“I want one, too!”

Posted on December 18, 2012

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In an article headlined “Businesses Report Surge in Sales of Weapon Used by Conn. School Shooter,” the Christian Post reports that:

Americans are flocking to gun stores around the country to buy the AR-15 assault weapon used by the gunman who massacred 27 people in Newtown, Conn., last Friday, fearing that authorities might start cracking down on the sales of such guns.

“Sales were through the roof on Saturday,” Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a grassroots pro-gun PAC in Ohio, told Fox News. “People were buying everything they could out of fear the president would try to ban certain guns and high-capacity magazines.”

Fox News adds:

In southwest Ohio, from dawn to dusk a Cincinnati gun show had a line of 400 waiting to get in, said Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association … The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says it set a new record for single-day background check submittals this past weekend.

AR-15 Rifle

AR-15 Assault Rifle

I don’t understand this. I really don’t understand.

This rush to purchase assault weapons is occurring in the wake of the killing, by a single apparently demented man, of 27 people, 20 of them children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. There is no doubt that this number of deaths could not have occurred without use of a semi-automatic assault weapon. In fact, an episode that casts into bold relief the killing effectiveness of that weapon occurred just the day before in China. According to msn Now:

Chinese state media sources report a knife-wielding man slashed 22 children at an elementary school in Henan province. The man attacked the children at the gate of a school in Chenpeng village and also wounded one adult, according to the Xinhua news agency. Police arrested a 36-year-old man, identified as villager Min Yingjun, and while the extent of the injuries inflicted by the attacker is still unclear, there have been no fatalities reported.

Two attacks, equally vicious, equally demented. But in one no one died, while in the other 27 were killed. Both attackers were equally intent on murdering children. But there was one huge difference: one man, in China, had only knives; the other, in America, had an AR-15 with high-capacity ammo magazines. You do the math.

A whole nation is in mourning over the carnage brought about using this weapon; the children whose lives were cut short before they had a chance to live, the adults who heroically died trying to shield them, and the families forever devastated. Yet there seems to be a group in this country who can see all that, and their greatest reaction is, “I want one, too!”

What is particularly disturbing to me as a Christian, is that so many of those rushing to purchase these mass killing machines claim to do so as followers of the One who commanded, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44). Perhaps the problem is that the Bible translation I use left out the part about “love your enemies with the business end of an AR-15.”

I cannot fathom what must be in the mind of a person who enthusiastically rushes out to purchase his very own copy of a weapon that was just used to murder 27 people. Somehow I doubt that “love your neighbor as yourself” is one of the guiding principles of his or her life.

But, Jesus also commanded, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1), so I will restrain myself. However, I must admit that I cannot begin to understand the thinking and values of people for whom the Newtown tragedy seems to be nothing more than a buy recommendation.

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