, Corbin, KY


February 17, 2014

America’s Gun Idolatry

CORBIN — That dark circle in the middle of the road just would not go away.

Everyone for miles around saw it every time they drove that highway and respectfully swerved to avoid driving over it.

That dark circle seemed to glare up at us and upset us.

After some months of pounding traffic (of those who did not know about the dark circle) and the pouring rains, the last trace of that disturbing circle was eventually gone. There seemed to be a relief in the community, yet a feeling of regret — regret that the evidence of the tragic death of the 6-year-old, Tommy, was erased. His blood stain marked that spot where he was killed by a car.

Now it was gone forever.

It seems that something of the same experience has been happening at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

On Dec. 14, the anniversary of the massacre that took place within its walls, that school saw total demolition. The school has stood as a disturbing reminder of the ghastly and bloody murder of 20 children and six adults; a building that bore the imbedded and glaring stains of innocent blood.

Now that building with its bloodstains is gone forever.

There is something about the need to be released, to be able to move on from being anchored in and paralyzed by senseless loss of innocent life.

Not having a blood-tie with the bloodshed, nor a life connection to the lives lost, most of us, after a brief period of shock, sorrow and empathy, proceed on with our lives; the cognizant memory of the tragedy rapidly drifting into oblivion.

It seems we are in need of a release from death in order to move on freely with life.

This out-of-sight, out-of-mind sequence is a truism for Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, this truism has obliterated a lesson that should have been learned.

Since Sandy Hook, more than 16 shooting incidents have happened here in the United States, identifying a real American malady.

Pulling a curtain over this bloodshed, no gun regulations (except in Colorado and Connecticut) have been made, identifying no lesson learned.

With even the testimonies before Congress by grieving Sandy Hook parents and that of our pleading president, senators and tepresentatives were unflinching; experiencing the weighty counterbalance of the NRA.

Our ongoing carnage (about 90 Americans die each day from gunshot wounds) and public outrage (89 percent of Americans are for banning assault weapons and for requiring a background check for all gun owners — a Johns Hopkins survey) are found to be no challenge to America’s gun idolatry.

Since Sandy Hook, it is an unbelievable irony to see gun-rights supporters increasing gun ownership and the ability to carry concealed weapons, along with promoting an avalanche of new gun sales.

The Rev. John Burkhart  Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of  psychology blog at inspirationsandideas


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