to a complex contemporary issue from a literary murder that was supposed to happen thousands of years ago, this is just a poor argument.

No one is suggesting that guns are the One Ring, that will corrupt the mind and turn a "Good Guy with a Gun" into a deranged killer. No one is suggesting that guns are the only tool with which someone intent on murder can go about realizing his ambitions. On the contrary, it's not that guns create killers, or that guns are the only tools killers have or could ever use, but that guns enable killers to do significantly more damage than they could do without guns. This isn't a difficult concept, but the image bypasses the actual issue at hand by implying a few strawmen arguments.

Like Don Quixote's windmills, the points this image addresses aren't real arguments. But those who share it seem to be convinced that they are, and that simply noting that people kill with other weapons too is enough to shut down a conversation on gun control.

Sorry, folks, it's not. We all get that some people snap, some people are evil, and some people are going to attempt -- and succeed at -- killing people. We get it. That's the reason we're having this conversation. And we get that guns are not inherently good or evil. They're just objects. We've got the concept.

But those inanimate objects, in the hands of people with "heart problems," are capable of inflicting a hell of a lot more damage than a rock would be. Which is, you know, why we're talking about keeping those tools of killing out of the hands of people who mean to misuse them.

It's really not that difficult of a concept. We recognize that the more damage a weapon is capable of inflicting, the more regulated it should be. No one in their right mind would argue that we should just let countries pursue nuclear programs, because, what the's a heart problem, dude, not a nuke problem! We're not crazy enough to advocate for civilian ownership of military weaponry because, hey, Cain killed Abel with a rock,'s not about Neighbor Bob's tank! We realize that when something empowers people to commit mass murder, it might be in our interests to regulate who has access, or at least keep them out of the hands of violent, crazy people.

Until we get to guns. Then, all of a sudden, our reasoning capabilities seem to go out the window, and we resort to, "But, dude, Cain used a rock!"

Sorry, people, it's a gun problem. It's a gun problem because we're making it incredibly easy for killers, those who suffer from "problems of the heart," to get guns, and those guns enable them to commit mass murder. That's the gun problem.


  1. I like and agree with your post...(it's Tabby)

  2. Total disagree with some of the claims.

  3. The problem remains that criminals don't care about law and get their guns whether it's legal or not. At the same time normal (i.e. sane and responsible) people cannot get guns to protect themselves and their families from criminals. Don't tell me about police - it simply cannot (and should not) be everywhere. Guns - unlike tanks - are a sensible self-defence measure, so why ban them?

    PS. I write from Poland, where gun control is very strict.

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  5. Excellent and thought-provoking (which I believe is the purpose of all blogging, to help you as the writer to craft your own thoughts into words that are consistent and represent what you think, and for the readers to get us thinking about the issues and not just nodding at the image, or reposting it).

    It is a shame to see a sign using a religious holy book (myth-filled and very immoral book with an angry and vengeful monster of a main character, I have found) to promote a personal view, but that is exactly what people have been doing for, well, forever, going way back to when the priests would claim that the gods of the creek demand food and coins, so come to our temple and give, and if you're an important giver then we'll let you have sex with our temple prostitutes, to televangelists telling old-timers that god needs their money, their savings, their everything, to slave-owners sitting on a pew hearing their ministers telling them that god condones slavery, and beating them is okay because blah-blah-blah. It's just embarrassing how many people rationalize violence or abuse with the Bible. Guns kill, signs that promote the use of guns kill, and those people who paid the money to get this sign up and visible kill. Shame on them.

    Btw, I don't need a gun to "protect myself from the criminals." In real life, my life, I have never needed a gun to get out of an unpleasant situation. I just don't act like a jerk. And, I don't wander down dark alleys in the middle of the night in downtown cities (I am asleep).

  6. It absolutely IS a heart problem. It is a corrupt heart that perverts the Laws of God. We are called to LOVE God and to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves. When our hearts are filled with the love of God, it follows that our hearts will be filled with the love of others. Now, don't get me wrong, I completely understand the message promoted here. But, a RIGHT heart with God could NOT allow such hatred in the first place. The Bible also tells us that we will be known by certain virtues (i.e. Love, peace, etc.). Any church or Christian that does not exhibit these virtues, themselves are NOT spiritually led Christians and God is NOT in them. THIS is the corruption of the heart. And this is the warning given in Revelations to the seven churches. It was the corruption of the heart that corrupted the Word of God because hate AND love CANNOT exist TOGETHER! If we have hatred in our hearts then we can only truly hate and true love cannot abide within us. These two things are the antithesis of each other. Please understand, I also believed as the writer here. I do not pretend to understand God in all ways. And surely, coming from my Atheist background, I can say I don't entirely understand why God's wrath in the OT seems to be meted out by God with what seems like such ease, except to say, the corruption of the heart of man, seems to be the ultimate wrong committed. And the leaders of the church today need to pay close attention, because if they preach a message of hate toward ANY of God's creation, then we can also know the corruption of their own hearts which leads them to lead their flock to their demise. Their judgement then, will be much harsher. Sadly, I do not see the true Love of God in most of the Church leaders, nor the so-called Christian leaders of our country. I only see hate. Let us NOT equate RELIGION with with God. It is my opinion that the corruption of the heart within the the church (the PEOPLE)is the greatest problem. Instead, religion itself is an outcropping and perversion of the Word of God. This is evident, that religion is not a person, and therefore cannot produce GOOD FRUIT! And it can't. Why? Because religion is a system created by man while God is asking to have a PERSONAL relationship with His people. TRUE Christians are FEW indeed! Therefore, it is the corrupt heart that causes us to need/create weapon's in the first. I wish to promote peace. That is the promise of God to those that keep his Laws, (NOT the laws of man). There will be a lot of surprised "christians" in the end when the Savior says, "Depart from me ye wicked!"

  7. when you get them to outlaw vehicles, mcdonalds, monsonto, give a cure for cancer, stop abortions, then and only then may you have my guns.