Jill Filipovic is an attorney and author. She wrote an article in TIME, 16 October 2017, titled “It’s Always Men”. She writes: “Of the 134 mass shooters who have preyed on Americans since 1966, three have been women, making mass shooting a 98% male enterprise. Ninety percent of murderers are men – firearms are used in 70% of homicides.”
She goes on. “Male gun powners are more likely to bind their recreational lives and identities with guns….White men are more likely to own guns than non-whites, and the super-owners amassing arsenals of weapons are particularly likely to be white, male and conservative….there is a sub culture of mostly white, mostly male, mostly conservative gun obsessives….The gun is simply the (extremely literal) external symbol of the underlying ideology: white male power comes through physical domination.”
Indeed, our history as a nation has men as the gunslingers and physical masters. It was men who captained the thousands of slave ships from Africa to our shores. It was men who were the masters of the plantations. It was men who shackled the slaves and shot the runaways. It was men who massacred the Native Americans at Wounded Knee and Sand Creek and drove them on the “Trail of Tears”. It was men who shot Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK and RFK. Guns have been the hammer of hatred!
Yet, it was a man named Jesus who healed and preached and reconciled us to each other and God. It was men who began missionizing the world in the name of Jesus. It was a man named Luther who revolutionized how we interpret Holy Scripture and loosed the Spirit to create a more liberal love. It was and is men like Douglas, Stringfellow, Obama, Bonhoeffer, Barth, King, Barber, Wallis, Claiborne, as well as most men who have and continue to exemplify the nonviolent love of God.
Lessening gun violence necessitates that we re-vision maleness. It is time to raise boys to practice love instead of domination, kindness instead of blind winning, gentleness instead of brutishness, commonality instead of enemy, us instead of them, Thou instead of me, empathy instead of hatred. It is time.
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes